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UFC Fight Night: Boetsch vs. Henderson Preview

Vinny Craig

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After last weekend’s up-and-down fight night, here’s the next UFC event to come your way. In the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, Tim Boetsch and Dan Henderson will clash in the Octagon. The original headliner between now Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and contender Ryan Bader was scrapped when Cormier stepped to face Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 for the vacant Light Heavyweight belt.

Francisco Rivera vs. Alex Caceres

Starting off the main card is an exciting Bantamweight fight between Francisco Rivera (10-4, 1 NC MMA; 3-3, 1 NC UFC)* and Alex Caceres (10-7, 1 NC; 5-5, 1 NC). Both have lost their last two fights to tough competition and will look to rebound into contention. This matchup will see the #11 contender (Rivera) and a fighter on the cusp in Caceres.

Rivera has lost his last two fights. His last fight was a Bulldog choke loss to Urijah Faber at UFC 181. An inadvertent eye poke started the flurry and eventually the finish for Faber. Rivera and his management appealed the loss, but the commission disagreed. Before that, he lost a decision to Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 173. He was on a five fight unbeaten streak (which included a no-contest) before these two losses. Rivera is top ten in most striking categories for his division including third in Striking Defense (69.4 %)**.

Caceres has also lost his last two fights. He lost the first of the two to Faber as well as his night ended in the third round by Rear-Naked Choke. He would also lose his next fight to Masanori Kanehara by decision in his opponents’ promotional debut. Just like his opponent, ‘Bruce Leeroy’ was on a five fight unbeaten streak, with one no-contest, before his two straight losses. He is also a known striker and comes with the best Significant Striking Accuracy (51%) in the division.

Joe Soto vs. Anthony Birchak

In another Bantamweight fight, we see Joe Soto (15-3; 0-1) and Anthony Birchak (11-2, 0-1) in the Octagon. Each holds a UFC loss to their name and wants to get the weight of their first win off their shoulders. I expect to see these two fighting for quite some time as each showed promise in their debuts. The two were scheduled to fight at UFC 177 before Soto stepped up in a big fight.

Soto last fight for the title against the champ TJ Dillishaw when the champs’ original opponent Renan Barao had been admitted to the hospital and had to be removed from his title fight. Soto stepped up for Barao and left Birchak without an opponent. Soto looked good, taking the champ to the fifth round before being knocked out. Before that he had been on a six fight win streak to get into the UFC.

Birchak was rescheduled for UFC on Fox 13 where he faced Ian Entwistle. The fight would only last just over a minute before Birchak was tapping due to a heel hook. Before that loss he had been on a five fight win streak with 4 by stoppage. Look for a submission attempt or two as Birchak won his first five fights by tap out.

Thiago Tavares vs. Brian Ortega

We will see a Featherweight bout between submission guys when Thiago Tavares (19-5-1; 9-5-1) and Brain Ortega (8-0, 1 NC; 0-0, 1 NC) meet. Tavares was expected to face Zubaira Tukhugov before an undisclosed injury saw him pull out. Ortega stepped in on just over a month’s notice.

Tavares is a former Lightweight who transitioned in his last fight to the 145 pound division. He would win his Featherweight debut against Robbie Peralta by Rear-Naked Choke. Tavares started his career 10-0 before joining the UFC in 2007. 13 of his 19 career wins have come by submission and he has 5 fight bonus awards in his career. He has a grappling heavy attack as he averages 3.47 Takedowns per 15 min. and 1.5 Submission attempts per 15 min.

Ortega is a UFC new comer with only one fight. He would originally win by submission over Mike De La Torre, but failed his post-fight drug test. The fight was changed to a No-Contest and Ortega’s first UFC win was tarnished. Before that fight, he was 8-0 in his career with two of his last three by Submission. He is a grappler by trade with a black belt in ju-jitsu and has wrestling to get his opponent to the ground.

Dustin Poirier vs. Yancy Medeiros

This fight has Fight of the Night written all over it as Dustin Poirier (17-4; 9-3) and Yancy Medeiros (11-2, 1 NC; 2-2, 1 NC) see who will move forward in the Lightweight division. Both are formerly of a different weight class with Poirier moving up and Medeiros moving down.

Poirier is a former top 5 contender in the Featherweight division. He last fought at UFC Fight Night: Mends vs. Lamas where be beat Carlos Diego Ferreira by knockout. He started his UFC career with 4 straight wins with 2 by submission. He is 4-1 in his last five with the only loss being to Featherweight title challenger Conor McGregor. His all-around fight game is evident by his stats; 4.53 Significant Strikes Landed per Minute (SLpM), 3.23 Significant Strikes Absorbed per Minute (SApM), 1.35 Takedowns per 15 min. and 1.6 Submission Attempts per 15 min.

Medeiros is a former Strikeforce contender who joined the UFC in 2013. He went 0-2 with a No-Contest in his first three fights. He would turn things around in his last two fights with submission wins over Damon Jackson (Reverse Bulldog choke) and Joe Proctor (Guillotine). He is a finisher with 9 of his 11 career wins coming by stoppage. He comes in with 4.57 SLpM and 2.2 Submission attempts per 15 min.

Ben Rothwell vs. Matt Mitrione

The co-main event is an exciting Heavyweight matchup between Ben Rothwell (34-9; 4-3) and Matt Mitrione (9-3, 9-3). This puts #9 Rothwell and #13 Mitrione for a chance to move up in the Heavyweight rankings. They have five fight night bonuses between the two, and one or both could very well earn one on Saturday.

Rothwell is a true veteran of the sport who has been competing since 2001. He started his UFC career at UFC 104 against now Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. He split losses for wins for five fights stretching four years. He finally put together two wins in a row with his last win over Alistair Overeem. Rothwell doesn’t t thrown punches in bunches, but like most Heavyweight puts together a big shot or two to put you away.

Mitrione is a former college football player at Purdue University. He joined MMA on TUF 10 where he went 1-1. In the finale, he was matched up with Marcus Jones and beat him by KO. He would win his next four fights with three by KO/TKO. He got a tough test when he faced Cheick Kongo and would lose by decision. That was a part of four fights where he lost three. Since then he has won three straight, all coming by KO/TKO over Shawn Jordan, Derrick Lewis and Gabriel Gonzaga. He throws more volume than Rothwell which is evident by his 3.86 SLpM and 51% Striking Accuracy.

Tim Boetsch vs. Dan Henderson

In the main event we have a Middleweight matchup between two wrestlers in Tim Boetsch (18-8; 7-5) and Dan Henderson (30-13; 10-7). Both have wrestling backgrounds with the latter being a two time Olympian. Between the two they have lost 6 of their last 8 fights.

Boetsch is a former Light Heavyweight who has made a home at 185. He’s had a 5 year UFC career which started at UFC 117 where he beat Todd Brown. He has wins over Yushin Okami, Hector Lombard, CB Dolloway and Brad Tavares since joining the organization. He was submitted by an Arm-Triangle choke in his last fight against Thales Leites.  ‘The Barbarian’ comes in boasting a 2.72 SLpM with 50% accuracy on it. His wrestling comes in nicely with 1.69 Takedowns per 15 min.

Henderson is the former Pride Middleweight and Welterweight champion. His UFC career was re-launched when he had to unify both of his titles against the UFC champions in Anderson Silva and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson. He would lose both fights and keep neither belt to his name. After joining Strikeforce in 2010 he would get an immediate title shot at champion Jake Shields for the Middleweight strap. He would come up short but get a shot for the Light Heavyweight belt just two fights later. He would TKO then champ Rafael Cavalcante to win the belt.  Since he returned to the UFC to headline UFC 139 in a Fight of the Year (maybe century) honors, he has gone just 2-5. He comes in to the fight with only 2.55 SApM to go along with his wrestling stats of 1.61 Takedowns per 15 min. and 54% Takedown Accuracy.

*-All records come from Sherdog.com

** All stats come 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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