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Will Dad-to-be Conor McGregor create two-division logjam with big announcement

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Conor McGregor two belts

Conor McGregor put on a clinic to beat tough Philadelphian Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, snatching the lightweight strap and becoming the first simultaneous two-weight champion in the UFC’s history – but this wasn’t his only big news that night.

November 12th 2017 was a date for the history books, and the history makers. Propelling himself into contention as arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, Conor McGregor stole the inaugural New York City show by slicing through former lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez. Whilst his classic performance turned the heads of many, twisting the arm of even the most staunch McGregor critic, it’s his post-fight announcement that could change the taste of success to sour resentment.

The emphatic Irishman silenced the naysayers, well, until his next fight. But by dropping the anticipated news that his long-term partner Dee Devlin was expecting their first child in May 2017, the widespread adoration for the divisive character could soon become short-lived.

The guy understandably wants some time off. What he has done for the promotion is unquestionable. Having fought four times in the last 12 months, conquering two-divisions in the process, the now expectant Father wants to enjoy his hard work.

With a due date in May next year, it is absolutely feasible to not see McGregor in action for the entirety of 2017. Enjoying his time off and supporting Devlin through labor, witnessing the first six months of his newborn’s life, both very reasonable and acceptable life experiences that any human should savour. Although this is great news for the McGregor and Devlin family, it’s terrible news for the featherweight and lightweight contenders that are baying for blood, Irish blood.

Khabib Nurmagomedov put on his own dominant display at UFC 205, mauling Michael Johnson into submission in round three of their fight. Widely considered as the best lightweight on the planet today, “The Eagle” seems to be settling after a string of injuries, and it feels that his time is finally coming. You could argue that Tony Ferguson’s time has already arrived, donning a nine-fight winning streak and beating former champ Rafael Dos Anjos along the way, he is surely in line for a title shot.

But there’s an answer on the tip of the tongue to this potential lightweight logjam – the toy belt, the interim belt. There’s already one knocking about under McGregor’s rule. Next month will see 12 months passed since McGregor scalped the featherweight title from Jose Aldo at UFC 194. Whilst the promotion has done well to protect the Irishman from defending the 145-pound strap, creating the perfect promotional storm over the weekend just passed, it hasn’t helped its relationship with the rest of the division.

Due to McGregor’s wayward journey since toppling Aldo, the Brazilian had no choice but to settle for an interim title fight against Frankie Edgar at UFC 200, and although he won the fight in reassuring fashion, it’s not the real belt, is it. A quick look at a few synonyms for the word ‘interim’ tells us all that we need to know; provisional, temporary, stopgap and short-term. All words that a champion does not want to hear.

With an increasingly vocal Nurmagomedov taking aim at Dana White and the promotion at every opportunity, will he accept an interim title shot, probably not, but he may have no choice. Himself and Ferguson will be ready to scrap before the featherweight and lightweight champion has even become a Father, so then what, wait it out for McGregor to spell out his next move. Meanwhile, poor Aldo slips even further down pecking order.

The promotion cannot be blamed for capitalising on the most profitable moment in its entire history, but with every great celebration comes an almighty cleanup, and so it begins.

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UFC looks for undefeated fighters for the next season of TUF

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As the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter comes to a close in a few weeks, UFC has set tryouts for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter on December 12th but there is a catch, participates must hold an undefeated record.

Titled The Ultimate Fighter 27: Battle of the Undefeated, the next installment of TUF will be looking for male fighters with an undefeated record with a minimum of 3-0 to apply for the show. The casting call asks for featherweights and welterweights but in the early stages of tryouts, a weight class will be decided later in the process.

Fighters must be aged between 21 – 34 and will grapple and light spar in front of UFC matchmakers and must be prepared to stay in Vegas until December 16th.

It is unknown what the future of TUF will be after the TV deal with FOX ends next year but the show has been a success for the company and many fighters to emerge from The Ultimate Fighter have become champion including current interim Lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw and Strawweight champion Rose Namajunas coming from past seasons of the show.

This will be the third time in a row that a gimmick will be added to the show that has been on the decline in the ratings in recent years but yet to use only undefeated fighters. An undefeated streak can be one of the most prestigious records to keep in mixed martial arts with the wins and losses being so vital in a fighters career.

Who will keep their zero? Who will be the next Ultimate Fighter? Who will be the coaches?

These questions will be answered when the new season of TUF begins shooting in January and the show premiering later in the year.

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Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”

Harry Davies

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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.

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.

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!

 

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2017 IMMAF World Championships: Finals fixtures

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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
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