International Fight Week is finally here and the onslaught of UFC events kicks off on Thursday, July 7th with an exclusive UFC Fight Pass card that is packed with talent. This card has a little bit of everything, rising stars like Gilbert “Durinho” Burns, debut talents like Belal Muhammad, heavyweight knockout artists Roy “Big Country” Nelson and Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis, and it’s topped off with a Lightweight title matchup between defending champion Rafael Dos Anjos and #1 contender Eddie Alvarez.
Alan Jouban vs Belal Muhammad
Alan “Brahma” Jouban is 4-2 in the UFC and already has a “Fight of the Night” bonus to his name. Coming off of a 1st round TKO victory over Brendan O’Reilly in March, Jouban was originally slated to take on Nordine Taleb before Taleb was forced to withdraw due to injury. Jouban has only had 2 of his fights in the UFC go past the 1st round and 9 of his 13 wins have come by way of KO/TKO. He will be looking to spoil the UFC debut of his opponent and add another highlight reel finish to his resume on Thursday night on Fight Pass.
Belal Muhammad carries an undefeated 9-0 record into his short-notice UFC debut on Thursday night. While only 3 of his 9 wins have come by way of KO/TKO, he is by no means a boring fighter. Muhammad tends to overwhelm his opponents with his volume of strikes while using his wrestling experience to counter takedowns and secure ones of his own. His last fight showcased just how good Muhammad is as he completely dominated Titan FC Welterweight Champion Steve Carl, winning the title via 4th round TKO back in April. Muhammad has since vacated the title but will be looking to carry that momentum into the UFC against Jouban at UFC Fight Night 90.
Roy Nelson vs Derrick Lewis
The co-main event of the evening features a Heavyweight battle between 2 fan favourites who both possess devastating knockout power. Roy Nelson vs Derrick Lewis has been brewing since February after Lewis took to Twitter to request the fight. Lewis said “it would be a good fun fight for the fans” and considering that 35 of the two men’s combined 47 wins have been by KO, it’s hard to argue with him. The two will finally meet on Thursday night.
Roy Nelson halted a 3 fight losing skid with a unanimous decision win over Jared Rosholt in February. While the fight went to decision, you could see that Nelson was visibly frustrated at points throughout the fight at Rosholt’s lack of willingness to engage. “Big Country” has shown that he’s more than willing to stand and trade and his ability to take punishment as well as dish it out. He’ll be looking to show that he still has that devastating power and that he’s more than capable of making another run at the UFC Heavyweight title, beating Derrick Lewis would certainly help his case.
Derrick Lewis is riding a 3 fight win streak which was capped off by a brutal 1st round knockout of Gabriel Gonzaga in April. “The Black Beast” has only gone the distance in 2 of his 19 professional fights and finished 7 of his 15 wins inside the 1st round. Lewis is one of the few men who will probably outweigh Nelson on fight night but his size never seems to be a hindrance to his mobility inside the octagon. There is visible improvement every time he steps in the cage and he will be looking to show off that improvement again in what will be his biggest test to date. Lewis has been calling for this fight for months and he’ll be looking to back up his words on Thursday night. A convincing win over a veteran like Roy Nelson would help put Lewis on the map while also making the rest of the Heavyweight division take notice.
Rafael Dos Anjos vs Eddie Alvarez
The main event of the evening will be only the 2nd title fight to ever take place on UFC Fight Pass as Lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos takes on former Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez. In a stacked division, and the champion coming off an injury-induced layoff, there will be plenty of eyes on this one from both fans and fighters alike.
After a 2014 decision loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov, champion Rafael Dos Anjos (25-7) has looked like a man possessed in his road to winning, and defending the 155 lb strap. A 2nd round TKO of Jason High, followed by a brutal 1st round KO of former champion Benson Henderson and a dominant decision victory over Nate Diaz all led to Dos Anjos getting a shot at the belt against then-champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. For 5 rounds against Pettis, Dos Anjos looked unbeatable. He controlled and imposed his will on the champion en route to a unanimous decision victory to become the new UFC Lightweight Champion. He would defend his belt in December against Donald Cerrone, in a fight that the champion would finish via 1st round TKO. He was scheduled to fight Featherweight champion Conor McGregor at UFC 196 but was forced to withdraw due to injury. The champ now appears to be healthy and ready to defend his belt and his place amongst the best pound for pound fighters in the world.
Eddie Alvarez (27-4) is a former Bellator Lightweight champion. He is probably most well-known for his wars against Michael Chandler as well as his devastating KO of Patricky Freire. His entrance into the UFC has not been quite what many imagined for the former champion as his UFC debut in September of 2014 was spoiled by Donald Cerrone. Alvarez has recovered however and scored back to back split decision wins over Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis. His fight with Pettis was a “title eliminator” with many expecting “Showtime” to showcase his striking ability and get a chance to regain his title. Alvarez never got that memo as he used his striking to outpoint Pettis and his clinch and ground game to grind out a split decision victory over the former champ. There may not be a better time for Alvarez to face off against the champion as he seems to be finally discovering a rhythm that works for him and Dos Anjos coming off of an injury. Alvarez will be looking to return to his championship form on Thursday night in the main event on UFC Fight Pass.
Main Card and Prelims – UFC Fight Pass (630 EST/330 PST Prelims, 1000 EST/700 PST Main Card)
Lightweight – Rafael Dos Anjos vs Eddie Alvarez
Heavyweight – Roy Nelson vs Derrick Lewis
Welterweight – Alan Jouban vs Belal Muhammad
Lightweight – Joe Duffy vs Mitch Clark
Welterweight – Mike Pyle vs Alberto Mina
Lightweight – John Makdessi vs Mehdi Baghdad
Bantamweight – Anthony Birchak vs Dileno Lopes
Bantamweight – Russel Doane vs Pedro Munhoz
Bantamweight – Felipe Arantes vs Jerrod Sanders
Lightweight – Gilbert Burns vs Lukasz Sajewski
Bantamweight – Marco Beltran vs Reginaldo Vieira
Welterweight – Vicente Luque vs Alvara Herrera
Stephen Thompson wants Rafael dos Anjos in contender eliminator bout
Over the weekend, Rafael dos Anjos defeated Robbie Lawler at UFC Fight Night: Winnipeg, in dominant fashion via unanimous decision. The main event of the Canadian event was Dos Anjos’ third victory in as many fights at welterweight. The former UFC lightweight champion moved up in weight after suffering two consecutive losses. First, relinquishing his championship title to Eddie Alvarez, then falling to current interim lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson. Although the Brazilian had fought at the 155-pound weight limit exclusively in his career, his weight cut in order to reach the lightweight limit is admittedly brutal.
When talking with FloCombat, the top welterweight contender claimed, “It is not worth it [the weight cut] considering the amount I’m earning today. This was one of my motivations to change to welterweight. I don’t need to kill myself and earn this salary.” He further explained the agony of making the weight limit, “I want to avoid those last 15 pounds. That is terror and panic. It’s almost death. I don’t need to face that anymore. I want to fight well and happy, get in there strong and in good shape”.
Now that Dos Anjos has arrived at welterweight with such success, he believes he deserves a shot at Tyron Woodley and the 170-pound belt.
Am'I the only one that thinks that this fight should be for a interim title? Since the champ is out until next year?
— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) October 12, 2017
This is a sentiment that UFC president Dana White seems to agree with. At the Toronto press conference, White fielded a question on whether or not the winner of the Lawler vs. Dos Anjos match-up would yield a title contender, “Yup,” he responded. Later in the press event, White further clarified Dos Anjos’ position in the welterweight ranks, “(RDA) just had a great win to get himself back into contention and a win over Robbie Lawler obviously would do it”.
Yet, another top-ranked welterweight does not agree. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson wants a third crack at welterweight gold, and he believes Dos Anjos is his ticket back to title contention.
That was a WAR! Hats off to both RDA and Robbie for that effort! I can be back in the Octagon this March. @RdosAnjosMMA , let’s give the fans another treat. We both want gold, it’s only fitting we battle for it! @ufc #UFCWinnipeg @danawhite
— Stephen Thompson (@WonderboyMMA) December 17, 2017
What makes this challenge intriguing? The status of current welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley. Last week, Woodley announced on his TMZ show, The Hollywood Beatdown, he would be having surgery. The champion stated, “I’m going to go ahead and get this shoulder repaired. I’ve been saying, ‘You know what, I don’t want to get it cut on, I don’t want to get it repaired.’ But if there’s no fight that really makes a ton of sense for me to take the risk, to not be 100 percent with my shoulder, then I’m going to go ahead and have it repaired. They’re not going to do a full orthopedic rehabilitation, but they’re going to do a scope and they’re going to anchor down some sides. Then I’m going to get some PRP (platelet-rich plasma), some stem cells.” A timetable for his return is not readily available.
As the division stands, the truly deserving of the next welterweight title shot would be either Thompson or Dos Anjos. The recent credentials of both garner such status. Thompson most recently defeated rising contender, Jorge Masvidal at UFC 217. Before his early November victory over Masvidal, the undefeated kick-boxer challenged for the belt twice, consecutively. While he was unsuccessful in both attempts to earn the belt, each fight was extremely close. The first of which, scored a majority draw.
*Live Updates* UFC Winnipeg Official Results
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)
Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier Added to UFC Orlando
The UFC has now added more bouts to the front end of their 2018 schedule. Gilbert Burns (13-2, 5-2 UFC) will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2, 6-2 UFC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) December 14, 2017
Alongside a few other high-profile fight announcements, is the addition to the UFC Orlando, Florida card. The two lightweights will join Jake Collier and Marcin Prachnio, as the second fight set for the event.
It has been a while since the UFC hosted an event in the state of Florida. Last seen by the Floridians was UFC on Fox: Texeira vs. Evans, on April 16, 2016 in Tampa Bay. The card was a success, despite the cancellation of its planned main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Drawing a gate of $1.05 million and 2.13 million viewers.
Gilbert Burns signed with the UFC after accumulating an undefeated record of 8-0. His first loss came in his home country of Brazil, as Rashid Magomedov defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3, in November of 2015.
In his most recent bout, Burns defeated Jason Saggo by KO with five seconds remaining in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch.
Aubin-Mercier will come into the contest as a winner in his last three bouts. The Canadian fighter trains out of the Tristar gym, alongside legends such as Georges St. Pierre and head coach, Firas Zahabi.
In 2011, Aubin-Mercier was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. Competing in the welterweight bracket, he became a finalist by defeating both, Jake Mathews (unanimous decision) and Richard Walsh (rear naked choke). In the finale, Aubin-Mercier lost to Chad Laprise by split decision.
UFC Orlando will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
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