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UFC Fight Night 81 Debut Introduction: Luke Sanders

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On Sunday, we see the UFC return to Boston with a stacked card that is headlined by a fight between TJ Dillashaw and Dominic Cruz for the Bantamweight strap. In the mixed of all the fights, there are 5 fighters entering the Octagon for the first time to make their UFC debut.

Amongst the debutants is highly rated RFA Bantamweight champion Luke Sanders who is entering the UFC with a lot of hype behind him along with an unscathed record of 10-0 to top it off. Sanders took this fight on short notice stepping in to fight Maximo Blanco after Denis Bermudez was forced to pull out.

Fighter: Luke Sanders
Division: Featherweight
Nationality: American
Age: 30
Record: 10-0
Team: The MMA Lab/Nashville MMA
Previous Organisation: RFA

At long last Sanders has gotten his chance to step up into the big time and fight in the UFC. During his time at RFA, he dominated his division picking up the title in his third fight under the promotion and his second ever fight at bantamweight followed by his successful defence at RFA vs. Legacy 1. He notably also fought in XFC as well as making his MMA debut in Strikeforce back in 2011.

His upcoming fight against Blanco sees him go back up to featherweight for the first time in 3 fights, he originally fought at Featherweight before dropping down to Bantamweight in 2014 at RFA 17 making him is no stranger to fighting in this weight class.

Sanders has proven himself to be quite the exciting fighter with 7 of his 10 wins ending with a finish. His stand-up ability standing out in particular with 6 KO/TKO victories on his record although he is also quite a strong wrestler and mentally tough which could have come from his wrestling in high school where he won a state championship as well as competing in Toughman contests.

Sanders is entering the UFC against some tough competition in Maximo Blanco who is well adjusted to the UFC at this stage with 7 fights in the under his belt in the promotion as well as one bout in Strikeforce. Blanco is currently riding a 3 fight win streak all against some exceptional opponents and will be looking to continue the momentum he has on his hunt to break into the top 15.

This will probably be Sanders toughest bout to date as well quite the exciting matchup as he is coming up against another top striker. On such short notice, a win against Blanco will be huge for Sanders in his quest to make a name for himself in the UFC as well as leaving a mark on his division.

If you want to have a look at Sanders in the build up to his fight this Sunday, take a look a look at his fight below from RFA 17 against Derrick Minner which earned him shot at the RFA title.

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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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