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UFC Fight Night 88 Preview

Vinny Craig

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After the historic UFC 198 in Brazil, the UFC keeps it moving, going back to their home base of Las Vegas with UFC Fight Night 88. The card, for the most part, has stayed intact with a solid core of fighters leading the way. From Heavyweight to Lightweight, and a final stop in Bantamweight takes MMA fans through their night of fights. A usual time for a big PPV event is given to Bantamweight prospects Thomas Almeida and Cody Garbrandt and the rest of the Fight Night 88 crew on Sunday, May 29.

Main Card- Fox Sports 1 (9 PM EDT, 6 PM PDT, 2 AM GMT)

  • Bantamweight: Thomas Almeida vs. Cody Garbrandt
  • Featherweight: Renan Barao vs. Jeremy Stephens
  • Welterweight: Tarec Saffiedine vs. Rick Story
  • Middleweight: Chris Camozzi vs. Vitor Miranda
  • Welterweight: Jorge Masvidal vs. Lorenz Larkin
  • Lightweight: Josh Burkman vs. Paul Felder

Preliminary Card- Fox Sports 1 (7 PM EDT, 4 PM PDT, 12 AM GMT)

  • Women’s Bantamweight: Sara McMann vs. Jessica Eye
  • Lightweight: Abel Trujillo vs. Jordan Rinaldi
  • Middleweight: Jake Collier vs. Alberto Uda
  • Lightweight: Eric Koch vs. Shane Campbell

Early Preliminary Card- UFC Fight Pass (6 PM EDT, 3 PM PDT, 11 PM GMT)

  • Bantamweight: Aljamain Sterling vs. Bryan Caraway
  • Heavyweight: Chris De La Rocha vs. Adam Milstead

 

Aljamain Sterling vs. Bryan Caraway

The UFC Fight Pass feature spot has been a big one lately with guys like Joseph Duffy, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and Diego Sanchez getting that spot. Add Bantamweights Aljamain Sterling (13-0 MMA; 4-0 UFC)* and Bryan Caraway (20-7; 5-2) to that list as they get the call for Vegas.

Sterling has been calling for this fight for some time now. ‘Funkmaster’ just recently signed a new contract with the UFC after testing the free agency market. The undefeated New Yorker has three straight finish wins inside the Octagon over Hugo Viana, Takeya Mizugaki, and Johnny Eduardo. The former CFFC Bantamweight champion has impressed in the UFC with 3.24 Significant Strikes Landed per Minute (SLpM)** and only 0.99 Significant Strikes Absorbed per Minute (SApM). A former collegiate wrestler has brought that to the biggest stage with 3.58 Takedowns per 15 min. and 1.5 Submission Attempts per 15 min.

Caraway was a former WEC competitor who made it to The Ultimate Fighter as a Featherweight. Caraway fought and beat Marcus Brimage by submission in his quarterfinal fight. In the semi-finals, he lost to Diego Brandao by TKO in the first round. At the finale, Caraway got fellow contestant Dustin Neace and won the fight by Rear-Naked choke. He went on to move to Bantamweight and earned a Fight of the Night, submission win at UFC 149. He took his first loss to Takeya Mizugaki at UFC on Fuel TV 8 as the Split-decision went the opposite way. He got two straight submission wins over Johnny Bedford and Erik Perez to get him to a fight with Raphael Assuncao where he lost by decision. At UFC on Fox 16, he met Eddie Wineland and took the fight by Unanimous decision. His main attribute is his grappling prowess as he steps in with 2.8 Takedowns per 15 min., 81% Takedown Defense (TDD), and 1.0 Submission Attempts per 15 min.

 

Tarec Saffiedine vs. Rick Story

In the Welterweight division, Tarec Saffiedine (16-4; 2-1) and Rick Story (18-8; 11-6) get on the main card.

Saffiedine was the last Strikeforce Welterweight Championship with his win over Nate Marquardt. To get to that fight, he picked up wins over Scott Smith, Tyler Stinson, and Roger Bowling. He made his debut in a headliners role at UFC Fight Night 34 where he beat Hyun Gyu Lim in a Fight of the Night. He wouldn’t return to the Octagon until he got another headlining role at UFC Fight Night Halifax. The fight went to Rory MacDonald as he earned a title shot off the win over Saffiedine. After another injury, he didn’t return for another 15 months when he beat Jake Ellenberger by decision in January. The Karate fighter has shown his striking nature with 4.25 SLpM and a 64% Striking Defense.

Story is a veteran of the UFC with this being his 18th career UFC fight. After dropping his UFC debut at UFC 99, he came back strong with a Fight of the Night, Submission of the Night win over Brian Foster at UFC 103. That jump-started a six-fight win streak that included wins over Dustin Hazelett, Johny Hendricks, and Thiago Alves. The streak came to an end against Charlie Brenneman where he lost a decision. Since then, he is 5-4 which includes a current two-fight win streak over Leandro Mafra (Arm-Triangle choke) and Gunnar Nelson (Split-decision). While not as decorated of a striker as his opponent, he comes in with 3.84 SLpM and 64% Striking Accuracy. He has the advantage with the grappling with 2.72 Takedowns per 15 min. and 1.0 Submission Attempts per 15 min.

 

Renan Barao vs. Jeremy Stephens

The co-main event comes in the Featherweight division as Renan Barao (33-3, 1 NC; 8-2) takes on Jeremy Stephens (24-12; 11-11) in his Featherweight return.

Barao is the former Bantamweight champion after former (and current) champion Dominick Cruz had to be stripped. Barao defended the belt once against Urijah Faber with a first-round TKO, his streak moving to 33 fights unbeaten. His next fight was almost a give-me fight to get to Dominick Cruz as he faced TJ Dillashaw at UFC 173. The fight did not go his way as Dillashaw moved around the champ and finished the fight in the fifth round. The rematch was booked for three months later at UFC 177 where Barao made it to fight week, but could not make it to the fight due to weight cut issues. He beat Mitch Gagnon at UFC Fight Night 58, the last event on 2014, by third round Arm-Triangle choke in his return. The rematch was booked for UFC on Fox 16 where it was much of the same for Barao who was finished in the fourth round. Barao is still very talented with 3.65 SLpM, 1.25 Takedowns per 15 min., and 97% TDD.

Stephens was a longtime Lightweight contender known for his power. After going 6-8 with three straight losses at the end, Stephens moved to the Featherweight division. His first fight at 145 was a decision win over Estevan Payan at UFC 160. His second fight showed the old Stephens with a first round head-kick KO over Rony Jason. After his win over Darren Elkins, he got a bump up in competition with a main event slot against Cub Swanson. After five rounds, Swanson won the decision and Stephens was given Charles Oliveira. Another decision loss landed ‘Heathen’ on the main card of UFC 189 against Dennis Bermudez. After a rocky first round, a flying knee caught Bermudez in the second and Stephens finished the fight. That win catapulted him up to a fight with Max Holloway at UFC 194, the biggest card of the year. The fight again went to a decision for his opponent in Max Holloway as Stephens was bested. His biggest threat is his big power as he has 10 Knockdowns in the UFC.

 

Thomas Almeida vs. Cody Garbrandt

The main event is one of the most fun matchups of the year as undefeated prospects Thomas Almeida (21-0; 4-0) and Cody Garbrandt (8-0; 3-0) get the right to be the first non-title Bantamweight main event.

Almeida has impressed from the start as a 17-0 prospect who joined the UFC against Tim Gorman at UFC Fight Night 56. While his streak of 16 straight finishes ended, the fight was Fight of the Night with Almeida the clear victor by decision. He got back to his roots at UFC 186 with a first round TKO over Yves Jabouin on the main card. On one of the biggest cards of the year, Almeida impressed with a second round flying knee KO over Brad Pickett at UFC 189. He got a fight in his home country of Brazil with a first round KO over Anthony Birchak. In his four UFC fights, he has landed a total of 199 Significant Strikes at a 50% clip and 65% Striking Defense. He has yet to go for a takedown while only allowing himself to be taken down three times in four fights.

Garbrandt is a member of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California. Like his opponent, he stepped into the Octagon with six straight wins, all by finish. He made his debut with a TKO win over Marcus Brimage at UFC 182. Like Almeida, Garbrandt was on UFC 189 and got a decision win over Henry Briones on the undercard of that event. He was supposed to fight John Lineker at UFC Fight Night 83, but Lineker became ill during fight week and was replaced by Augusto Mendes. ‘No Love’ disposed of Mendes by first round TKO to gain his eighth straight win. Much like Almeida, Garbrandt has relied on striking with 3.63 SLpM and 2.61 SApM. He has a better wrestling game with four Takedowns and three guard passes in his three UFC fights.

*All records from Sherdog.com

** All stats from FightMetric.com

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5 Things We Learned from UFC on Fox 26: Lawler vs Dos Anjos

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The UFC’s return to Winnipeg in over 4 years certainly did not disappoint the fans, as the card delivered just as it was expected with plenty of action packed fights.

Upset was in play often times for this card as on more than one occasion, the fans’ jaws dropped in shock and the predictions going into the fights were completely defied.

There are plenty of things to take away from this card, but what were the 5 biggest lessons learned here?

1. Rafael dos Anjos means business at welterweight

While Vegas odds may not have reflected it, dos Anjos had plenty of doubters coming into this fight on whether he could beat the top fighters in the welterweight division, his new found home. I’ll be the first to say, I didn’t think he’d be able to deal with Lawler’s power and size, considering that ‘Ruthless’ used to compete at middleweight, but he completely changed my perspective on what he brings to this division.

With the mix of powerful leg kicks and crisp boxing, dos Anjos completely neutralized the former welterweight champion and took home a dominant victory, winning all five rounds of the fight.

Yes, Lawler was injured and barely moved for the last three rounds, but that should not discredit the masterful performance that dos Anjos had tonight. This only sets up a fight with the current champion Tyron Woodley now (unless Colby Covington gets it), and while Woodley is a whole different match up, it makes for an entertaining fight.

2. Robbie Lawler is still one of the toughest fighters on the roster

Despite both his legs looking like they were completely destroyed by the third round and him losing the fight, we once again saw the toughness and grit of Lawler to never give up.

While we don’t know how bad his injury was, when you see Lawler not moving much and standing still for three rounds straight, you know something is seriously hurting. He endured an unbelievable amount of punishment tonight but at the end was still standing pumping up the crowd. What a warrior.

3. Josh Emmett… the new force to be reckoned with at 145lbs?

Simply no words. It was easily the biggest shocker of the night and maybe even upset of the year. Stepping in on relatively short notice for Jose Aldo, Emmett was counted out in this fight on paper against the former title challenger Ricardo Lamas, and weighing in at 148.5lbs on the scale didn’t help convincing the fans.

It’s My Time!

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But it definitely didn’t matter as he delivered a left hook from hell, sleeping Lamas at the end of the first round, sending a shock to the entire division and rising as a new threat to everyone in top 10. He said that his goal here was to shock the world, and shock the world he did. With this performance, Emmett immediately rises to a position where he now only needs one or two more significant wins from a possible title shot.

4. Mike Perry needs some time to develop into a title contender

Despite showing an unbelievable toughness in a three-round war against Santiago Ponzinibbio, Perry was unable to back up his words before the fight, losing via unanimous decision.

In a fight against a very tough opponent, Perry was once again exposed in a couple of areas as he was against Alan Jouban on his endurance, as he showed signs of fatigue as the second round came around. At the age of 26, he still has plenty of time, but Perry will need to fill that massive hole in order to continue to rise the ladder in the extremely stacked welterweight division, or else he’ll run into some trouble sooner or later.

5. Glover Teixeira isn’t done just yet

This fight was an excellent example of advantages a veteran brings compared to a young and upcoming fighter. Teixeira, coming off that tough loss in Sweden against Alexander Gustafsson, was also doubted by many as he came in as the underdog against a rising prospect in Misha Cirkunov.

Teixeira was put in immediate trouble in the first round, getting tagged by Cirkunov multiple times and getting backed up against the cage, but was able to outsmart Cirkunov by dragging him down to the ground and eventually pounding him out. Teixeira seemed to have lost all momentum against Anthony Johnson, and even more so against Gustafsson, but this fight proved that he is not done just yet, and showed the difference in level between the top 5 and top 10 of the division.

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*Live Updates* UFC Winnipeg Official Results

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The UFC returns to Canada for the final Fight Night card of 2017. In the cold of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the UFC will host eleven of the originally twelve scheduled fights. Unfortunately, Tim Elliot will not fight in the north country. His scheduled opponent, Pietro Menga, a newcomer to the promotions roster, failed to make weight after taking the bout with just over a weeks notice.

An exciting main card will be capped off with a potential contender eliminator bout featuring, Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos. The former champions (Lawler at welterweight, Dos Anjos at lightweight) both put together impressive win streaks which dispatched top contenders in their respective divisions. Elsewhere on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio takes on the outspoken Mike Perry.

The card begins on UFC Fight Pass at 4:30/1:30 ETPT.

UFC Winnipeg Official Results:

MAIN CARD – FOX – 8PM/5PM ETPT

  • #2 Robbie Lawler (28-11) vs. #4 Rafael Dos Anjos (27-9) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Rafael Dos Anjos def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
  • #3 Ricardo Lamas (18-5) vs. Josh Emmett (12-1) – Catchweight bout (148.5 lbs)
    • Result: Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via KO (punch) 4:33 round 1
  • #10 Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3) vs. Mike Perry (11-1) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • #3 Glover Teixeira (26-6) vs. #7 Misha Cirkunov (13-3) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Glover Teixeira def. Misha Cirkunov via TKO (punches) 2:45  round 1

PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 5PM/2PM ETPT

  • #14 Jared Cannonier (10-2) vs #15 Jan Blachowicz (20-7) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Jan Blachowicz def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Julian Marquez (6-1) vs. Darren Stewart (7-2) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart via submission (standing guillotine) 2:42 round 2
  • Chad Laprise (13-2) vs. Galore Bofando (5-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando via TKO (punches) 4:10 round 1
  • Nordine Taleb (13-4) vs Danny Roberts (14-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts via KO (head kick and punch) :59 round 1
  • John Makdessi (14-6) vs Abel Trujillo (15-7) – Lightweight bout
    • Result: John Makdessi def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Alessio Di Chirico (10-2) vs Oluwale Bamgbose (6-3) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose via KO (knee) 2:14 round 2

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 4:30PM/1:30PM ETPT

  • Jordan Mein (29-12) vs. Erick Silva (19-8) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
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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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