With the book now closed on UFC Tampa, it is time for MMA Latest to give out our post-fight bonuses, as voted on by our writers. Top to bottom last night’s card brought us some entertaining fights and finishes from John Dodson’s explosive return to Bantamweight to Michael Graves’ slick submission of Randy Brown via rear naked choke.
KO of the Night – Glover Teixeira
The knockout of the night goes to Glover Teixeira for his quick and brutal KO of ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans in the main event of the evening. Both men knew going into this fight that a win would put them firmly back in the title picture at 205lbs and with Rashad having shaken off his ring rust in his unanimous decision loss to Ryan Bader, many had expected an improved Rashad to show up in Tampa. Therefore, in the eyes of many this match-up had the potential to be a 5 round war and possibly the fight of the night. Glover, on the other hand, had a different idea; as it was he that took the centre of the octagon early, pressuring Rashad, who looked just as tentative as he was against Bader. There was a brief clinch, and Evans landed a short jab on the break. However, Glover continued to walk Rashad down, in a flurry of shots from both men Teixeira caught Evans with a right-left combination that wobbled ‘Suga’, forcing him to go for the clinch again. This was as brief as the first one and Rashad was forced to block a left high kick from Teixeira on the break after he himself had missed with a looping overhand right. From then onwards it was all Glover, he caught Rashad with a big left hand and followed up with a right uppercut to leave Evans out cold on the mat. Teixeira threw in a couple of shots on the ground for good measure before the referee stepped in and called a stop to proceedings with just 1:48 of the first round gone.
Honorable Mention: John Dodson for his 47 second knockout of Manny Gamburyan.
Sub of the Night – Michael Chiesa
Submission of the night goes to a guy that many people were impressed with last night, Michael Chiesa found himself with a very tough opponent in Beniel Dariush and he handled the task set before him more than admirably. After having found some early success with his boxing during the first few minutes, Chiesa found himself on his back to finish the round as Dariush took him down with just 10 seconds left in the opening stanza. But Chiesa replied with a very early takedown of his own in the second round, it was the opportunity the accomplished grappler had been waiting for as he very quickly took Dariush’s back and immediately looked to lock in the rear naked choke or face crank. Though Dariush defended the choke well, Chiesa locked his elbow across his opponents jaw and squeezed until the tough Dariush was forced to tap with 1.20 of the second round gone.
Fight of the Night – Rose Namajunas vs Tecia Torres
Two tough ladies took the fight of the night honours last night, in what was a highly anticipated rematch between two of the top prospects in the women’s 115lb division. Given that both of these women are known for their high-intensity styles this fight got off to a surprisingly slow start, with both taking a somewhat measured approach and seemingly respectful of the improvements one another have made since their first bout. Torres got the better of the striking exchanges during the first round as she looked to counter with volume, with a left hook and right uppercut she seemingly stunned Namajunas. However, Namajunas recovered well to score a takedown towards the end of the round, finishing on top landing punches on Torres. Round two saw the same give and take in the striking as the leg kicks mounted up for Torres, the stand out attack being an excellently executed front leg side kick. Meanwhile, Namajunas found great success working the body of Tecia, particularly with a nicely timed teep and a couple of elbows in reply to a flurry by Torres as the round closed. It really was anyone’s fight going into the third; this was mirrored by a return to the cautious approach of the first round. It was Namajunas who shook this off first however as she took the centre of the octagon and began to throw successful leg kicks of her own. Torres has her moments with some good dirty boxing as both women engaged in some hand fighting in the clinch. Then came what was possibly the decisive moment, Namajunas executed a timely trip to finish the final round in top position working her ground and pound as the bell sounded. It was a high quality back and forth affair in which neither women did any harm to their stock, however, it seems that the takedowns and forward pressure of Namajunas won her the fight as she avenged her previous loss to Torres with a tight, unanimous decision victory.
The UFC’s official post-fight bonuses were as follows:
- Fight of the Night
- Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Omari Akhmedov
- Performances of the Night
- Glover Teixeira
- Michael Chiesa
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UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event
Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.
Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.
He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.
In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.
UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from MMAFighting.com, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.
The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.
Rhode Island Prospect John Douma Booked for CES 49 against Zach Burhans
The New England regional MMA scene has been fairly quiet this month. Such a description won’t be apt one month from now. As the days fade away from the month of March, the two most prominent organizations of this region gear up for early April events. The CES MMA promotion holds CES 49, on the first Friday of April (April 6th). CES 49 takes place in its hub venue, Twin River Casino, in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
Yesterday, CES officials announced John Douma, a highly regarded pro featherweight prospect, makes his third appearance for the MMA promotion, when he faces Zach Burhans at CES 49.
For John Douma, he looks to continue his career with an undefeated record. At 2-0, Douma owns two stoppage victories, both coming in the first round (1 KO/TKO, 1 Sub). Born and raised in Wyckoff, Rhode Island, Douma is the New England regions 18th ranked pro Featherweight (Rankings by Tapology.com). A lofty ranking for a 21-year-old with only two professional fights on his record. Especially so in the regions most prominent professional division.
Zach Burhans comes into next months match with a similar amount of experience. Burhans has four professional fights in his arsenal of experience with a record of 3-1. Twice that of his opponent, but two times a small number is still a small number. The New York fighter makes his promotional debut at next months CES 49.
Surprisingly, Burhans has not fought since his last loss, which came in March of 2011. The loss was the first of his four fight pro career. It also was the first fight for Burhans since August of 2009. At CES 49, he ends his second hiatus from professional mixed martial arts. His second and most recent break from the sport was his longest. Burhans did not compete from March 2011, until next months CES MMA card. Making the span between his most recent and upcoming, around 6 years and nine months.
CES 49 takes place at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island on April 6th. Other bouts featured on the card include, #1 ranked New England Lightweight, Nate Andrews takes on Chris Padilla for the promotions vacant Lightweight title. Kaline Medeiros attempts to bounce back following her 3rd round submission loss to rising star, Mackenzie Dern at Invicta 26, when she faces 11th ranked pound-for-pound New England women’s fighter, Jenna Serio. Also, Chris Curtis goes up against Jason Norwood in a main card Welterweight clash.
Report: Bellator plans Rome event for July
With the news of Bellator 200, turning a bit stale being nearly a week old, comes more international event news for the promotion. According to a report by Raphael Marinho of Combate, Bellator scheduled its third international event of 2018. In the report, it states the promotion booked July 14th as a date for a Rome, Italy event.
It will be the first event held by Bellator in the historic city of Rome, Italy. The first in Rome, but the fifth Bellator event in Italy. Previously, the promotion made stops in Torino and Florence, Italy, holding two events in each location. It also marks the 23rd international held by Bellator. 23 events across 10 cities, and 5 countries.
The previous four Italian events held a mixture of combat sports. Each of the events had a Kickboxing card, serving as the main event and an MMA card, which acted as a main card. News of an accompanying Kickboxing card, most likely, would come following a formal announcement of the event.
Also included in the report, the promotion is working to make Alessio Sakara the headliner of evening. Sakara spent nine years with the UFC (Oct. 2005 – Oct. 2013). Over that span, he earned a record of 6-8. He was cut following four consecutive loses. Before signing with Bellator, Sakara signed with Final Fight Championship, where he went 1-0, 1 NC. His final fight with FFC (Final Fight Championship) was a 1:32 KO of his opponent.
The Italian athlete, Sakara, fought on three of the four previous Italy held Bellator events. Sakara headlined Bellator 190 & 168, while begin the co-main event for Bellator 152. Interestingly, the Middleweights only Bellator competition took place in his home country of Italy. He is 2-1 with the promotion, defeating Brian Rogers and Joey Beltran, respectively, while losing to Middleweight champion, Rafael Carvalho, most recently.
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