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Yushin Okami Gets Jon Fitch at WSOF 24

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Japanese fighter Yushin “Thunder” Okami attempts to do what many fighters have done before him in changing weight classes – in his case he’s dropping from middleweight to welterweight.

World Series of Fighting announced that Okami will fight at 170 pounds for the first time in nine years when he takes on fellow veteran Jon Fitch at WSOF 24, Oct. 17 at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. The event will be broadcast on live on NBCSN.

Okami has spent most of his career fighting at 185. In the last nine years, he’s fought in several promotions – including a seven-year stint in the UFC that garnered him some success. Training with Team Quest and Chael Sonnen, Okami evolved into the fighter that he is today. He defeated former world champions Evan Tanner, Nate Marquardt and Hector Lombard. He unsuccessfully challenged Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title in 2011.

The Japanese fighter was released from the UFC after his loss to former Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo Souza. Shortly after UFC gave him the boot, he signed with WSOF and defeated Svetlozar Savov in his promotional debut. Okami unsuccessfully challenged David Branch for the WSOF middleweight title in November. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt finished him in the fourth round via TKO, which led to his decision to drop to 170.

Thunder’s previous stint at 170 pounds lasted two fights when he competed in the Rumble on the Rock welterweight tournament in 2006. He advanced to the second round after Silva got disqualified for hitting him with an illegal upkick. He was eliminated from the tournament after dropping a majority decision to Jake Shields.

Okami has a good opponent for his return to 170. Fitch is looking to get back on the winning track after Rousimar Palhares submitted him with a kneebar in their welterweight title fight. He also failed the post-fight drug test.

This could be an exciting fight or a boring one. Both fighters have a plethora of experience, proficient mat skills and good striking. Some may argue that this fight should have happened a few years ago, but MMA promotions seem to be putting on “those kind of fights” lately. Both Okami and Fitch are known to fans and their names still carry some value – enough to have the heavyweight title bout between champion Blagoy Ivanov and challenger Derek Mehmen.

Cynicism aside, a win over Fitch could be the first in a long and successful run for Okami at 170.

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Fight Announcements

Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou Official for UFC 220

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UFC 220 in Boston, Massachusetts has its main event. Stipe Miocic (17-2) will put his belt on the line for the third time against rising heavyweight star, Francis Ngannou (11-1)

Rumors surrounded the match-up for UFC 220 after Ngannou’s first round knockout over Alistair Overeem, at UFC 218. The Cameroonian heavyweight called for the fight himself. In his octagon interview proceeding his most recent victory, Ngannou stated:

“I’m feeling good… I’m on my way to a title shot”.

The heavy handed Ngannou has finished all of his opponents in all of his six UFC bouts. A streak which includes a kimura submission over Anthony Hamilton and a TKO victory against former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski. Overall, he holds a ten fight win streak. His only defeat came by way of unanimous decision to Zoumana Cisse, in his second professional MMA fight.

If victorious, Ngannou would become the first African-born champion in UFC history.

Not to be diminished, Stipe Miocic rides his a streak of his own into the beantown match-up. Five consecutive wins, five knockouts and the past four of which, ended in the first round. A victory in Boston for the champ would make him the longest reigning heavyweight champion in UFC history. Currently, Miocic is one of three heavyweights, in the promotions entirety, whom has successfully defended the belt twice.

UFC 220 will be held at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on January 20th, 2018. The pay-per-view (PPV) card will also feature light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, as he faces challenger Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir.

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Events

Ladies Fight Night 7: “Double Trouble” Preview

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Polish women’s federation Ladies Fight Night is going to celebrate their second birthday this year on the 15th to 17th of December. Two days, two events with a lot of great bouts.

LFN in Poland is being titled the new Invicta FC. The Polish owners created this federation to give European women a chance to fight on a big platform.

Hosting their first ever event in December 2015, LFN will hold two great cards next week, that will feature women who have fought under many prestigious promotions, such as the UFC, Invicta, Bellator, Glory, and Kunlun.

Two days of fantastic fights, intensified by a double dose of sports impressions. The name is not accidental, LFN 7 / LFN 8 combines two events, during which the best Polish fighters will be shown, as well as the best fighters from Europe (including France, Sweden, Italy, the Czech Republic and Romania)

The stakes are high, and we are electrified by the clashes between warriors such as Żaneta Cieśla vs Silvia La Notte and Patricia Axling vs. Cindy Silvestri. Mainly due to their vastness of their experience in the cage.

In the fight of the evening, the talented Romanian Cristina Stanciu will face Magdaléna Šormovádo. Stanciu fought twice in the UFC, but she was unfortunately cut from the promotion after suffering consecutive losses to Cortney Casey and Maryna Moroz.

Judyta Rymarzak vs Marta Waliczek is an amazing fight between two experienced kickboxers. Both making their pro MMA debuts on the night, we will witness a one-of-a-kind duel between two kickboxing perfectionists, as they look to transcend their skills into the MMA world.

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Invicta

Mackenzie Dern victorious in Invicta debut 

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Late Friday night, Mackenzie Dern (5-0, 1-0 Invicta FC) won her co-main event booking, defeating Kaline Medieros (8-6, 2-2 Invicta FC), at Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzwiedz, via submission (armbar) with only fifteen seconds remaining in the fight.

Much of the fight was controlled by Dern. The heralded prospect displayed her power, visibly damaging her opponent with multiple overhand rights. Striking is an under-developed aspect of her attack, only when compared to the twenty-four-year-olds black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Above all, she showed a progression of her striking skills. Dern looked to be bigger and physically stronger than her veteran opponent. She utilized forward pressure and found the proper timing for her overhand right throughout.

The veteran Medeiros showed her toughness throughout the fight. She defended and scrambled out of some bad positions during the grappling exchanges. Ultimately, she tapped when caught in a deeply planted armbar.  While Medeiros did earn a few hard trip takedowns, it factored minimally in the result as she refused to follow Dern to the mat. The Boston native suffered her second straight loss, Friday night. Her first was to, former Invicta strawweight champion, Angela Hill.

Dern made her professional debut in July of 2016 with Legacy Fighting Alliance (previously: Legacy Fighting Championship). In her debut, she defeated Kenia Rosas by unanimous decision. The Phoenix-born fighter won her next three bouts. Before her MMA career began, Dern won the ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club) championship at 60 kg. She was the first American born female to become champion at the weight. Her grappling resume boasts many more incredible accomplishments. Justifiably, a growing spotlight now hangs over her, her skills, and potential in the sport of MMA.

Elsewhere on the Invicta 26 card, Jennifer Maia defeated Agnieszka Niedzweidz by unanimous decision. Maia retained her Invicta flyweight belt, defending it for the second time. Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzweidz, took place at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri.

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