Originally intended to be UFC 196 on Pay-Per-View before losing the Heavyweight title fight main event due to multiple injuries, UFC Fight Night 82 was switched to a Fox Sports 1 card that took place on Saturday, February 6th 2016. Despite the complicated lead up to the event, Fight Night 82 did not disappoint and the main event may have seen a new number 1 contender emerge at 170 pounds.
The main event saw former champion and #2 ranked welterweight Johny “Big Rigg” Hendricks take on surging prospect and #8 ranked welterweight Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. While many fans were cheering for Thompson, most analysts thought that Hendricks’ wrestling would prove to be too much for ‘Wonderboy’. That wrestling never really came into play, however, as Thompson stuffed a takedown attempt by Hendricks while absolutely picking apart the former champion on the feet. Showing his karate prowess, Thompson landed kicks and punches seemingly at will. Thompson finally got Hendricks’ back to the cage, connected with a hard spinning back kick to the body that stunned Hendricks and then Thompson was all over him, finishing the fight in a flurry of knees and punches that gave the referee no option but to step in at 3:31 of the very 1st round.
The co-main event of the evening was a battle of heavyweights as long time veteran and fan favorite Roy “Big Country” Nelson took on the up and coming Jared Rosholt. While Rosholt was expected to utilize his wrestling and jiu-jitsu game in this fight, he seemed tentative throughout and visibly flinched any time that Nelson would look to throw his heavy right hand. While Rosholt did attempt two takedowns in the fight, he was unsuccessful both times and Big Country landed a few hard leg kicks that seemed to bother Rosholt throughout the fight. Roy Nelson would end up coming away with a unanimous decision victory.
A light heavyweight match-up between Ovince Saint Preux and Rafael Cavalcante looked like it might end quickly when Saint Preux appeared to severely hurt his foot early in the 1st round. Saint Preux was noticeably limping and having trouble putting weight on his right foot after a kick landed awkwardly on Cavalcante’s leg. Cavalcante seemed like he was going to take advantage of the injury, throwing a few leg kicks that clearly affected Saint Preux. However, Saint Preux battled through the pain and actually dropped Cavalcante with a shot but was unable to finish him before the round ended. In the 2nd and 3rd round, Saint Preux’s foot looked to be feeling much better as his movement had greatly improved and he was throwing more kicks. Saint Preux kept up the pressure and got a takedown in round 3 while Cavalcante looked like he just wanted to go home. Saint Preux turned up the ground and pound in the final moments of the round but was unable to secure the finish. He had done enough to earn a unanimous decision victory however.
The flyweight division was on display as perennial top contender Joseph Benavidez faced off against Zach Makovsky. In a fast paced fight, Makovsky got 4 takedowns but was unable to keep Benavidez down, while Benavidez used a varied striking attack to constantly lay into his opponent. The 3rd round was when Benavidez really seemed to kick it into another gear. He stuffed multiple takedown attempts by Makovsky and dominated the striking exchanges. Benavidez proved once again why he’s a top contender at flyweight en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Another light heavyweight fight on the card saw Misha Cirkunov square off against Alex Nicholson. Cirkunov made it clear what kind of gameplan he had in place from the opening bell, unleashing an onslaught of strikes. A big knee, a takedown and ground and pound was the order of the day in round 1 and Nicholson proved how tough he is by withstanding the punishment he was taking. It was more of the same in round 2 until Cirkunov got another takedown, took Nicholson’s back and looked for the rear naked choke. He couldn’t get the arm under the chin but decided to attempt a neck crank instead which led to Nicholson tapping out and immediately grabbing his jaw. It was a gruesome loss for Nicholson, as there was an audible crack as his jaw broke and Cirkunov stated that he heard and felt the jaw crack as he applied the submission.
Welterweights squared off in the opening bout of the main card as 40-year-old veteran Mike Pyle stepped in to face Sean Spencer. In a bout that ended up winning Fight of the Night honours, both men battled back and forth over the course of 3 rounds. While Spencer seemed to be getting the better of the fight early, Mike “Quicksand” Pyle lived up to his nickname and became harder to handle the longer the fight went. While Pyle really started to pour it on in round 3, it looked like a decision was imminent until he connected with a spinning back elbow that rocked Spencer before Pyle unleashed a torrent of strikes that had the ref stepping in at 4:25 of the final round.
Stephen Thompson def. Johny Hendricks via TKO (3:31 Round 1)
Roy Nelson def. Jared Rosholt via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Ovince Saint Preux def. Rafael Cavalcante via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
Joseph Benavidez def. Zach Makovsky via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Misha Cirkunov def. Alex Nicholson via Submission (Neck Crank) (1:28 Round 2)
Mike Pyle def. Sean Spencer via TKO (4:25 Round 3)
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
Josh Burkman def. K.J. Noons via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)
Derrick Lewis def. Damian Grabowski via TKO (2:17 Round 1)
Justin Scoggins def. Ray Borg via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Diego Rivas def. Noad Lahat via KO (Flying Knee) (0:23 Round 2)
UFC Fight Pass Prelims
Mickey Gall def. Mike Jackson via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) (0:45 Round 1)
Alex White def. Artem Lobov via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)
Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223
UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to MMANYTT.com, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.
Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.
After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.
A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to MMAJunkie.com in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.
Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.
Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.
A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.
Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet
Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.
“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”
Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.
“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”
Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.
“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”
Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April
MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.
The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.
Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.
An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.
His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).
Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.
PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.
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