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UFC Fight Night 70’s Fight to Watch: The Dragon’s Desperation

Steven Cavagnino

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UFC Fight Night 70 and the return of Lyoto ‘The Dragon’ Machida is upon us before we even knew it. It seems people were just buzzing in anticipation about the fight between Machida and Rockhold that took place in Newark New Jersey in April. Although in that fight ‘The Dragon’ fell short against Rockhold, he stated that he wants to get back in the cage as soon as possible. Well, wish granted, as he takes on yet another formidable adversary in #6 middleweight in the world, Yoel Romero, just 2 months after his previous fight.

UFC Fight Night Florida is a card that, in all honesty, has seemed to go by the wayside. With a dynamite main event, the rest of the card leaves plenty to be desired. Now, this weak fight card isn’t entirely the UFC’s fault as the event lost its original venue and several marquee matchups due to visa issues not allowing fighters to travel. In reality, it’s an event that was salvaged and thrown together in short time due to unforeseen circumstances.

With all that said, the outcome of those unforeseen circumstances make it very easy to determine which fight is UFC Fight Night 70’s Fight to Watch. That honor goes to the main event, a clash of two terrifying middleweights who are both desperate to gain a title shot in the top-heavy 185lbs division.

As previously mentioned, Machida is coming back just two months after losing to Luke Rockhold, who became the #1 middleweight contender by defeating Machida. Interestingly enough, Romero was supposed to fight as the co-main fight in the very same event that Machida and Rockhold mixed it up at. An injury forced Romero off the card, but it certainly hasn’t gotten him any less of an opponent. Despite not fighting ‘Jacare’ Souza, the #2 ranked middleweight in the world, at the Newark event two months ago, Romero has found himself once again in a favorable situation seeing as how Lyoto Machida is a top 5 opponent in his own right. A win over Machida could be just as effective in gaining himself a title shot as a win over ‘Jacare’ would have provided.

For Machida, this is, in the opinion of some, a do or die fight. Machida, at 37 years old, is accepting this fight so quickly after his last in order to try and propel himself back into the title shot talk. He is a former light heavyweight champ that has been at the top of middleweight for a long time. He has already fought for the title once and is running out of time to do so again. A win over Romero doesn’t necessarily grant him a title shot, especially because he is just coming off a loss to Rockhold, but it certainly is hard to ignore, proves he is still one of the top fighters in the world, and might fast track him to the belt once again.

The theme of UFC Fight Night 70 is truly Machida vs. Romero as the card lacks the kind of star power it originally had going for it. That’s not to say that the event will be a dud in any way, in fact, more often the ‘no name’ fighters are the ones that put on an incredible show. But it’s no contest when you’re fighting on an event headlined by a former UFC champ and a former Olympic wrestler who are both vying for a title shot before it’s too late. UFC Fight Night 70’s fight to watch is Lyoto ‘The Dragon’ Machida vs. Yoel ‘Soldier of God’ Romero!

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Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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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)

Main Card:

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)

Preliminary Card:

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)

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Bellator 185 Fight to Watch: Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams

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Heather Hardy will compete in MMA for the second time at Bellator 185 on Friday night, as she faces Kristina Williams in a strawweight contest. The fight takes place on the main card at the Mohican Sun Arena in Connecticut.

Potentially, what Bellator have in Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy is a major draw that they can build their 125 pound division around. While relatively new to the organisation she is fast becoming one of the more popular names on the roster. Her career is in the early stages, but many have already started to draw comparisons with former boxer turned MMA star, Holly Holm. Holm’s UFC success partly inspired the native New Yorker to make the switch from boxing.

Hardy is already an established world champion in the land of the ‘sweet science’, holding a 21 fight undefeated professional record. She made her MMA debut in June this year with a victory over Alice Yauger, at Bellator 180. At 35, Hardy is a late starter in the sport, but proved at Madison Square Garden against the credible Yauger that she has a bright future.

Hardy’s first outing in the cage was disciplined and composed. Despite a slow start in round one, Hardy grew in confidence as the fight progressed and her cardio never faltered. She mixed in plenty of kicks that complimented her boxing and looked at ease in the clinch, even defending a couple of takedown attempts in the process.

Despite looking on course for a decision win, Hardy forced the TKO stoppage with just thirteen seconds remaining in round three. Even a large cut that required seven stitches from an accidental head clash could not deny her victory.

Hardy was fighting an experienced professional, competing for the tenth time in MMA, which makes the win over Yauger more impressive. However, her upcoming opponent Kristina Williams will be making her professional debut.

There is little known about Williams except that she is 3-0 at amateur level. One of those wins came by way of submission so there may well be a threat to Hardy if the fight goes to the ground. More importantly for Williams is how she copes on the big stage against a popular opponent, who is more familiar competing in high pressure combat situations. If Williams can produce an upset it will be a huge boost in her young career.

But in all honesty, this fight is about Hardy. It’s about getting the win and gaining valuable experience. The boxing career is on hold while MMA takes centre stage. Beating Williams will mean she likely continues fighting inside a cage rather than a boxing ring.

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