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UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs. Faber Preview

Vinny Craig

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A thrilling weekend in Adelaide paved the way for a fight card that is sure to surprise many. The Fox Sports 1 featured card is a Saturday morning card here in the U.S. and is the best way to start off your weekend. The headlining bout between Frankie Edgar and Urijah Faber is a matchup people have wanted to see for quite some time. Let’s see what the rest of the card has in mind

Mark Eddiva vs. Levan Makashvili
Starting off the card is a Featherweight fight between Mark Eddiva (6-1 MMA; 1-1 UFC)* and Levan Makashvili (6-1; 0-0). Eddiva was expected to face struggling Alex White, but late last month White had to pull out due to an undisclosed injury. That gave way for newcomer Makashvili who last fought for Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC).

Eddiva, a Wushu style fighter, fights for the third time in the UFC. While competing in MMA, the local Filipino fighter won two golds in four Wushu competitions. Eddiva would win his first five fights outside of the UFC all by finishes. He made his UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter China Finale in March of 2014. He would get his first decision when he beat Jumabieke Tuerxun. He got his first career loss at the TUF Brazil 3 Finale last May when he lost by TKO to Kevin Souza. Eddiva uses his striking mainly with 4.14 Significant Strikes Landed per Minute (SLpM)** and 3.66 Significant Strikes Absorbed per Minute (SApM). His wrestling has improved in his career as he averages 2.41 Takedowns per 15 min.

Makashvili, who fights out of New York, will make his UFC debut. He started off his young career in April 2013 in Ring of Combat and won the fight by decision. 4 fights and two organizations later, ‘The Hornet’ still had an undefeated record. His first career loss came to Alexandre Bezerra back in August where he lost a majority decision. Makashvili would avenge his only career loss four months later when he would win a unanimous decision over Bezerra.

Philippe Nover vs. Yui Chul Nam
In another Featherweight bout, we see Phillipe Nover (10-5-1; 0-3) face Yui Chul Nam (18-4-1; 1-0). This fight has been highly anticipated with the return of Nover and contender Yui Chal Nam. Nover is of Filipino heritage and had been pushing to fight on this card, getting the confirmation on his birthday.

Nover, a former TUF runner-up, has returned to the UFC to fight in his country of heritage. His time on TUF was special as he was once referred to as the next Georges St. Pierre. He would never live up to that title as after losing the TUF finale; he would lose his next two fights before being cut. He would go 5-2 outside the organization including 2-1 in Bellator. His career stats are pretty underwhelming as he only has 1.35 SLpM and 1.93 SApM. The lone bright spot is his 1.9 Submission Attempts per 15 min.

Nam has fought in Asia for every fight of his career. Before joining the UFC, he was the Road FC Lightweight champion and tournament winner. He has two fights in M-1 as he lost to Dave Jansen and a win over Hacran Dias. His UFC debut came at The Ultimate Fighter China Finale last March. He won the fight by split decision over Kazuki Tokudome.

Hyun Gyu Lim vs. Neil Magny
In an interesting matchup Hyun Gyu Lim (13-4-1; 3-1) and Neil Magny (14-3; 7-2) fight in the Welterweight division. Between the two they have won their last seven fights and 14 of their last 15. Both fighters need a win here to move closer to being ranked and relevant for the title.

Lim fights out of Korean Top Team. He started his UFC career in March 2013 with a knockout of Marcus Guimaraes from knees. He would win his second fight in the same fashion as he beat Pascal Krauss at UFC 164. His first UFC loss came in a headlining bout with Tarec Saffeidine as he lost a decision. He would get himself back on track with a with a TKO win over Takenori Sato at UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Nelson. He comes in with 5.60 SLpM and 4.81 SApM.

Magny was the fighter who competed the most in 2014. He fought, and won, 5 fights in 8 months. He got wins over Gasan Umalatov, Tim Means, Rodrigo de Lima, Alex Garcia and William Macario. He started 2015 off right with a win in his hometown of Denver, CO over Kiichi Kunimoto. Magny has not lost since November 2013. He only absorbs 1.51 Significant Strikes per 15 min., good for second in the division.  His +2.25 Striking Differential (3.76 SLpM) is best in the division. He’s no one-trick pony, as he also averages 2.87 Takedowns per 15 min. and has a 71% Takedown Defense (TDD).

Mark Munoz vs. Luke Barnatt
This is the last time we will see ‘The Filipino Wrecking Machine’ (relevant) in the Octagon. In a Middleweight fight, Mark Munoz (13-6; 8-6) and Luke Barnatt (8-2; 3-2) will see each other in the Octagon. Both have struggled as of late with 6 losses in their last seven between the two. This fight is a fan favorite as you mesh two exciting styles.

Munoz is a former Division 1 All American Wrestler turned MMA fighter. He started his UFC career at UFC 96 with a loss to Matt Hamill. He would win seven of his next 8 fights before losing to now Middleweight champion Chris Weidman. Since then he has lost 3 of his last four fights getting finished in all three losses. Munoz is a veteran who comes in with 3.22 SLpM and 2.19 SApM. He averages 2.46 Takedowns per 15 min.

Barnatt is a former Ultimate Fighter who was on season 17. Barnatt started of his career with 3 straight wins. It started with a win at the TUF 17 Finale when he beat Collin Heart. His next two fights combined lasted less than twelve minutes as he finished Andrew Craig and Matt Nissan. He has lost two straight split decisions to Sean Strickland and Roger Narvaez. He has a throw first, think later style as he averages 4.86 SLpM and 4.28 SApM. He has an 82% TDD which should come in handy with Munoz.

Gegard Mousasi vs. Costas Philippou
In the co-main event we have Middleweights Gegard Mousasi (36-5-2; 3-2) will face Costas Philippou (13-4, 1 NC; 6-3). Both were champions in other organizations with Mousasi being more decorated.

Mousasi is the former DREAM Middleweight and Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion. He has alternated wins and losses since joining the UFC. His first fight came in a headlining bout against Ilir Latifi. He would win that fight by decision. He then a lost another headlining bout against Lyoto Machida followed by a win in his third straight headlining fight. He then lost to number contender Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza by Guillotine in yet another headlining bout. Finally in a co-main event slot on UFC on Fox 14, he beat legend Dan Henderson with a first round TKO. His stats are impressive as he comes in with 3.41 SLpM and only 1.17 SApM with a 70% Striking Defense. He rounds out his skills with 1.41 Takedowns per 15 min. and 1.4 Submission attempts.

Philippou is the former Ring of Combat Middleweight champion. He started his UFC career with a loss to Nick Catone. He then would win 5 straight fights with wins over Court McGee and Tim Boetsch. He would lose again at UFC 165 to Francis Carmont by decision. In his next fight he was finished with a body kick by Luke Rockhold. He got back to his winning ways when he beat Lorenz Larkin by knockout back in May of last year. His stats are pretty unimpressive as he averages only 2.46 SLpM and 2.58 SApM. His 72% TDD is his best stat he has.

Frankie Edgar vs. Urijah Faber
In a Superfight of sorts we see two former champions compete for in an East Coast vs. West Coast matchup. Frankie Edgar (18-4-1; 12-4-1) and Urijah Faber (32-7; 9-3) will be the main event in a ‘Thrilla in Manila’.

Edgar is the former UFC Lightweight champion. Edgar won his title by beating BJ Penn at UFC 112. He would also win the rematch at UFC 118 to solidify himself as the champion. His next fight would give him the chance to redeem himself from his only career loss against Gray Maynard with the winner facing WEC champion Anthony Pettis in a unification bout. The fight would end in a draw calling for a rematch which Edgar would win. He would lose his title to Benson Henderson and the rematch after. He then moved to Featherweight where he got an immediate title shot but would lose to champion Jose Aldo. ‘The Answer’ is solid in all aspects of MMA with 3.52 SLpM and only 2.09 SApM. 2.71 Takedowns per 15 min. and 63% TDD are where he wins his fights.

Faber is the former WEC Featherweight champion. As most of us know, Faber has never lost a non-title fight during his career. All seven of his losses have only occurred in title fights. He has amassed career wins over Dominick Cruz, Jens Pulver, Takeya Mizugaki, and Scott Jorgensen. He’s very productive with his style of pressure and wrestling as he has 2.67 SLpM and 2.25 SApM. He averages 1.71 Takedowns per 15 min. Look for Faber to use his ju-jitsu advantage in this one.

*All records comes from sherdog.com

**All stats from FightMetric.com

 

 

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Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet

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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.”

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UFC 219: Cyborg vs Holm recap

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In yearly tradition , the UFC hosted a pay per view fight card at the T-Mobile Arena  in Las Vegas once again and for the second year in a row, the card was headlined by two females fighting for the title of the baddest woman on earth. Cristine Cyborg Santos was looking to defend her featherweight title for the first time since capturing the title last summer in a tko victory over Tonya Evinger.  Her opponent would be Holly Holm, the woman who shot into stardom after knocking out Ronda Rousey to become the bantamweight champion in 2015 and was fighting for the featherweight title for the second time after being unsuccessful in a controversial loss to Germaine De Radamie in Brooklyn.

In the co main event, The UFC welcomed one of the most feared lightweights and beloved contender Khabib Nurmagomedov who returned to the cage after a year layoff after failing to make weight earlier this year in a title eliminator with Tony Ferguson . Welcoming Nurmagomedov to the cage was exciting Brazilian striker Edson Barboza who was on a 3 fight win streak after losing to interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson in 2015. The winner would guarantee a title shot for themselves against either Tony Ferguson or the winner of the title unification fight between Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson if it happens.

The rest of the card had other stories that intrigued the fans with the return of former UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit taking on Neil Magny, Cynthia Carvillo looking to go 5-0 in 2017 with a win over Carla Esparza and an exciting lightweight fight between Marc Diakiese and Daniel Hooker.

 

The Main Event

UFC Women’s Featherweight championship

Christine ” Cyborg” Santos vs Holly ” The Preachers Daughter” Holm

When the UFC announced it’s intentions to start a featherweight division for females in the UFC, a fight between Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm was the most logical fight to start the division. It took almost a year to come into fruition but on Saturday night, we finally had the answer of who would be the most feared female fighter in the world.

The fight started off with Holm tripping Cyborg after a kick and started the clinch game for Holly , who overpowered Cyborg against the cage. A move that would slow down Cyborg’s attacks in the later rounds but this was not the case tonight. Cyborg, who was known as a devastating berserker like striker in her earlier has become a more patient striker under the guidance of Jason Parillo. Cyborg caught Holly with a variation of counter strikes throughout the fight which swelled Holm’s left eye. Holm had her moments in the fight and gave Cyborg her toughest fight to date.

As we moved into the later rounds, the counter strikes were landing more often for Cyborg and started to dictate to fight. The final bell rang and although many scores were thrown around on twitter all in favor for Cyborg. Cris Cyborg won a unanimous decision with one judge scoring the fight 49-46 which had Cyborg winning four rounds and the other two judges scoring the fight a lot closer 48-47.

What’s next for Cyborg? She asked for Meagan Anderson in Australia , the last Invicta featherweight champion who has yet to make her debut for UFC after signing last summer. With the card in 6 weeks, its unlikely she will get her wish but Cyborg vs Anderson should be next in the shallow and confusing 145 division for females.

 

The Co-main event

Khabib ” The Eagle ” Nurmagomedov vs Edson Barboza

A fight that in many people’s eyes was the true main event with fan favorite Khabib Nurmagomedov putting his unbeaten 24 fight win streak on the line against fellow top contender Edson Barboza.

What can you say about Nurmagomedov that hasn’t been said already. He was nothing short of perfection.

Implementing his game early, Nurmagomedov took the fight to the ground early in round 1 after failing on the first attempted takedown on Barboza. Once the takedown was secured, the Russian posture to his feet and landed devastating ground and pound on Barboza. It took a minute to see Barboza would be in for a rough night as by the sound of the bell ending for the first round, Barboza was bloodied up and looked defeated.

The second round was even more devastating when Khabib had Barboza on the ground for the entire round. The commentators in awe of Khabib’s abilities began to sound concerned that Barboza took too much damage as no matter who much punishment Nurmagomedov would deliver to Barboza, Barboza continued to be in the fight and looked for the knockout whenever the fight would go back to standing which ultimately ended in the brazilian being taken down again.

Barboza had a chance to end the fight in the third when he landed a head kick on Nurmagomedov who showed a granite chin and walked through the shot like T-1000.

The fight went to the judges and the judges scored the fight in favor of Khabib Nurmagomedov ( 30- 25, 30-25,30-4) which just highlights the one-sided victory for the Russian who moves to 25-0 and will likely take on Tony Ferguson next year.

The rest of the card

Although not the most exciting run of fights in the lead up to the main and co main. The main card hosted the return of Carlos Condit who after returning to the cage following a 16 month hiatus only to suffer a decision loss to an impressive Neil Magny who used his wrestling to take down the former champ on numerous occasions.

Speaking of former champs, former strawweight champion Carla Esparza scored a big win beating undefeated Cynthia Carvillo, who impressed in round 1 before Esparza turned the tides and finished the fight with a flurry of strikes to secure the victory.

Daniel Hooker used the ” McKenzietine” guillotine choke to submit the Brit Marc Diakiese in the third round after winning the first two rounds with his ground game. In what many anticipated to be a stand up war, the fight was quite the opposite and Hooker sinked in the choke after an attempted takedown by Diakiese.

Preliminary cards

We won’t be ringing in the new year celebrating the prelims this year as every fight on the FS1 portion of the card went to a decision.

Michal Oleksiejczuk got the biggest underdog win on the night upsetting Khalil Rountree Jr in a decision in which both fighters gassed early after Rountree held on the a guillotine which gassed the American when he failed to get the submission. The other decision victories went to Myles Jury looking impressive at featherweight against Rick Glenn and  Matheus Nicolau who knocked down Louis Smolka three times in the first round to win a one-sided decision.

Omari Ahkmedov and Marvin Vettori went to a majority draw in what seemed like the longest fight in history and finally Tim Elliot scored a submission victory over Mark  De La Rosa and dedicated the victory to the late great Robert Follis who sadly took his own life this month.

Overall UFC 219 wasn’t a great card but a masterclass by Khabib Nurmagomedov was worth every penny.

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Invicta 27 Officially Announced

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The all-women promotion, Invicta FC, returns to Kansas City, Missouri on January 13th, 2018 for Invicta 27. The promotion announced on their website, the promotions inaugural 2018 event will start the new year off with a fan-friendly main event, Sarah Kaufman (18-4 1 NC) vs. Pannie Kianzad (8-2).

Kaufman returns to Invicta FC after a three-year stint with the UFC. The Canadian athlete fought once prior, in the female-only promotion, defeating Leslie Smith via split decision. Both women earned Fight of the Night honors for their efforts. In her previous three bouts, Kaufman posted a record of 1-2. The former Strikeforce bantamweight champion lost her final two UFC bouts against Alexis Davis and Valentina Shevchenko. Her most recent bout was a victory over Jessica Rose-Clark, in the Battlefield FC promotion.

The veteran Kaufman made her debut in 2006, nearly six years before her opponent. Pannie Kianzad made her professional debut with the Estonian promotion MMA Raju, in 2012. Kianzad began her career undefeated in eight bouts. On the way, capturing the Cage Warriors bantamweight championship. The Iranian-Swede holds an identical record to Kaufman in her previous three bouts, 1-2. Currently, she finds herself on a two-loss skid.

In the co-main event, Vanessa Porto (19-8) faces Mariana Morais (12-5). The Brazilian, Morais, is coming off a disappointing title challenge in the flyweight division of the KSW promotion. Ariane Lipski submitted her in 58 seconds. Porto, however, is fresh off her Invicta 26, TKO victory over, Milana Dudieva.

Porto is an Invicta FC veteran, having fought in seven of the promotions twenty-six held events. Throughout her career, the veteran faced the best women the world had to offer. The thirty-three-year-old has fought the likes of Roxanne Modafferi (twice), Agnieszka Niedzwiedz, Barb Honchak, Tara LaRosa, Jennifer Maia (twice), Tonya Evinger, Germain De Randamie, Amanda Nunes, and Cris “Cyborg” Justino.

The first card of 2018 for Invicta holds a plethora of inexperienced women. Of the 17 women booked for the card, only four women hold ten or more professional fights on their record. Another four women will make their professional MMA debut: Loma Lookboonmee, Jade Ripley, Helen Peralta, and Akeela Al-Hameed. The Invicta 27, the card will feature nine bouts. The event will take place at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri on January 13th, 2018. The card will proceed as follows:

Pannie Kianzad (8-2) vs. Sarah Kaufman (18-4 1 NC) – Bantamweight Division

Vanessa Porto (19-8) vs. Mariana Morais (12-5) – Flyweight Division

Sharon Jacobson (4-2) vs. Ashely Nichols (3-1) – Strawweight Division

Ashley Cummings (5-4) vs. Stephanie Alba (3-2) – Atomweight Division

Brogan Walker-Sanchez (4-0) vs. TBA – Flyweight Division

Felicia Spencer (3-0) vs. Akeela Al-Hameed (0-0) – Featherweight Division

Mallory Martin (1-2) vs. Tiffany Masters (2-1) – Strawweight Division

Melissa Wang (1-0) vs. Loma Lookboonmee (0-0) – Atomweight Division

Jade Ripley (0-0) vs. Helen Peralta (0-0) – Strawweight Division

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