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WSOF 18: Moraes vs. Hill Preview and Picks

Griffin Tobey

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On February 12th, the World Series of Fighting comes to Canada in a Canadian dominated card. The event will be held at the Edmonton Expo Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It is highlighted by a Bantamweight title fight between Marlon Moraes and undefeated TUF veteran Josh Hill. It will be a very interesting card, shown on NBCSN. This is the WSOF 18 preview and picks. 

Preliminary Card
WELTERWEIGHT
Andrew McInnes (5-1, Edmonton, Alberta) vs. Cody McKenzie (15-6, Spokane, WA)
The night begins with a welterweight matchup. Mcinnes is on a 5 fight win streak since he lost his professional debut in 2011. He has never gone to a decision and has only gone to the second round once. He holds the rank of a black belt in BJJ and all 5 of his wins have come by submission. McKenzie fought on The Ultimate Fighter season 12 and began his career with 12 straight wins. He advanced to the quarterfinals in the TUF house and had a 7 fight UFC career afterwards. He retired from fighting on December 18th of 2014 and is back now. This should be a grapplers dream fight.
Pick: McInnes via Submission

WELTERWEIGHT
Spencer Jebb (9-3, Grande Prairie, Alberta) vs. Mark Drummond (6-2, Edmonton, Alberta)
The second fight on the card is between two people who are on very hot streaks. Jebb is on a 7 fight win streak since going 2-3 in his first 5 fights. Drummond lost his professional debut and since has went 6-1. Jebb is a very good standup fighter and if given the chance can absolutely dominate his opponent and dictate the pace of the fight. Drummond is a very good standup fighter and has wins by Knockout, TKO, Submission, and Decision throughout his career.
Pick: Jebb via TKO

LIGHTWEIGHT
Dan Lariviere (3-2, Gatineau, Quebec) vs. Garrett Nybaken (6-6, Edmonton, Alberta)
The next bout of the night is a lightweight tussle between two men who have had very up and down careers. Lariviere is coming off a loss and is looking to get back in the win column. He is a very good ground fighter, two of his three wins have come from submission and he has never been submitted. He is facing a man who has submitted an opponent 4 times, as well as being submitted 4 times. Nybaken has had a very up and down career, he won his last fight and has only won back to back bouts once.

Pick: Nybaken via Decision

MIDDLEWEIGHT
Ali Mokdad (6-3, Windsor, Ontario) vs. Matt Baker (11-7, Kamloops, BC)
This is a fight with two very exciting middleweights. Mokdad started his career with a 5 fight winning streak, but is 1-3 in his last 4 fights. He has, however, never been finished before and is a solid ground fighter, holding 4 submission victories. He is facing one of the most exciting fighters in MMA. Matt Baker holds 6, 23, 24, 62, and 81 second finishes under his belt. He is a very well rounded fighter and although he is exciting, has had an up and down career. If Baker is able to keep the fight standing he is en route to another quick finish but if it goes to the ground Mokdad should be able to submit him, it will be a very interesting fight.
Pick: Baker via TKO

Marcus Hicks (19-24, Edmonton, Alberta) vs. Graham Park (3-1, Edmonton, Alberta)
Journeyman Marcus Hicks has competed in 23 different organizations throughout his 43 fight career. However in 43 fights he has only gone to a decision once. He was looking to break out onto the big stage of MMA when he had a 4 fight win streak last year, but was submitted in his last bout. The incredibly experienced Hicks will be facing off against the newcomer Graham Park. Park has 39 less fights than Hicks. He has never gone to a decision and is on a three fight win streak since losing to Drummond in his professional debut. Experience should win over athleticism here, as Hicks will take Park down and win this fight by submission.
Pick: Hicks via Submission

MAIN CARD
FEATHERWEIGHT
Hakeem Dawodu (3-0, Calgary, Alberta) vs. Tristan Johnson (9-5, Jordantown, Nova Scotia)
The main card kicks off with a bout between two very exciting featherweights. This will be the first fight on the televised card and should be a very exciting insight into the very fun featherweight division. Hakeem Dawodu has not spent a lot of time in the cage. In fact, he has spent only 10 minutes and 38 seconds total in the cage, finishing all 3 of his opponents. He is a very talented kickboxer and has two knockouts on his record. He is facing Tristan Johnson, who, after winning his first 6 professional fights, has gone 3-5 including going 1-2 in his last three fights. He did win his last fight, however, and will be looking to begin another winning streak.
Pick: Dawodu via TKO

LIGHTWEIGHT
Mukai Maromo (8-4, Harare, Zimbabwe) vs. Jose Rodriguez (7-3, Saskatoon, Saskathchewan)
“The Afrikan Assassin” Mukai Maromo returns to the cage for the first time in a year and a half against Jose Rodriguez. Maromo is coming off of two losses and is looking to get back in the win column. The first time he lost two in a row in his career he followed it with 5 straight wins and is hoping to get some of the same magic back. He is fighting Jose Rodriguez, who is fighting in his home country. Rodriguez, a very solid all around fighter, is coming off of a loss and has never lost two straight before. It should be a very good fight.
Pick: Maromo by Decision

CO-MAIN EVENT
WELTERWEIGHT
Shane Campbell (10-2, Kelowna, BC) vs. Derek Boyle (13-6, Lethbridge, Alberta)
The co-main event of the evening features two very exciting welterweights looking to shake up the division. Campbell is one of the most popular warriors in the division. He is a very talented and well rounded martial artist and is looking to extend his winning streak to three fights against Boyle. Boyle is a very good stand up fighter who knows how to win fights. He is on a three fight win streak and is looking to make a statement against Campbell. This will surely be a very exciting co-main event.
Pick: Campbell via Decision

MAIN EVENT
BANTAMWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT
Marlon Moraes (13-4, Palm Beach Gardens, FL) vs. Josh Hill (10-0, Hamilton, Ontario)
And now for your main event of the evening is a Bantamweight title fight. The challenger Josh “The Gentleman” Hill facing off against the Champion Marlon Moraes. Moraes, the Brazilian, has not lost in nearly 3 years and holds the fastest knockout in WSOF history when he beat Carson Beebe at WSOF 6. This guy has been a part of the World Series of Fighting since WSOF 1 and is one of the best bantamweights in the world. He is facing off against Josh Hill, who participated in TUF 18. Hill has never lost a professional fight and is looking to continue that streak against Moraes. This should make for an incredibly interesting Main Event to cap off an incredibly interesting card.
Pick: Moraes via Decision

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Bellator

Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet

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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.”

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UFC 219: Cyborg vs Holm recap

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In yearly tradition , the UFC hosted a pay per view fight card at the T-Mobile Arena  in Las Vegas once again and for the second year in a row, the card was headlined by two females fighting for the title of the baddest woman on earth. Cristine Cyborg Santos was looking to defend her featherweight title for the first time since capturing the title last summer in a tko victory over Tonya Evinger.  Her opponent would be Holly Holm, the woman who shot into stardom after knocking out Ronda Rousey to become the bantamweight champion in 2015 and was fighting for the featherweight title for the second time after being unsuccessful in a controversial loss to Germaine De Radamie in Brooklyn.

In the co main event, The UFC welcomed one of the most feared lightweights and beloved contender Khabib Nurmagomedov who returned to the cage after a year layoff after failing to make weight earlier this year in a title eliminator with Tony Ferguson . Welcoming Nurmagomedov to the cage was exciting Brazilian striker Edson Barboza who was on a 3 fight win streak after losing to interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson in 2015. The winner would guarantee a title shot for themselves against either Tony Ferguson or the winner of the title unification fight between Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson if it happens.

The rest of the card had other stories that intrigued the fans with the return of former UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit taking on Neil Magny, Cynthia Carvillo looking to go 5-0 in 2017 with a win over Carla Esparza and an exciting lightweight fight between Marc Diakiese and Daniel Hooker.

 

The Main Event

UFC Women’s Featherweight championship

Christine ” Cyborg” Santos vs Holly ” The Preachers Daughter” Holm

When the UFC announced it’s intentions to start a featherweight division for females in the UFC, a fight between Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm was the most logical fight to start the division. It took almost a year to come into fruition but on Saturday night, we finally had the answer of who would be the most feared female fighter in the world.

The fight started off with Holm tripping Cyborg after a kick and started the clinch game for Holly , who overpowered Cyborg against the cage. A move that would slow down Cyborg’s attacks in the later rounds but this was not the case tonight. Cyborg, who was known as a devastating berserker like striker in her earlier has become a more patient striker under the guidance of Jason Parillo. Cyborg caught Holly with a variation of counter strikes throughout the fight which swelled Holm’s left eye. Holm had her moments in the fight and gave Cyborg her toughest fight to date.

As we moved into the later rounds, the counter strikes were landing more often for Cyborg and started to dictate to fight. The final bell rang and although many scores were thrown around on twitter all in favor for Cyborg. Cris Cyborg won a unanimous decision with one judge scoring the fight 49-46 which had Cyborg winning four rounds and the other two judges scoring the fight a lot closer 48-47.

What’s next for Cyborg? She asked for Meagan Anderson in Australia , the last Invicta featherweight champion who has yet to make her debut for UFC after signing last summer. With the card in 6 weeks, its unlikely she will get her wish but Cyborg vs Anderson should be next in the shallow and confusing 145 division for females.

 

The Co-main event

Khabib ” The Eagle ” Nurmagomedov vs Edson Barboza

A fight that in many people’s eyes was the true main event with fan favorite Khabib Nurmagomedov putting his unbeaten 24 fight win streak on the line against fellow top contender Edson Barboza.

What can you say about Nurmagomedov that hasn’t been said already. He was nothing short of perfection.

Implementing his game early, Nurmagomedov took the fight to the ground early in round 1 after failing on the first attempted takedown on Barboza. Once the takedown was secured, the Russian posture to his feet and landed devastating ground and pound on Barboza. It took a minute to see Barboza would be in for a rough night as by the sound of the bell ending for the first round, Barboza was bloodied up and looked defeated.

The second round was even more devastating when Khabib had Barboza on the ground for the entire round. The commentators in awe of Khabib’s abilities began to sound concerned that Barboza took too much damage as no matter who much punishment Nurmagomedov would deliver to Barboza, Barboza continued to be in the fight and looked for the knockout whenever the fight would go back to standing which ultimately ended in the brazilian being taken down again.

Barboza had a chance to end the fight in the third when he landed a head kick on Nurmagomedov who showed a granite chin and walked through the shot like T-1000.

The fight went to the judges and the judges scored the fight in favor of Khabib Nurmagomedov ( 30- 25, 30-25,30-4) which just highlights the one-sided victory for the Russian who moves to 25-0 and will likely take on Tony Ferguson next year.

The rest of the card

Although not the most exciting run of fights in the lead up to the main and co main. The main card hosted the return of Carlos Condit who after returning to the cage following a 16 month hiatus only to suffer a decision loss to an impressive Neil Magny who used his wrestling to take down the former champ on numerous occasions.

Speaking of former champs, former strawweight champion Carla Esparza scored a big win beating undefeated Cynthia Carvillo, who impressed in round 1 before Esparza turned the tides and finished the fight with a flurry of strikes to secure the victory.

Daniel Hooker used the ” McKenzietine” guillotine choke to submit the Brit Marc Diakiese in the third round after winning the first two rounds with his ground game. In what many anticipated to be a stand up war, the fight was quite the opposite and Hooker sinked in the choke after an attempted takedown by Diakiese.

Preliminary cards

We won’t be ringing in the new year celebrating the prelims this year as every fight on the FS1 portion of the card went to a decision.

Michal Oleksiejczuk got the biggest underdog win on the night upsetting Khalil Rountree Jr in a decision in which both fighters gassed early after Rountree held on the a guillotine which gassed the American when he failed to get the submission. The other decision victories went to Myles Jury looking impressive at featherweight against Rick Glenn and  Matheus Nicolau who knocked down Louis Smolka three times in the first round to win a one-sided decision.

Omari Ahkmedov and Marvin Vettori went to a majority draw in what seemed like the longest fight in history and finally Tim Elliot scored a submission victory over Mark  De La Rosa and dedicated the victory to the late great Robert Follis who sadly took his own life this month.

Overall UFC 219 wasn’t a great card but a masterclass by Khabib Nurmagomedov was worth every penny.

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Events

Invicta 27 Officially Announced

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The all-women promotion, Invicta FC, returns to Kansas City, Missouri on January 13th, 2018 for Invicta 27. The promotion announced on their website, the promotions inaugural 2018 event will start the new year off with a fan-friendly main event, Sarah Kaufman (18-4 1 NC) vs. Pannie Kianzad (8-2).

Kaufman returns to Invicta FC after a three-year stint with the UFC. The Canadian athlete fought once prior, in the female-only promotion, defeating Leslie Smith via split decision. Both women earned Fight of the Night honors for their efforts. In her previous three bouts, Kaufman posted a record of 1-2. The former Strikeforce bantamweight champion lost her final two UFC bouts against Alexis Davis and Valentina Shevchenko. Her most recent bout was a victory over Jessica Rose-Clark, in the Battlefield FC promotion.

The veteran Kaufman made her debut in 2006, nearly six years before her opponent. Pannie Kianzad made her professional debut with the Estonian promotion MMA Raju, in 2012. Kianzad began her career undefeated in eight bouts. On the way, capturing the Cage Warriors bantamweight championship. The Iranian-Swede holds an identical record to Kaufman in her previous three bouts, 1-2. Currently, she finds herself on a two-loss skid.

In the co-main event, Vanessa Porto (19-8) faces Mariana Morais (12-5). The Brazilian, Morais, is coming off a disappointing title challenge in the flyweight division of the KSW promotion. Ariane Lipski submitted her in 58 seconds. Porto, however, is fresh off her Invicta 26, TKO victory over, Milana Dudieva.

Porto is an Invicta FC veteran, having fought in seven of the promotions twenty-six held events. Throughout her career, the veteran faced the best women the world had to offer. The thirty-three-year-old has fought the likes of Roxanne Modafferi (twice), Agnieszka Niedzwiedz, Barb Honchak, Tara LaRosa, Jennifer Maia (twice), Tonya Evinger, Germain De Randamie, Amanda Nunes, and Cris “Cyborg” Justino.

The first card of 2018 for Invicta holds a plethora of inexperienced women. Of the 17 women booked for the card, only four women hold ten or more professional fights on their record. Another four women will make their professional MMA debut: Loma Lookboonmee, Jade Ripley, Helen Peralta, and Akeela Al-Hameed. The Invicta 27, the card will feature nine bouts. The event will take place at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri on January 13th, 2018. The card will proceed as follows:

Pannie Kianzad (8-2) vs. Sarah Kaufman (18-4 1 NC) – Bantamweight Division

Vanessa Porto (19-8) vs. Mariana Morais (12-5) – Flyweight Division

Sharon Jacobson (4-2) vs. Ashely Nichols (3-1) – Strawweight Division

Ashley Cummings (5-4) vs. Stephanie Alba (3-2) – Atomweight Division

Brogan Walker-Sanchez (4-0) vs. TBA – Flyweight Division

Felicia Spencer (3-0) vs. Akeela Al-Hameed (0-0) – Featherweight Division

Mallory Martin (1-2) vs. Tiffany Masters (2-1) – Strawweight Division

Melissa Wang (1-0) vs. Loma Lookboonmee (0-0) – Atomweight Division

Jade Ripley (0-0) vs. Helen Peralta (0-0) – Strawweight Division

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