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UFC Fight Night: McDonald vs. Lineker Preview

Vinny Craig

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After the biggest weekend in UFC history, and a sale of the company being announced, UFC Fight Night 91 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota turns into a bigger event than ever. The UFC’s first stop in South Dakota sees plenty of big name talent on the card, including a Bantamweight main event between Michael ‘Mayday’ McDonald and John Lineker. The event will end a seven-day stretch with four events, a total of 46 fights in just one week.

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

  • Bantamweight- Michael McDonald vs. John Lineker
  • Lightweight- Tony Ferguson vs. Landon Vannata
  • Middleweight- Tim Boetsch vs. Josh Samman
  • Heavyweight- Daniel Omielanczuk vs. Oleksiy Oliynik
  • Welterweight- Kyle Noke vs. Keita Nakamura
  • Flyweight- Louis Smolka vs. Ben Nguyen

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

  • Women’s Bantamweight- Lauren Murphy vs. Katlyn Chookagian
  • Middleweight- Eric Spicely vs. Sam Alvey
  • Strawweight- Cortney Casey vs. Cristina Stanciu
  • Lightweight- Scott Holtzman vs. Cody Pfister

Early Preliminary Card- UFC Fight Pass (5:30 PM EDT, 2:30 PDT, 10:30 BST)

  • Bantamweight- Rani Yahya vs. Matthew Lopez
  • Middleweight- Devin Clark vs. Alex Nicholson

Louis Smolka vs. Ben Nguyen

This Flyweight bout between Louis Smolka (10-1 MMA; 4-1 UFC) and Ben Nguyen (16-5; 2-0 UFC) promises to be a must-watch fight. Nguyen was expected to face Justin Scoggins at UFC Fight Night 85 in March, but Scoggins had to pull out and Nguyen was rescheduled for this bout.

Smolka is currently on a three-fight win streak with finishes of Richie Vaculik and, in his last fight, of Paddy Holohan. The Hawaiian has one UFC loss to former title challenger Chris Cariaso at UFC Fight Night 40, where he took Cariaso to a split decision. He last fought in the main event of UFC Fight Night 76 in Dublin, Ireland where he finished Irish native Paddy Holohan by Rear-Naked choke in the second round. His aggressive style is shown in his stats as he steps in with 4.39 Significant Strikes Landed per Minute (SLpM) and 1.9 Submission Attempts per 15 min.

Nguyen was born in Sioux Falls, the only fighter on the card who can say that. He made it to the UFC off a KO win over Julian Wallace after a weigh-in video that went viral, due to the overconfidence of his opponent. Nguyen made his debut in Adelaide at UFC Fight Night 60 with a KO win over Alp Ozkillic. His sophomore fight also came in Australia at the famed UFC 193 event where Dana White also let his wife be an Octagon girl. He only needed one round to finish Ryan Benoit by Rear-Naked choke. Nguyen has landed a total of 38 Significant Strikes and attempted two submissions in the Octagon.

Daniel Omielanczuk vs. Oleksiy Oliynik

A Heavyweight battle of difficult to pronounce names lands on the main card as Daniel Omielanczuk (18-5-1, 1 NC; 3-2 UFC) and Oleksiy Oliynik (50-9-1; 2-0 UFC) fight in a not-quite top 15 battle.

Omielanczuk is a Polish fighter where he spent the first three years of his career. He debuted the UFC at UFC 166 with a third round KO win over Nandor Guelmino. He hit a rough patch with two consecutive losses to Jared Rosholt and Anthony Hamilton, both by decision. However, he bounced back to win his last two fights with a TKO win over Chris De La Rocha and a Technical Decision over Jarjis Danho. He is one of the most accurate strikers in the division with 65% Striking Accuracy to go along with his 3.36 SLpM.

Oliynik hasn’t fought since November 2014 at UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs. Swanson. He currently sits on a 11 fight win streak overall, all by finish, with the last two coming in the UFC. The fight right before his UFC debut was a scarf-hold headlock submission win over Mirko Cro Cop. His UFC debut came by the same submission, the first of its kind in the UFC as he beat Anthony Hamilton in the first round. His last fight in Austin, Texas was another first round finish as he KO’d Jared Rosholt.

Michael McDonald vs. John Lineker

The main event takes place in the bantamweight division as former title challenger Michael McDonald (17-3; 6-2 UFC) takes on heavy hitter John Lineker (27-7; 8-2 UFC). The original main event was expected to be a lightweight bout with title implications between Tony Ferguson and Michael Chiesa. Chiesa had to pull out of the bout and was replaced by newcomer Landon Vannata. The bout was then switched to the co-main event and McDonald vs. Lineker was installed as the main event.

McDonald made his return to fighting in January after over two years off, beating Masanori Kanehara by Rear-Naked choke in the second round. McDonald started his UFC career with with wins over Edwin Figueroa (decision), Chris Cariaso (decision), Alex Soto (KO), and Miguel Torres (KO). Those wins earned him an interim title shot against Renan Barao, where he lost for the first time in the UFC by fourth round Arm-Triangle choke. He returned to beat Brad Pickett by Triangle choke in his next fight to earn Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night honors. ‘Mayday’ is tied for the most Knockdowns in the division’s history with 5 alongside former champion TJ Dillashaw and Francisco Rivera.

Lineker made the move to 135 last year at UFC 191. After going 6-2 in the Flyweight division, and missing weight on four occasions, ‘Hands of Stone’ made the step up in weight. He made an immediate impact as he fought Francisco Rivera in a Fight of the Night that lasted just over two minutes with 44 strikes being thrown in that short time. Lineker won the fight by Guillotine choke after the punches flew and the fight went to the ground. He last fought at the big Brazil card of UFC 198 against Rob Font. He beat Font by decision, out landing his opponent 80 to 40 in Significant Strikes. Lineker owns the most Knockdowns in Flyweight history with 7 while at 125 and comes in tenth on the active roster with 5.57 SLpM in the UFC.

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Fight Announcements

Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou Official for UFC 220

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UFC 220 in Boston, Massachusetts has its main event. Stipe Miocic (17-2) will put his belt on the line for the third time against rising heavyweight star, Francis Ngannou (11-1)

Rumors surrounded the match-up for UFC 220 after Ngannou’s first round knockout over Alistair Overeem, at UFC 218. The Cameroonian heavyweight called for the fight himself. In his octagon interview proceeding his most recent victory, Ngannou stated:

“I’m feeling good… I’m on my way to a title shot”.

The heavy handed Ngannou has finished all of his opponents in all of his six UFC bouts. A streak which includes a kimura submission over Anthony Hamilton and a TKO victory against former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski. Overall, he holds a ten fight win streak. His only defeat came by way of unanimous decision to Zoumana Cisse, in his second professional MMA fight.

If victorious, Ngannou would become the first African-born champion in UFC history.

Not to be diminished, Stipe Miocic rides his a streak of his own into the beantown match-up. Five consecutive wins, five knockouts and the past four of which, ended in the first round. A victory in Boston for the champ would make him the longest reigning heavyweight champion in UFC history. Currently, Miocic is one of three heavyweights, in the promotions entirety, whom has successfully defended the belt twice.

UFC 220 will be held at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on January 20th, 2018. The pay-per-view (PPV) card will also feature light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, as he faces challenger Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir.

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Events

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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Invicta

Mackenzie Dern victorious in Invicta debut 

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Late Friday night, Mackenzie Dern (5-0, 1-0 Invicta FC) won her co-main event booking, defeating Kaline Medieros (8-6, 2-2 Invicta FC), at Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzwiedz, via submission (armbar) with only fifteen seconds remaining in the fight.

Much of the fight was controlled by Dern. The heralded prospect displayed her power, visibly damaging her opponent with multiple overhand rights. Striking is an under-developed aspect of her attack, only when compared to the twenty-four-year-olds black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Above all, she showed a progression of her striking skills. Dern looked to be bigger and physically stronger than her veteran opponent. She utilized forward pressure and found the proper timing for her overhand right throughout.

The veteran Medeiros showed her toughness throughout the fight. She defended and scrambled out of some bad positions during the grappling exchanges. Ultimately, she tapped when caught in a deeply planted armbar.  While Medeiros did earn a few hard trip takedowns, it factored minimally in the result as she refused to follow Dern to the mat. The Boston native suffered her second straight loss, Friday night. Her first was to, former Invicta strawweight champion, Angela Hill.

Dern made her professional debut in July of 2016 with Legacy Fighting Alliance (previously: Legacy Fighting Championship). In her debut, she defeated Kenia Rosas by unanimous decision. The Phoenix-born fighter won her next three bouts. Before her MMA career began, Dern won the ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club) championship at 60 kg. She was the first American born female to become champion at the weight. Her grappling resume boasts many more incredible accomplishments. Justifiably, a growing spotlight now hangs over her, her skills, and potential in the sport of MMA.

Elsewhere on the Invicta 26 card, Jennifer Maia defeated Agnieszka Niedzweidz by unanimous decision. Maia retained her Invicta flyweight belt, defending it for the second time. Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzweidz, took place at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri.

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