Early Prelims- UFC Fight Pass (3:30 EST, 12:30 PST, 8:30 GMT)
Heavyweight: Luiz Henrique vs. Francis Ngannou
Welterweight: Hayder Hassan vs. Vicente Luque
Welterweight: Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman
Preliminary Card- Fox Sports 1 (5 PM EST, 2 PM PST, 10 PM GMT)
Featherweight: Cole Miller vs. Jim Alers
Lightweight: Nik Lentz vs. Danny Castillo
Middleweight: Josh Samman vs. Tamdan McCrory
Middleweight: C.B. Dolloway vs. Nate Marquardt
Featherweight: Charles Oliveira vs. Myles Jury
Main Card- FOX (8 PM EST, 5 PM PST, 1 AM GMT)
Women’s Strawweight: Randa Markos vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
Lightweight: Michael Johnson vs. Nate Diaz
Heavyweight: Junior dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem
Lightweight: (c)Rafael dos Anjos vs. Donald Cerrone- for the UFC Lightweight Championship
The four main card fights are can’t miss. Here’s a preview for the four fights airing live and free on FOX:
Randa Markos vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
In a Women’s Strawweight battle, TUF 20 dark horse Randa Markos (5-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC)* and promotional newcomer Karolina Kowalkiewicz (7-0; 0-0) will start of the main card on FOX. This is just the second Strawweight fight to be on the main card of a FOX card.
Markos was a semi-finalist for season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter. She would get the upset of the season as she beat Tecia Torres by decision in the elimination round. She went on to beat Felice Herrig in the quarter final by inverted Armbar. Her loss would come to finalist Rose Namajunas by Kimura in the first round. After the show, she has a close Split-Decision, Fight of the Night loss to Jessica Penne and a decision win over Aisling Daly. Markos recently moved camps from Michigan Top Team to Tri-Star in Montreal in an effort to better her career and make strides towards being a champion.
Kowalkiewicz is widely considered a top 5 best Strawweight in the world. The former KSW standout signed with the UFC in the summer and almost immediately signed the fight with Markos. Kowalkiewicz has a TKO and 2 submission victories in her 7 career wins. The Polish standout has watched fellow countrywoman Joanna Jedrzejczyk surge through the division en route to being the champion.
Michael Johnson vs. Nate Diaz
Lightweights, Lightweight everywhere as Michael Johnson (16-9; 8-5) and Nate Diaz (17-10; 12-8) face off in a Lightweight battle.
Johnson has won four of his last five fights against stiff competition. He has wins over Joe Lauzon, Gleison Tibau, Melvin Guillard and Edson Barboza. His last fight was the co-main event of Fight Night 73 in Nashville. The fight looked to go his way the entire fight and he looked to be cruising to a decision win. After Bruce Buffer announced a Split-Decision win for his opponent Beneil Dariush, the entire crowd and Johnson couldn’t believe it. Johnson’s southpaw stance and effective striking is a strong advantage compared to Diaz.’The Menace’ will bring some impressive stats into the cage as he has 3.60 Significant Strikes Landed per Minute (SLpM)**, 63% Striking Defense and 81% Takedown Defense (TDD).
Diaz is a fan favorite every time he fights. We last saw the younger Diaz last December in a FOX card where he was leg kicked into another dimension by now Lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos. Diaz has career wins over some top names like Melvin Guillard, Donald Cerrone, Jim Miller and Gray Maynard. Contract disputes have kept Nate out for awhile and we have only seen him fight twice in the past 25 months. Diaz owns the record for most Significant Strikes landed in a fight with 238 when he beat Cerrone at UFC 141. That is the only time he has eclipsed the 100 Significant Strike mark in his career. Diaz will land more strikes than Johnson (3.90 SLpM), but will also take one to give one (3.06 Significant Strikes Absorbed per Minute (SApM)).
Junior dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem
The co-main event is a Heavyweight matchup almost four years in the making. Junior dos Santos (17-3; 11-2) and Alistair Overeem (39-14, 1 NC; 4-3) finally will fight. The bout was made once when dos Santos was the champion and after Overeem beat former Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar at UFC 141. Overeem tested positive for PED’s and was thus removed from the fight. They were again scheduled at UFC 160 in a non-title fight, but Overeem pulled out due to injury.
Dos Santos is the former Heavyweight champion. After seven straight wins, five by TKO/KO, the Brazilian was set for a title shot in the first ever FOX even in November 2011. In just 64 seconds, dos Santos was the new Heavyweight champion over Cain Velasquez. After the fight with Overeem was scrapped, Frank Mir stepped in for a chance at Heavyweight gold at UFC 146. Dos Santos would make easy work as just over 3 minutes of the second round he defended the belt. He would lose the title at UFC 155 and get another shot at UFC 165 where he would lose again. He last fought at UFC on Fox 13 where he headlined against fellow contender Stipe Miocic. The fight went five hard rounds and dos Santos came out the victor by Split-Decision. JDS is one of the best strikers in Heavyweight history as he is tops with 12 knockdowns, 708 Significant Strikes Landed and third in Total Strikes Landed (804).
Overeem has fought a who’s who in both the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight divisions. He has wins over Vitor Belfort, Igor Vovchanchyn, Gary Goodridge, Fabricio Werdum, Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir among many others. He made his UFC debut at UFC 141 as the headliner with Brock Lesnar. He would hit a body kick that dropped the former champ and earned Overeem a title shot. As stated above, he would test positive on a drug test and be suspended. It hasn’t looked good for ‘The Reem’ since then as he is 3-3 and has been finished in all three losses. In the UFC, Overeem comes in with 5.08 SLpM, 1.61 SApM and 74.5 Striking Accuracy.
(c)Rafael dos Anjos vs. Donald Cerrone
The main event is a title fight on FOX for the eigth time in 17 installments. Lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos (24-7; 13-5) and challenger Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone (28-6, 1 NC; 15-3) meet in a rematch for the Lightweight belt. The two previously fought at UFC Fight Night 27.
Dos Anjos won the belt back in March with a win over Anthony Pettis at UFC 185. Despite having a torn MCL, dos Anjos was able to be almost perfect en route to a dominant win over the champ. It was his ninth win in ten fights. In his title run, RDA earned wins over Cerrone, Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz among others. He is joined by champion Fabricio Werdum and former champion Lyoto Machida at Kings MMA in California. For a champion, his stats are pretty unimpressive with 2.96 SLpM and 2.36 SApM. Some impressive stuff is 69% Striking Defense, 2.65 Takedowns per 15 min. and 65% TDD.
Cerrone is a former WEC title challenger. He would lose three times in three tries for the WEC belt. Once in the UFC, ‘Cowboy’ rattled off four wins in eight months with a loss three months later. He is currently on an 8 fight win streak in 25 months with big wins over Edson Barboza, Jim Miller (headliner), Eddie Alvarez, Myles Jury and Benson Henderson. Cerrone will get his first chance at UFC gold after being in big fights for the past four years. Cerrone has impressed with 3.99 SLpM, 8 knockdowns (tied for most in division), 820 Significant Strikes Landed (second) and 1.7 Submission Attempts per 15 min.
*All records from Sherdog.com
**All stats from FightMetric.com
Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”
MMA Latest spoke to TUF 22 and 25 season competitor Tom Gallicchio about being cut from the UFC, and potential promotions that he could sign for in the future.
Gallicchio (19-10) signed for the UFC after reaching the semi-finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 25. Losing to James Krause in his debut, “Da Tank” was informed earlier this month that the UFC had parted ways with him.
Q: Before we jump into the whole free agency stuff, talk me through how the UFC broke the news that they were going to release you?
I thought I was going to have another fight, this time at lightweight. I got a letter dated July 7th, saying they were going to keep me, I received it in September. I was getting emails to update my USADA, I never got a cut letter and I got tested by USADA on October 24th. I was hoping to fight sometime in January or February, then they broke the news to me that they need to make a room for new talent.
Q: You made your UFC debut against James Krause in July, then 4 months down the line, they cut you. How surprised were you at this somewhat out of the blue decision?
I’m thankful for my opportunity in the UFC and the fact that they gave me another shot, but it was definitely surprising how it happened. They released a newsletter in September welcoming Jesse (Taylor) Dhiego (Lima) and myself into the UFC, all signs pointed towards another fight. Hearing that I was cut was just heartbreaking.
Q: Have any talks started with a new promotion. I saw you name a few on Twitter, the likes of Bellator, BAMMA, KSW and ACB. Who do you see yourself signing for?
I would love to compete in any of those! A couple of them hit me up, one of which I am very happy to talk with. Since they came out, It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW. They’re taking care of their fighters, I would love to fight for them. I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to fight. I’ve got a lot of fans overseas and I want to give them a show.
It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW.
— Tom Gallicchio (@TomGallicchio) November 15, 2017
Q: Your long time friend Jesse Taylor was victorious in the TUF 25 Finale, but he has since accepted a 1-year ban for failing a USADA test. What is your take on this given how close you two are?
I know Jesse is not a juicer, I’ve known him ever since I came down to (Team) Quest. It’s probably come from some supplement that he’s taking, it sucks for him. I think he went into a little bit of panic mode, he could have done a better job of handling it.
— Tom Gallicchio (@TomGallicchio) November 16, 2017
I don’t take supplements, if there was a way, I’d still keep myself in the USADA pool just because I believe in a clean sport. I think it’s important we keep the sport clean and if we’re cleaning up the supplement companies then good, because no one else is.
Where would you look to see Tom fight next? Let us know below!
2017 IMMAF World Championships: Finals fixtures
After 4 days of non stop action from Monday to Thursday we have our final 14 bouts to determine the 2017 IMMAF World Champions. Most of these fighters have fought four times for their slot in the final and tomorrow will be their chance to finish off what has been a fantastic week of fights.
Kicking off the action tomorrow will be Michele Oliveira vs. Danni Neilan. Both women have looked extremely impressive in their bouts so far, Oliveira has spent less time in the cage than her opponent after finishing two of her fights. Neilan is the Irish teams last chance of a gold in this competition and comes into this after a war of a last fight. She is constantly pressuring and has solid striking with incredible ground and pound from any position on top.
Joel Aronlainen came down to featherweight after testing the water at lightweight in the European Championships. His lanky build and impressive overall skill set has seen him pick up 3 finishes in the competition so far. His opponent Delyan Georgiev is undefeated and will be a tough challenge for him. Georgiev has dominated the featherweight division at amateur, his gold medal at the European Championships could now lead to him becoming a world champion if he continues to perform like we’re used to seeing him do.
At 155lbs, Vitali Andruhovich will take on top American prospect Quintin Thomas for the gold. Andruhovich has been on the right side of two very close split decisions in this tournament so far. His controversial win over Irishman Ciaran Clarke had many people scratching their heads at the decision. He now has the chance to prove himself with a win against Quintin Thomas. Thomas is the UMMAF National Champion and a very experienced amateur fighter. Racking up 13 wins he has been a dominant fighter in most of his fights, his sole losses coming from sustaining an injury and a split decision loss.
For the Middleweight medal we have a battle of the Nordic fighters. Iceland’s Bjorn Lukas Haraldsson has looked phenomenal in his fights so far, finishing each and everyone inside a round. The Mjolnir fighter has been to many the highlight of the tournament, but has a tough task a head of him in Laallam who’s had half the number of fights in this tournament and looked impressive in both.
Bahrain’s last hope for a medal lies in the hand of Light Heavyweight finisher Murtaza Talha Ali. Ali has finished all four of his bouts so far, 3 via TKO/KO and his last being by way of submission. Standing in his way of gold will be Pavel Pahomenko from Belarus who’s proven to be lethal with submissions once an opportunity arises scoring two submission wins inside the first round.
Here is the full fixture list for the finals tomorrow:
- Michele Oliveira vs. Danni Neilan 125 lbs
- Anna Astvik vs. Hannah Dawson 115 lbs
- Chamia Chabbi vs. Manon Fiorot 135 lbs
- C. McCrudden vs. Fabiana Giampà 145 lbs
- Gase Sanita vs. Kaycee Blake 155 lbs
- Yernaz Mussabek vs. Serdar Atlas 125 lbs
- Gamzat Magomedov vs. O. Moldagaliyev 135 lbs
- Joel Arolainen vs. Delyan Georgiev 145 lbs
- V. Andruhovich vs. Quitin Thomas 155 lbs
- Sola Axel vs. Benjamin Bennett 170 lbs
- B. Haraldsson vs. Khaled Laallam 185 lbs
- Pavel Pahomenko vs. Murtaza Talha Ali 205 lbs
- Irman Smajic vs. Lev Vins 265 lbs
- Atanas Krastanov vs. Marcin Kalata 300 lbs
Why It’s Time to Cherish Michael Bisping and Stop the Hate
Ever since the Ultimate Fighter 3, Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping has been one of the most hated fighters on the UFC roster. Since he was painted as the big bad Brit against the American hero Dan Henderson, Bisping has been the villain. He has played up to the reputation of being one of the biggest heels in the UFC, with his arrogance, trash talk and often disrespectful attitude.
But nothing has summed up Michael Bisping more than the events of this past week. After losing his Middleweight Championship to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 217, no one would blame Bisping for wanting a few months on the couch whilst sinking a few beers before retiring at UFC London in March.
After hearing that Anderson Silva had tested positive for a banned substance, it was announced that Bisping would fill in for Silva to face Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC Shanghai. A fight that nobody else would have wanted. A fight that he has less than three weeks to prepare for.
The fight does nothing for Bisping. Gastelum is a rising, rejuvenated contender and Bisping knows he can not take him lightly. But he’s also seven places below him in the rankings. Although, this doesn’t matter anymore as Bisping has announced this will be his second to last fight ever before hanging up his gloves.
Nothing sums Bisping up better than his comment on Gastelum’s Instagram post “See you in China. Loser buys the beers”.
He sounds relaxed. Perhaps he’s enjoying his last two fights and is at peace with his impending retirement.
In an era all about money, fighters like Bisping are rare and hard to come by. Fighters that only care about one thing, fighting.
Sure, his title reign wasn’t the best. But the UFC offered him the Henderson fight, to bring back some feeling of nostalgia that has been missing in the modern times of the UFC. And who in their right mind wouldn’t want to face one of the greatest ever in GSP.
It’s easy to forget amongst all the trash talk that Bisping has always played by the rules, and been anti PEDs during a time when a majority of the roster was using some form of performance enhancers. Fighting PED users has given Bisping most of his losses and has even led to him losing sight in one of his eyes.
Most of Bisping’s outrageous acts, have been him using a ‘pro wrestling’ act in order to hype up his fights and put bums in seats. That isn’t an excuse for some of his obnoxious behaviour. But when he’s not in the zone, it’s clear to see what a respectful and humble man he is. Like his moment after UFC 217, where he approached Cody Garbrandt to tell him how proud he was of him, or his post fight respect for Anderson Silva, where they both bowed on their knees to one another.
The truth is, Bisping is an incredible ambassador of the sport and one of the pioneers across the pond.
Bisping should be remembered and appreciated as the workhorse warrior who brought absolutely everything he had to the cage every time he fought. He always comes to fight, whether it’s three weeks notice or more. He’s simply tough as hell.
Believe you me Michael Bisping is a true old school legend of this sport and should be cherished whilst we still have him, cause we will miss him when he’s gone.
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