At this Thursday’s media event, the UFC announced plans to broadcast both EBI (The Eddie Bravo Invitational) grappling events and the Glory SuperFight Series on UFC Fight Pass. The events with be live streamed via the UFC’s streaming service with Glory to be shown this February 26th with EBI to follow shortly on April 24th. Both EBI and Glory SuperFight Series now join a growing roster of featured promotions which already include Invicta FC, Victory FC, Titan FC, Shooto Brazil, Pancrase, EFN, and BRACE MMA.
UFC Senior Vice President and UFC Fight Pass General Manager, Eric Winter, made the announcement, “We are proud to announce our new partnerships with the GLORY kickboxing and EBI Brazilian jiu-jitsu organizations. This is a huge development for FIGHT PASS. We haven’t just added some kickboxing and some BJJ to FIGHT PASS – we partnered with leaders in both sports. GLORY has established itself as the pinnacle of world kickboxing while EBI leads the way in exciting, fast-paced submission grappling. Both of these organizations are tremendous additions to FIGHT PASS.”
The announcement is good news for Glory, who recently saw their Spike broadcast deal crumble apart after their original contract with Spike expired in October. With both Glory and Spike unable to reach a new contract many people wondered where they were going to get their next kickboxing fix.
The first Glory event to go live will be the Glory SuperFight Series Chicago on Friday, February 26th just before the main Glory 27 card begins. Headlining the SuperFight Series card will be a middleweight contender match-up featuring fan favorite, Joe Schilling (20-6) taking on fellow Californian Mike Lemaire (14-2).
Four other ‘SuperFight Series’ match-ups will also support the live stream card cutting off just before the Glory 27 Middleweight tournament and the planned headlining rematch between Artem Levin and Simon Marcus. Future broadcasts will follow suit with the first half of the Glory card being broadcast via Fight Pass as the ‘Glory SuperFight Series’ with the final portion of the card being shown through their previous agreement with ESPN.
However, the best part about the deal between the UFC and Glory is the gained access to Glory’s kickboxing library. This massive volume of content not only contains the past 27 Glory events, but several cards from the It’s Showtime library, and most amazingly over 100 events from the legendary K-1 organization. The K-1 library contains such legendary bouts as Mark Hunt vs Jérôme Le Banner, Andy Hug vs Ray Sefo, and the apocalyptically legendary K-1 World Grand Prix 2010 Final.
For us grappling fans, the inclusion of the Eddie Bravo Invitational into the Fight Pass offering was a surprising and pleasant surprise. Eddie Bravo is no stranger to the UFC, having worked for several years as their behind the scenes fight analyst before leaving the organization to focus on the growth of his 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu schools.
Within the past several years, many premium grappling events have emerged in an attempt to set the bar for what professional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and submission grappling should be. Early on, Ralek Gracie’s Metamoris grappling promotion set the production standard for what high-level professional grappling event should look like.
As an antithesis to that tone, the Eddie Bravo Invitational was created as a less formal and more inclusive event which attempted to make grappling more entertaining with it’s unique no-scoring, submission only, submission based tie breaker rules. In the wake of various PR flubs on the part of Metamoris, the Eddie Bravo Invitational has slowly risen in stature despite it’s more laid back and casual tone (can you say, ‘Jeff Glover in Wolverine spats’?). This arrangement with the UFC will only raise EBI’s profile against Metamoris. Additionally, this arrangement could help EBI to secure more UFC fighter’s into its events as the UFC has become more lenient in allowing it’s athletes to be featured in grappling super fights.
At an annual subscription of only $7.99 a month, UFC Fight Pass is getting harder and harder to pass up. The service can be accessed via personal computer, popular gaming consoles, Amazon Fire TV, iPhone, Apple TV, Android, Chromecast, Samsung Smart TV, and Roku devices.
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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