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UFC Fight Night 75: Barnett vs. Nelson Preview

Vinny Craig

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We’re finally back in action fight fans! The UFC heads to Saitama, Japan for the first time since UFC Fight Night 52. The event follows the Road to the Octagon show where 8 Japanese fighters were trained by Josh Barnett and Roy Nelson for a chance to fight at this event. Barnett and Nelson will face off with in the headliner in front of 30,000 fans.

Mizuto Hirota vs. Teruto Ishihara

The Road to the Octagon seemed to go over well, and the finale starts off your main card. Mizuto Hirota (17-7-1 MMA; 0-2 UFC) and Teruto Ishihara (7-2-1; 0-0)* each fought their way through the pool of 8 guys to make it to the final.

Hirota was formerly in the UFC debuting at UFC on Fuel TV 8. He went 0-2 losing two decisions to Rani Yahya and Rodrigo Damm. After being cut by the organization he won 3 straight with 2 finishes in Deep. He is a Shooto veteran where he fought his first 8 professional fights, going 6-2. He has fought such guys as Shinya Aoki, Pat Healy and Katsunori Kikuno.

Ishihara was very extravagant on the show with his style. He has 1 loss in his last 6 fights with all finishes due to strikes. He also is a Shooto vet with his first 7 fights in that organization with 4 KO wins. He has only one win by decision which happened in his first career fight.

Katsunori Kikuno vs. Diego Brandao

In the Featherweight division Katsunori Kikuno (23-7-2; 2-2) and Diego Brandao (19-10; 5-3) is a great match up. Both guys are veterans of the sport with 61 combined fights overall with 12 UFC fights.

Kikuno last fought at UFC Fight Night 62 where he lost by KO to Kevin Souza. Since his debut at the beginning of 2014, he has traded wins for losses. He picked up wins over Quinn Mulhern and Sam Sicilia and losses to Tony Ferguson and Souza. He formerly fought for DEEP where he went 10-1-1 and 8-4 while in DEEP. Kikuno has 63% Striking Defense** and 76% Takedown Defense (TDD) while in the UFC.

Brandao is The Ultimate Fighter Season 14 winner. He beat Dennis Bermudez in a Submission of the Night and Fight of the Night win. Brandao picked up a win at UFC on Fox 15 with a TKO win over Jimmy Hetes after losing to now Interim-champ Conor McGrgeor in a headliner bout. ‘DB’ is 4-2 in his last 6 with 2 finishes. Brandao comes in with 60% Striking Defense, 3.34 Takedowns per 15 min. and 80% TDD.

Takeya Mizugaki vs. George Roop

The middle of the main card is a Bantamweight bout between Takeya Mizugaki (20-9-2; 7-4) and George Roop (15-11-1; 5-7). Both guys are coming off losses in their last fights and will look to get back on track. Between the two they have 23 career UFC fights with 12 wins.

Mizugaki is a Shoot vet like most of these Asian fighters. He went 6-2-2 while in the organization. He made his WEC debut at WEC 40 where he lost to Miguel Torres by decision. Since that fight he has gone 9-6 with 4 fights in the WEC and the rest in the UFC. From November 2012 to May 2014 he went undefeated in five fights with all decision wins. The Japanese fighter comes into the fight with 3.26 Significant Strikes Landed per Minute (SLpM) and 58% Takedown Accuracy.

Roop is a former Featherweight who switched to 135 at UFC 158 with a decision win. He has gone 3-2 as a Bantamweight with wins over Reuben Duran, Brian Bowles and Dustin Kimura. Roop has a striking defense of +1.19 with 61% Striking Defense.

Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Chico Camus

The Flyweight division gives us a good matchup in Kyoji Horiguchi (15-2; 4-1) and Chico Camus (14-6, 1 NC; 3-3, 1 NC). The two have combined to fight in Japan just once since joining the UFC.

Horiguchi last fought for the title at UFC 186 in Montreal. He was dominated from start to finish and eventually lost the fight by Armbar with 1 second remaining. That was his first loss in three years spanning 8 fights. He finished 5 fights in that span with a decision win over Louis Gaudinot to solidify his title shot at UFC 182. He previously fought for Shooto and Vale Tudo Japan collecting an 11-1 record. Horighuchi is a defensive striker with only 2.03 Significant Strikes Absorbed per Minute (SApM) and 61% Striking Defense. He did allow 14 Takedowns to the champion in his title fight in April.

Camus struggled in the Bantamweight division and moved down to 125. Since then he is 1-1 with a win over Brad Pickett and a loss to Henry Cejudo. He beat Yaotzin Meza at UFC on Fox 10, but the bout was overturned to a No-Contest when he tested positive for marijuana. His last fight at 135 was a decision loss to Chris Holdsworth. Camus is also a defensive striker with only 2.05 SApM and 64% Striking Defense.

Gegard Mousasi vs. Uriah Hall

The co-main event of Gegard Mousasi (37-5-2; 4-2) and Uriah Hall (11-5; 4-3) is an exciting matchup. Mousasi was originally expected to face Roan Carneiro , but Carneiro was injured and unable to make it to the fight. Hall stepped in around mid-August.

Mousasi is the former Strikeforce and DREAM Light Heavyweight champion and DREAM Middleweight champion. From November 2006 to December 2009 he racked up 15 straight wins with victories over Hector Lombard, Melvin Manhoef, Ronaldo Souza, Mark Hunt and Sokodjou. He also won the Strikeforce title with a KO of Renato Sobral in that time frame. He is 9-3-1 since then including 4 UFC wins. He made his debut in a headlining bout against Ilir Latifi with a decision win. He has been either a main or co-main in every one of his UFC fights. Over his career, Mousasi has some incredible stats with 3.43 SLpM, 1.13 SApM and 70% Striking Defense. His UFC stats of 1.27 SApM is good for third all-time in the Middleweight division.

Hall was a finalist on Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter. He breezed through the tournament with 3 finishes, including a vicious spinning hook kick KO of Adam Cella. He was a heavy favorite in the final, but ultimately lost to Kelvin Gastelum. He started his UFC career off rough with the loss to Gastelum and a decision loss to John Howard. He went on a 3 fight win streak starting at UFC 168 with a TKO win over Chris Leben. He won his last fight by TKO against newcomer Oluwale Bamgbose. He comes into the fight with 3.20 SLpM and 54% Striking Accuracy. His TDD has improved and he is at 76%.

Josh Barnett vs. Roy Nelson

The main event is a Heavyweight matchup with finish written all over it. Josh Barnett (33-7; 5-2) returns after 21 months off to face Roy Nelson (20-11; 7-7). The two have plenty of experience in Japan with Barnett having the majority.

Barnett is the former Heavyweight champion when he beat Randy Couture at UFC 36. He was stripped of the title after testing positive for PED’s and was cut from the organization. He would later become the Pancrase Heavyweight champion and fight in the Pride Heavyweight Grand Prix final. He was 5-4 while in Pride with wins over Mark Hunt and Minotauro Nogueira. After leaving Pride, he won 8 straight before losing to Daniel Cormier in the Strikeforce Heavyweight tournament final. His return to the UFC came at UFC 164 where he beat Frank Mir by KO in the first round. He would get KO’d in his next fight against Travis Browne at UFC 168. During his career, Barnett has racked up 1.94 SApM and 1.6 Submission Attempts per 15 min.

Nelson is the Ultimate Fighter Season 10 winner. He won with a KO over Brendan Schaub. He is 1-4 in his last 5 with the lone win coming over Minotauro Nogueira in Abu Dhabi. All 7 of his UFC wins have come by way of KO/TKO, but he has only been stopped by strikes once (to Mark Hunt). He was the IFL Heavyweight champion before joining TUF. ‘Big Country’ gets hit a ton (4.87 SApM) while waiting for his one big shot to land. He can sustain the fight on the feet with his 60% TDD.

*All records come from Sherdog.com

**All stats from FightMetric.com

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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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