The state of Tennessee gets its fourth UFC event, the third time they’ve stopped into Nashville. The last event held there was held at the same arena as Jim Miller submitted Melvin Guillard in the main event. This time around, a Tennessee native and University of Tennessee alum Ovince Saint Preux will take on former title challenger Glover Teixeira in the main event. The 13 fight card sees every weight class except Featherweight, Welterweight and Strawweight.
Ray Borg vs. Geane Herrera
In the Flyweight division, a solid matchup between Ray Borg (8-1 MMA; 2-1 UFC)* and Geane Herrera (8-0; 0-0) start off your main card. Borg is a top 15 ranked Flyweight by the UFC and is a star in the making at just 22 years old. (At time of writing this, it’s Borg’s birthday so I would like to give out a Happy Birthday to him).
Borg is a 3 fight UFC veteran at the young age of 22. He started out at UFC on Fox 11 in April 2014 where he was thrown to the wolves for his first fight. He would make it close in a split-decision loss to Dustin Ortiz where some thought Borg took the nod. He was back at it just over two months later with his first promotional win with a Rear-Naked choke. He last fought UFC Fight Night 60 where he got another submission win with a Kimura. ‘The Tazmexican Devil’ is top notch grappler with 6 of his career wins by submission to go along with his 5.46 takedowns** per 15 min. and 4.0 Submission Attempts per 15 min.
Herrera is a promotional newcomer with some great credentials. Hailing from Tampa, FL, he has spent most of his professional time in that area. He comes in undefeated with 8 wins, 5 of which are by submission. He last fought in April in RFA where got his first KO/TKO win of his career with a first-round TKO. His grappling style should compliment the style of his opponent well.
Chris Camozzi vs. Tom Watson
A Middleweight fight between Chris Camozzi (21-10; 6-6) and Tom Watson (17-8; 2-4) comes your way as well. Both guys have seen better days in their careers and a win here could mean the difference between their job. This could almost be a loser goes home matchup.
Camozzi was re-signed by the UFC to fight Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza on short notice at UFC on Fox 15. He would lose the fight by first round Armbar. Before being cut, he was on a four-fight losing streak with the first of those coming to Souza. After being cut, he won the Prize FC Middleweight title and defended it once in the 9 months he was gone. He was on a four-fight UFC win streak from January 2012 to March 2013 before his string of losses. ‘Kamikaze’ comes into the contest with 3.88 Significant Strikes Landed per Minute (SLpM) and only 2.93 Significant Strikes Absorbed per Minute (SApM) to go along with his 58% Striking Defense. He is not an efficient grappler as he has not completed a single takedown in 15 attempts inside the Octagon.
Watson has done just enough in his 6 UFC fights to stay with the organization. His two UFC wins have come over Stanislov Nedkov and Sam Alvey. He lost his last fight to Rafael Natal at UFC 183 where he lost a decision. Watson hits his opponents (3.75 SLpM), but also gets hit a bunch as well (4.17 SApM). ‘Kong’ has also never gotten a takedown in the UFC.
Jared Rosholt vs. Timothy Johnson
In the only Heavyweight fight on the card, Jared Rosholt (12-2; 4-1) and Timothy Johnson (9-1; 1-0) get a main card slot. Both have seen recent success and could make waves in a wide open Heavyweight division. Both have a moderate amount of experience and another fight under their belt always helps.
Rosholt has won 4 of his 5 UFC fights. He started out with a decision win over Walt Harris at TUF 18 Finale. He would win his next two fights, both by decision, to take his record to 11-1 with three straight UFC wins. He would lose for the second time in his career to Oleksiy Oliynyk when he was KO’d in the first round. He would get back on the wagon with a TKO win over Josh Copeland at UFC 185. Rosholt barely gets hit as he comes in with 0.99 SApM, the least all-time with any fighter with 5 fights or more. His 2.45 SLpM is all he needs with his 63% Striking Defense. He also Takes down his opponents at a 1.71 per 15 min. clip. He has never been taken down in 6 attempts while in the UFC.
Johnson made his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 63 in April. It took him less than a round to get acclimated to the UFC when he got a TKO win with three seconds left in the round. Before joining the UFC, he was on a 7 fight win streak with all finishes (4 by submission and 3 by TKO). All of his fights have ended by stoppage and he has never seen the third round. He landed 22 Significant Strikes in his one fight with 37% accuracy.
Derek Brunson vs. Sam Alvey
Middleweight’s collide as Derek Brunson (13-3; 4-1) and our very own Sam Alvey (26-6, 1 NC; 3-1) go at it. ‘Smile ‘N’ is the co-host of the MMA Latest Pound-for-Pound podcast. Alvey, and fellow fighter on this card Ray Borg, were on last week’s show! Both guys are looking to make a push towards contention as they both will break the top 15 with a win.
Brunson was invited to join Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter. He was pulled from the show when it was acknowledged that he had yet to be let go from his Showtime contract. He would fight in the UFC anyway with a win over veteran Chris Leben in his debut. He has one UFC loss to date to Yoel Romero where he was TKO’d in the third round. Brunson doesn’t get hit often as shown by his 2.40 SApM which bodes well with his wrestling. He averages 3.97 takedowns per 15 min. and has never been taken down in his Strikeforce/UFC time in 6 tries.
Alvey is on a tear right now with three straight first round finishes. He has 17 career wins by TKO/KO. He would start out in his UFC debut with a loss to Tom Watson. It would only get better as he has finished Dylan Andrews, Cezar Ferreira and Dan Kelly in the next three fights. He is a brawler and his fights are usually very exciting to watch. He lands 4.62 SLpM with 51% Striking Accuracy. ‘Smile ‘N’ has only been taken down twice in 7 attempts against him.
Michael Johnson vs. Beneil Dariush
In the co-main event we a have a fantastic match up between Michael Johnson (16-8; 8-4) and Beneil Dariush (11-1; 5-1). The bout could help decide a future title challenger no matter who wins the fights. Both are on hot streaks right now and will use their momentum into the fight. Johnson is currently ranked 8th in our Lightweight rankings while Dariush is an honorable mention.
Johnson is on a four fight win streak currently and has climbed the rankings quickly. He hasn’t lost since April of 2013 when he was submitted by Reza Madadi. In those 4 wins, he has three dominant decisions over Joe Lauzon, Melvin Guillard and Edson Barboza to go along with a KO of Gleison Tibau. He was expected to face former champion Benson Henderson, but an undisclosed injury kept ‘Smooth’ from fighting. Johnson comes in with 3.38 SLpM and only 2.55 SApM to go along with a 63% Striking Defense. His wrestling pedigree has not translated to his MMA game as he only averages 0.66 take downs per 15 min.
Dariush has risen through the rankings quickly with impressive outings from the start. The Iranian born fighter has also won four straight wins in impressive fashion. He has two finishes and two decisions in those four fights as he submitted Tony Martin and Daron Cruickshank. His last fight was an impressive decision win over Jim Miller in which he beat the veteran at his own game. His striking has come around as he know lands more strikes (2.48 SLpM) than he gets hit (2.33 SApM). His grappling has always been his strong suit with 2.29 take downs per 15 min. and 1.4 Submission Attempts per 15 min.
Glover Teixeira vs. Ovince Saint Preux
The main event is a Light Heavyweight bout between two contenders in Glover Teixeira (22-4; 5-2) and Ovince St. Preux (18-6; 6-1). Teixeira is a former title challenger to the former champion Jon Jones while Saint Preux has won 6 of his 7 fights in the Octagon. Between the two, their last six fights have been a main/co-main event.
Teixieira has lost his last two fights to tough competition. He won his first five fights in the UFC with four finishes. He was awarded with a title shot at then champ Jon Jones with that. He would be dominated for five rounds and lose the decision. His next fight came against another contender in Phil Davis where he didn’t look the same as before. He has taken some time off to recoup from injuries and is back in the Octagon for the first time since October 2014. He has good striking with 4.15 SLpM and 58% Striking Defense. His grappling has always been above average with 6 of his career wins coming by way of submission. He averages 2.32 take downs per 15 min. and 50% take down Accuracy. He is currently ranked #8 in our Light Heavyweight rankings.
Saint Preux is fighting in his home state for the for the first time in the UFC. A former college football player, Saint Preux was a Strikeforce contender before joining the ranks of the UFC’s elite. Since joining, he has only lost to fellow contender in Ryan Bader in a headlining bout. His 6 wins have all come by stoppage with 4 by TKO/KO. He has wins over Shogun Rua, Ryan Jimmo and Patrick Cummins while in the UFC. His SApM is only 2.73 with a Striking Accuracy of 50%. His take down Accuracy is at 60% to go along with his 1.70 take downs per 15 min. He is ranked #9 in our Light Heavyweight rankings.
*All records from Sherdog.com
**All stats from FightMetric.com
Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223
UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to MMANYTT.com, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.
Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.
After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.
A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to MMAJunkie.com in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.
Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.
Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.
A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.
Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet
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.”
Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April
MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.
The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.
Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.
An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.
His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).
Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.
PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.
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