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UFC Fight Night 91 Fighter to Watch: Cortney Casey

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Cortney “Cast Iron” Casey (4-3) made her UFC debut in 2015 having won 4 of her last 5 fights with all 4 wins coming by 1st round stoppages. With those 4 finishes, Casey showed herself to be a well-rounded fighter, splitting the wins with 2 TKO’s and 2 submissions.

Casey debuted in the UFC in July of 2015 at UFC Fight Night 72 and drew the current #7 ranked strawweight fighter Joanne Calderwood as her opponent. Casey looked to be on her way to another 1st round victory as she had Calderwood in serious trouble early but the UFC veteran managed to weather the storm and ended up winning the round. The 2nd round saw Calderwood becoming more comfortable with the pacing of the fight, although there were points where Casey gave as good as she got with some heavy power shots. Casey appeared to be gassed in the third round but showed her toughness by surviving a knockdown and flurry of strikes by Calderwood to avoid being finished. The experience and skill set of Calderwood would ultimately lead her to a unanimous decision victory, however Casey showed that she wouldn’t be an easy fight for anyone in the division. The fight would earn Fight of the Night honors.

Casey wasn’t out of the octagon for long as she took her 2nd UFC fight in November at UFC Fight Night 79 against Korean Seo Hee Ham who was coming off almost a year break in between fights. Both fighters exchanged shots early but Casey was landing much more consistently and looked to almost have the fight finished halfway through the round with a big head kick and some follow-up shots. Ham would rally but wasn’t able to land anything substantial until the round ended with both fighters just standing in the pocket and firing away at one another. Round 2 was much of the same with Casey avoiding damage (except for an accidental eye-poke and a low kick to the groin) and managing to drop Ham early on although she was again unable to secure the finish. The 3rd round saw Casey land some big combinations but ultimately become the more reactive fighter as Ham came forward throughout, looking for the knockout victory but unable to do much damage to Casey. The lack of aggression at the end may have ultimately cost Casey as the fight ended in a unanimous decision victory for Ham, leaving Casey in shock. However, Casey would once again find herself being awarded a Fight of the Night bonus, her 2nd in 2 fights.

Casey enters the UFC octagon for the 3rd time on Wednesday night at UFC Fight Night 91 to take on Cristina “Barbie” Stanciu (5-1). Stanciu is coming off of a unanimous decision loss to Maryna Moroz at UFC Fight Night 86 in April. Prior to that, the Romanian born fighter was undefeated, with 4 1st round finishes in 5 professional fights.

Casey has a history of putting on consistently exciting fights and has shown she is fully capable of finishing fights early as well. Her opponent has shown that she is just as capable as Casey is. With those factors in play, Cortney Casey will be looking to add a 3rd straight Fight of the Night accolade to her resume, this time however, she’ll be looking to come away with the win.

Be sure to tune in to UFC Fight Night 91 on Wednesday July 13th. UFC Fight Pass prelims begin at 5:30 ET and you can catch Cortney Casey on the Fox Sports 1 prelims beginning at 7:00 ET.

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Fighter Profile

Jake Collier Re-Signs with the UFC

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UFC light heavyweight, Jake Collier (11-4, 3-3 UFC) , took to twitter yesterday, announcing a four fight contract renewal with the promotion.

The Missouri-born, Collier, amassed a 7-1 professional record fighting exclusively in his home state. Following his next fight, a 1st round submission victory over Gabriel Checco in the RFA promotion, Collier signed with the UFC.

Originally, Collier signed as a middleweight. His promotional debut took place in December of 2014 at, UFC Fight Night 58. A bout which he lost to Vitor Miranda via TKO (Head kick and punches) with only one second remaining in the opening round.

In 2017, “The Prototype”, moved to the light heavyweight division. The move came after a three-year stint at middleweight that saw him go 2-2. Losing to the likes of Dongi Yang, while defeating Ricardo Abreu. His final fight at the lower weight earned him a performance of the night bonus in his, UFC Fight Night 88, TKO win over Alberto Uda.

Upon moving to light heavyweight, Collier has the same .500 win percentage with a record of 1-1. His debut at the weight originally scheduled him against John Stansbury. Unfortunately, Collier withdrew from the card due to injury. Devin Clark replaced him on, The Ultimate Fighter Finale: 24, and defeated John Stansbury by unanimous decision. Clark then fought Collier next, defeating him by unanimous decision. “The Prototype”s most recent bout, a victory over Marcel Fortuna in November at, UFC Fight Night 120.

According to, UFC.com, Collier is booked to fight UFC-newcomer, Marcin Prachnio at, UFC on Fox 28, in Orlando, Florida. The only bout booked to the February 24th card, of next year.

Prachnio, holds a record of 13-2, with 10 knockouts. He most recently fought for the Asian-based promotion, One Championship. The Karate practitioner comes to the UFC on an eight fight win streak, the previous four in One Championship. At twenty-nine, Prachnio is another, in his prime, European light heavyweight signed to the UFC this year (Volkan Oezdemir being the other).

 

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Fighter to Watch

Chris Wade Blasts UFCs Matchmaking Process

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Chris Wade (12-3, 5-2 UFC) is not happy with Sean Shelby and Dana White. The UFC fighter took to social media to air a long-winded grievance with his employer.

Wade won his most recent bout against Frankie Perez by unanimous decision on the July 22nd card, UFC on Fox 25.

With statements like these, it seems Wade is in a peculiar position. Obviously, he lacks the good graces of the UFC. In addition, lightweight is an extremely deep division in the UFC. In reality, a long while may pass before a portion of talented fighters gain rankings. There is a massive backlog of talent in the division. Not too long ago, James Vick was in the same position.

The Texas native earned a record of 8-1 before being awarded the #14 ranking. It took three consecutive finishes to get him there. Finishes over Joe Duffy, Marco Polo Reyes and Abel Trujillo. Vick not only had to flash inside the cage but also, make his voice heard.

Wade is in a similar position but, not an identical one. James Vick was a guy whom a lot of people were keeping an eye on. Even before the “Texacutioner”, made his case against the rankings clear, talk spread about his skills. Unfortunately, the same can not be said of Chris Wade. His record of 5-2, is very respectable. Yet, the reasons why he sits unranked and a fighter like Vick does not, are more than numbers.

Losses to Rustam Khabilov and Islam Makhachev are certainly a factor in this equation. Makhachev and Khabilov are two more lightweights who could have the same grievance as Wade. Especially Khabilov, whom currently rides a five-fight win streak. Wade would garner greater footing in his division with high stakes match up.

The New Yorker does not look to be in the position of picking fights. Yet, the only way to advance in the one hundred and fifty-five-pound division is beating prospects. Not necessarily young fighters but, unranked fighters who have developed a profile within the MMA community. Lando Vannata is one of a few whom fit the description.

Although Vannata’s UFC record shows mixed success, his potential is well-known. His record, 1-2-1, includes a lost bout taken on short notice against, current, interim Lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson.

This fight would be an ideal matchup for Wade. The hype behind Vannata is growing, and his exciting style will draw an increasing amount of eyes every time he enters the octagon. Assuming Wade’s statements on social media are true, and he is on thin ice with management, he needs those eyes.

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Fighter to Watch

Can Darren Till fill Michael Bisping’s role of being the UK’s MMA golden boy?

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After his explosive TKO finish of UFC legend Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC Gdansk, Darren Till is the name on everyone’s lips.

Am I surprised? Absolutely not. Prior to the fight Till had 15 professional MMA wins to his name and 44 kickboxing wins. And although he was relatively unknown to some, there is no denying the talent the Liverpudlian has, in fact, he oozes class.

The UK MMA community is buzzing with the level their homegrown talent is performing at and there have already been calls to have Till main event a UFC fight night in his home town of Liverpool. With rumours circulating that Michael Bisping could soon retire, could Till be the man to fill his boots when it comes to being the poster boy for British MMA?

Next stop Echo Arena Liverpool ? 👀 @danawhite @ufc 🦍

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It’s no secret that Bisping is brilliant at marketing himself, but at times his nationality and popularity in the UK alone would be enough to sell out any arena in the UK.

But with Bisping currently holding the middleweight title, he has many PPV match ups and big fights in the US ahead before his impending retirement.

That leaves a big question mark over the future of the UFC in the UK. After all, 3 out of 4 of Bisping’s most recent main event fights have been in the UK and have all pulled in impressive ticket sales with very flattering gate numbers. 9 of Bisping’s 27 UFC fights have taken place on this side of the pond, showing how valuable he has been in selling tickets and growing the sport in the UK.

With the sport growing rapidly in the UK & Ireland thanks to a certain charismatic Irishman, the UFC must keep up this momentum by putting on solid cards with good main event fights and local talent.

With Marc Diakese, Jimi Manuwa and Gunnar Nelson all losing in their last fights respectively we are unlikely to see them main event a UK event for sometime.

So who’s better to trust than the man who just demolished Cerrone in one round? With Dana White calling Till the “the future” then surely he must be the future of UK MMA and the man to step in ready to fill Bisping’s boots when he eventually throws in the towel on his remarkable career.

He is perfect to become the next face of UK MMA, he has the back story, the physical attributes and most importantly the talent.

Who knows maybe it could be Darren Till vs Mike Perry in early 2018, to start his reign as the new boss of UK MMA. But one things for sure, he’s certainly capable of filling Michael Bisping’s role as the UK’s primary main event star.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts below!

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