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The UFC Fight Night Review: #99 & #100

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The UFC put on nearly half a day’s worth of MMA this Saturday, and as expected, there were some great fights and some not so great fights sprinkled throughout.

With two separate Fight Night cards split over two continents, both events were catered to their native audiences and were headlined by rematches were there was little to no demand for a second run through. Over in Belfast, Gegard Mousasi found vengeance at the enigmatic Uriah Hall’s expense while the vastly underrated Ryan Bader dominated an aging veteran in front of Lil Nog’s countrymen. In all honesty, the main events were complete blow-outs, but in achieving their respective victories, both Mousasi and Bader used similar tactics to get the job done and took a page out of the Nurmagomedov playbook to do so.

Heading into both bouts, Mousasi and Bader were thought to hold the clear advantage when it came to wrestling and the pair ensured that the fights played into their favor. In the case of Mousasi and Hall, from the get-go Hall was clearly looking for lightning to strike twice and the fight to stay in his striking wheelhouse as he threatened spin attack after spin attack as his hips were constantly rotating towards his right-hand side. Hall had also seemingly made some adjustments to his stand-up game in a bid to remain more defensively sound for this fight as his hands were held a lot higher than usual but those amendments offered little respite once Mousasi moved in for the takedown.

Dragging Hall down to the mat with a body lock and an accompanying throw over his hip; there was a sense of the inevitable as Mousasi effortlessly pinned the Ultimate Fighter standout against the cage with wrist control being the key component for his success. Holding onto Hall’s left wrist and wedging it underneath his own body, Mousasi grapevined Hall’s legs for extra support and rained down punches under a helpless one handed guard until Marc Goddard was forced to intervene at the end of the first round.

Hours later, Ryan Bader would finish out the first round of his own fight in a similar manner as Bader would pin Nogueira’s arm identically against the cage. You couldn’t help but feel a sense of deja-vu as not only two fighters were using the same technique on their path to victory in the same day but that Khabib Nurmagomedov had dominated Michael Johnson in a similar style just a week earlier. Perhaps the Dagestani has set a new trend for fighters when looking for ground and pound opportunities but Ryan Bader was simply relentless in his quest to find different traps and holds on the mat in order to tee off punches.

When passing to mount, Bader managed to stuff Nogueira’s arm underneath his legs; when posturing up in half-guard he shoved Nogueira’s arm behind the Brazilian’s back – it was unquestionably pure domination on Bader’s behalf before he ultimately put Nogueira away in the third round.

The American is a criminally underrated fighter in the UFC but as his contract comes to a close, he should really be able to hold the UFC over a barrel when it comes to negotiations due to the condition that light heavyweight finds itself in.

In the co-main events, Thomas Almeida returned to winning ways with a TKO finish over Albert Morales while Stevie Ray put in one of his best performances to win a split-decision over veteran Ross Pearson.

The fight was most likely too much, too soon for his opponent. The young Brazilian bantamweight still found himself far too hittable at times. In the pocket, he had brilliant accuracy as his hooks would find their home behind the arms of Morales, but when Morales would return fire, he offered little defense of his own outside of his hands locked in a standard boxing guard. Hopefully, over time, Almeida’s striking will become more balanced outside of his clear penchant for aggression, but if his attentiveness to his corner’s instructions when defending a rear-naked choke are anything to go by, he’ll have no problems with developing as a mixed martial artist.

With Stevie Ray and Ross Pearson, the Scotsman completely nullified Pearson’s slick boxing in the early running as he flicked out a variety of kicks to keep the fight at his range. Using teeps, leg kicks and threatening with a head kick every once in a while, Pearson really struggled to get in on the inside and once he would start to concentrate on the impending kicks, Ray would leap in with a straight left down the pipe.

Pearson eventually grew into the fight with a clear concentration to work the body and some of his brilliant head movement was on display in order to set up his punches. Slipping shots from Ray, Pearson created whole new angles for himself to work with and dug in some gorgeous hooks to Ray’s sides leaving his midriff a pinkish hue once the 15 minutes had elapsed. The fight was eventually called a split decision with one judge completely reversing the others scores with a 30-27 in favor of Pearson and while controversial scorecards aren’t always a bad thing, being able to completely reverse your counterparts while there was a definitive  first round win for Ray is quite frankly embarrassing. Hopefully, the judge in question is just incompetent at filling in the scores in the correct columns and not at judging fights. With that being said, in the fight previous, Alexander Volkov can count himself fortunate for coming out on the winning side against Tim Johnson thanks to some more questionable judging.

Speaking of incompetence, Claudia Gadelha took it upon herself to make sure that ‘PRIDE never dies’ as she delivered a head kick to a downed opponent in the form of Cortney Casey. Gadelha had ensured she was comfortable ahead on the scorecards up to that point with her beautiful level changes into the double leg takedown but her momentary lapse of concentration wasn’t even received a warning from the referee. A point deduction wouldn’t have affected the outcome but to completely overlook such a blatant illegal strike was worrying.

Elsewhere, Kamaru Usman and Artem Lobov put in arguably the best performances of their careers as they bested Warlley Alves and Teruto Ishihara respectively. Usman had primarily been seen as a wrestler of the Jon Fitch mold up until Saturday night but he comfortably outworked the heavy handed Alves on the feet with some smart hooks and body strikes. Lobov also managed to get the better of his counterpart on the feet as he walked Ishihara down to the cage and landed an overhand right with frequent success and even landed a standing hammer fist, a strike that fellow SBG stablemate Aisling Daly has used in the past.

Perhaps the biggest buzzes coming from the night of fights, however, was that of Kyoji Horiguchi who bested Ali Bagautinov and Kevin Lee’s massive potential as Lee finished the impressive Magomed Mustafaev in Belfast. Not one to sit back and let his impressive technical submission do the talking, Lee took to the mic and put the whole lightweight division on blast with a special mention of audience member Conor McGregor to get some headlines. Horiguchi took the opposite approach though as he extended his winning streak to three on his quest to return to challenge Demetrious Johnson by landing some big strikes when Bagautinov would burst forward in a bid to increase the impact of his punches.

All in all, Saturday night held a lot of fun for the combat enthusiast and that’s all without mentioning Bellator’s brilliant main event and the technical bout between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev. Next up is a fight card from ‘down under’ as Robert Whittaker takes on Derek Brunson in a middleweight bout that’s bound to create fireworks so check back here in a weeks time but make sure to keep up with the latest MMA news, right here on MMALatestNews.com

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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Bellator

Bellator 185- How to Watch, Times and Fight Card

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Bellator is once again heading to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville Connecticut, and this time they are bringing with them one of the most anticipated former UFC fighter turned Bellator stars’ debut. Gegard Mousasi will be making his first appearance in the Bellator cage against a former Bellator champion in Alexander Shlemenko. Although this event has lost some of its star power over the last several weeks, it is still stacked and you can bet that the main event will bring some fireworks.

Earlier in the month, it was announced that King Mo had suffered an injury that had forced him out of his co-main event fight with former middleweight champion Liam McGeary. Bellator worked quickly to secure a replacement opponent for McGeary in Bubba McDaniels. Unfortunately for McDaniels and the fans alike, McGeary had later suffered an injury of his own and the fight was removed from the card.

This left a spot open in the co-main event slot, which would be filled by a welterweight matchup between Brennan Ward and David Rickels. Just four days out from the fight, Bellator announced that Ward had also become injured and the fight has been removed from the card as well. The main card has been shuffled around and the welterweight bout between Neiman Gracie and Zak Bucia will now serve as the co-main event.

Main Card- Spike TV (US/Canada) Spike UK (UK)- 9 pm EDT, 6 pm PDT, 2 pm UK

  • Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)
  • Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)
  • Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)
  • Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)
  • Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)

Preliminary Card- Live Stream (MMA Latest New)- 7 pm EDT, 4 pm PDT, 12 pm UK

  • 195 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)
  • Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)
  • Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)
  • Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)
  • 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)
  • 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)
  • Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez (6-4) vs. Billy Giovanella (9-5)
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EXCLUSIVE: Jack Shore talks Cage Warriors 87 Opponent Change, Pressure and Being Ready for A Big Opportunity

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Jack Shore, a promising up and coming Welsh Featherweight who will be fighting on his fourth main Cage Warriors card in only his sixth professional fight. Despite his opponent, Federico Mini, dropping out days prior to the event, Shore isn’t concerned ahead of the opponent change. “Just another fight, I’m ready for anything come fight night and I’m looking forward to the challenge”. Cage Warriors have confirmed that Shore will now be fighting Italian, Mattia Galbiati.

Shore last fought at the Newport Centre, Wales at Cage Warriors 83, defeating his opponent Konmon Deh convincingly with a first-round submission. The crowd was electric for both his entrance and when his opponent tapped due to armbar, “I have a massive following and they like to make themselves heard on fight night, it’s getting bigger and bigger every time!”

Whilst using his extensive grappling to win the fight, the Tillery Combat MMA Academy fighter was very aggressive with his strikes on the ground, “I believe my grappling style is very different to what people are used to seeing and that’s why it’s entertaining to watch. I’m always looking to advance and put the pressure on, but I also try to use punches and elbows to set up my transitions.”

Being undefeated throughout his amateur career (including winning the IMMAF European Championships), to then continue being undefeated throughout his early professional career, Shore has a mature mindset for such a young fighter to how the sport works, “Obviously no one wants to lose but you have to be aware that it’s a possibility because anything can happen in this sport. But by being aware it allows me to train and prepare correctly to do everything I can (do) to prevent that from happening.”

Whilst growing up, Shore states that he wasn’t the most confident of people, “As a kid growing up I was never the world’s most confident person.” Cage Warriors being on BT Sport within the UK, being the biggest European MMA promotion, and having the following Shore has, he feels no pressure of fighting, “But as far as MMA is concerned I don’t feel any pressure at all. There’s obviously the fight day nerves but anyone will tell you I deal with them very well and am more than comfortable in that environment.”

With the current revolution of MMA in Wales occurring, former Cage Warriors fighters Brett Johns, Jack Marshman and John Philips all in the UFC, Josh Reed who has just come off a title shot with Cage Warriors Bantamweight champion Nathaniel Wood, Lewis Long being the best Welterweight in the UK. It brings a realistic opportunity of making the UFC, “Definitely. Since the first bunch of Welsh guys have been signed to the UFC it’s shown for guys like me, Lewis Long and Josh Reed that what we are pushing for is no doubt achievable. I believe that if we keep doing what we are doing then that dream won’t be too far away.”

Whilst having such a successful start to his professional career, and with the attention, this young Welshman is bringing, Shore is in no rush for the Cage Warriors belt, but is prepared if the opportunity arises. “I’m just taking one fight at a time. I’m aware that I’m still young in terms of my pro career so I will continue to fight whoever Cage Warriors put in front of me. Should a big opportunity like that present itself I’ll make sure I’m ready.”

Shore seems to be mature for someone of the age of just 22, the future seems bright for the young Welshman. Jack Shore fights on the up and coming Cage Warriors 87 card Saturday, 14th October at the Newport Centre, Newport, Wales. The event will be free-to-air on UK sports channels FreeSports, as well as be on UFC FightPass and via the red button on BT Sport.

Check the main card out for Cage Warriors 87 below:

Lewis Long vs Roberto Soldic (Welterweight)
Craig White vs Matt Inman (Welterweight)
Jack Shore vs Mattia Galbiati (Featherweight)
Aiden Lee vs Ludovit Klein (Featherweight)
Aaron Khalid vs Ross Houston (Welterweight)

By Ieuan Thomas.

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