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Interview: UFC co-creator Campbell McLaren

Campbell McLaren talks to Kingdom MMA 'I would have never sold the UFC'

Thursday, 31 July 2014


Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (CWFC) can this evening confirm that it has reluctantly taken the decision to move next month's CWFC 71 event to Amman, Jordan.

Originally scheduled to take place in Stockholm on Saturday, August 23, CWFC 71 was due to be another historic Cage Warriors event, with Sweden set to become the thirteenth country to play host to Europe's leading mixed martial arts promotion.

However, issues outside of CWFC's control have forced officials to move the event to Jordan, with CWFC 71 now booked to go ahead at Amman's King Hussein Boxing Arena on Friday, August 22.

CWFC 71 will be Cage Warriors Fighting Championship's tenth event of 2014. Bouts and further details will be announced in due course.

The decision to move CWFC 71 from Sweden to Jordan has come as a result of the nonsensical refusal of the Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation (SMMAF) to approve several bouts to be contested under full unified rules.

Of the initial five bouts that were submitted for approval, only one - a featherweight bout between Martin Svensson (13-5) and Dave Hill (12-3) - received permission to be contested under full unified rules.

The remaining four did not receive the necessary approval, with the SMMAF claiming in a statement: "The committee has found that several matches applied for by Cage Warriors have not made the required level."

In addition to referring to "unequal matching", the SMMAF stated its belief that the fighters involved do not possess enough experience to compete under full unified rules.

Cage Warriors Fighting Championship has been at the core of the global MMA community since its inception in 2002 but, in particular, the significant growth of the promotion since 2010 has been built on a foundation laid by the ability of its fighters and the quality of its matching, courtesy of our exceptional matchmaker Ian Dean.

As a promotion, CWFC is shocked and bemused by the SMMAF's apparent reasoning for preventing these bouts from taking place, given that Cage Warriors Fighting Championship has developed into one of the world's leading promotions based largely on these very qualities.

This has led CWFC officials to question the motives of the SMMAF in this instance, as up until this issue arose, both parties had co-operated effortlessly to lay the platform for CWFC to stage an event in Sweden.

From the outset, CWFC officials assured the SMMAF that their protocol would be followed throughout each step in the process, and even agreed to allow the CWFC 71 undercard bouts to be contested under the SMMAF's 'Swedish rules' i.e. with elbows and up-kicks prohibited.

"Moving this event out of Sweden is a decision we really wanted to avoid, but because of the actions of the SMMAF, we have unfortunately been left with no choice in the matter," said Cage Warriors CEO Graham Boylan.

"To ask our elite fighters, who are among the best in Europe and the world as a whole, to compete under a diluted set of rules to what they have been doing throughout their professional careers is an abhorrent insult to these outstanding athletes and their abilities.

"Jack Hermansson is our middleweight champion and Jack Mason is probably the most experienced fighter in the UK, but their respective bouts were not approved. It's absolutely absurd.

"Suggesting that such fighters are not capable of competing under full unified rules is ludicrous beyond belief and I would never even consider asking them to compete under anything other than full unified rules.

"The SMMAF have left us in an impossible, and very sad, situation here, and unfortunately our only option is to take our athletes elsewhere for this event."

The four bouts which did not receive SMMAF approval for full unified rules are: Jack Hermansson (8-2) versus Cheick Kone (11-3) - CWFC agreed to this title bout being contested over three five-minute rounds; Pannie Kianzad (5-0) versus Alexandra Buch (8-3); Jack Mason (28-13) versus Jonatan Westin (6-2); Liam James (8-6) versus Frantz Slioa (4-0). Applications for further bouts were in the process of being submitted until today's decision to move the event from Sweden.

Furthermore, the SMMAF's pro-committee has claimed publicly that there was no conflict of interest involved in their decisions, despite one committee member being the current manager and coach of Martin Svensson, one of the fighters involved in the only CWFC 71 bout that was approved for full unified rules.

Nevertheless, while the SMMAF has ultimately prevented Cage Warriors from staging this event in Sweden, the promotion is extremely appreciative of the widespread support it has received from the Swedish MMA community, particularly from former SMMAF and IMMAF president August Wallen.

"I'm very sad about this situation," August Wallen said. "Many have worked hard to get Cage Warriors to Sweden and, as someone who helped to build MMA here, I'm concerned as I believe this could be a major setback for the development of MMA in the whole region.

"As a coach, I have looked forward to taking part in this great Cage Warriors event and I feel bad for all the fighters who have worked hard but will now be denied the chance to fight here in Sweden in front of a global audience."

Those sentiments have been echoed by Tue Trnka, CWFC's Head of Operations in Scandinavia, who has worked tirelessly to put the framework in place for the first ever Cage Warriors event in Sweden.

He said: “I'm shocked and appalled by the ridiculous actions of the SMMAF’s pro-committee. This is hurting so many local fighters, as well as the entire Nordic MMA scene, which has now taken a massive hit.

“I strongly disagree with the SMMAF’s negative decisions and I find their lack of dialogue both disrespectful and arrogant, considering the vast impact their decisions will have on so many people.

“We've done everything that was asked of us, and yet it seemingly comes down to just two people on the pro-committee, who for some reason have decided to vote against these fights.

“If you look at some of the UFC’s undercard fights in Sweden, all of which have been approved for full unified rules by the SMMAF, and compare them to the fights we applied for, I find it hard not to wonder if there is some bias involved.

“This was a massive opportunity for Swedish and Nordic MMA, but bureaucracy has won out here and Swedish MMA has suffered an enormous blow.”

In spite of these developments, Cage Warriors Fighting Championship will not abandon its plans to expand in Scandinavia, with the promotion more determined than ever to stage an inaugural event in Sweden.

“Our first event in Denmark was a huge success last March and I have no doubt that the same would have been the case in Sweden on August 23,” said Graham Boylan.

“That will now have to wait slightly longer than we had initially hoped for, but I can assure our Swedish fans that it’ll be worth the wait when CWFC finally gets there.

“The actions of the SMMAF have set a worrying precedent for MMA in Sweden, but this has not deterred us at all. Between fighters and fans, Sweden has played a major role in the growth of Cage Warriors and I have no doubt that it will continue to do so.”

Brendan Loughnane vs Ali Maclean Title Fight Set for FCC 11

Brendan Loughnane vs Ali Maclean Title Fight Set for FCC 11
The North West’s hottest Pro/Am Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event, Full Contact Contender (FCC), is proud to announce FCC 11: Loughnane vs Maclean. The professional lightweight contest will take place on the previously announced date of October 18th at Bolton’s Macron (Reebok) Stadium. 

FCC fan favourite and fast-rising UK MMA lightweight Brendan Loughnane returns to the promotion for the second defence of his professional lightweight title. The Manchester Predator’s fighter sports a 7-1 record, and enters the bout off the back a pair of wins that saw him both capture and defend the FCC belt.

Ali Maclean has built an impressive 14-7 ledger since turning professional in 2007. Still just 24 years old, ‘The Albino Rhino’ is on an impressive run of form, having won nine of his last 11 outings. Both of the Kaobon fighter’s recent losses have come via split decision, and the Belfast-born bruiser hasn’t been stopped since a 2010 submission loss to the UFC’s Mike Wilkinson. 

Maclean last saw action in a one night tournament in May, winning his first bout via an impressive first round north-south choke, before losing a closely contested split-decision in his semi-final bout. He’ll be looking to get right back on the horse against Loughnane, as he steps into enemy territory for the three round title affair.

Promoter Adam Teh said:
“I’ve wanted to pit Ali Maclean against Brendan for some time now, so it’s great to finally see it come to fruition. Brendan has proven to be a worthy champion in his last two bouts; we feel that a fight with Ali is a great step-up and should provide fireworks for the FCC fans.”
FCC 11 also promises to stay close to the promotion’s roots as one of the UK’s highest-profile destinations for amateur MMA, with four title bouts already confirmed. Topping the amateur bill is a flyweight title fight between newly crowned champion Aaron Robinson of Next Generation in Liverpool and Dominic Wooding of MMA Terror Squad. The pair are regarded as two of the hottest prospects in Amateur UKMMA.

With the FCC amateur 205lb title recently vacated by the now professional Andy Clamp, Adam Wright (9-4) will take on Micheal Younis (5-2) for the spoils. Dan Stoddard (7-2) of Stoke Power Team faces FCPC’s Ste Henshall (4-1) for the middleweight title, while HAMMA’s Ben Dearden (6-1) has his second crack at FCC gold, facing the MMA Academy’s Robbie Fallon (4-1) at 135lbs.
Adam Teh said:
“Both Dominic Wooding and Aaron Robinson put on show-stealing performances at FCC 10. Not to have them back on would have been criminal. When the time comes for this pair to move on from the amateurs, the pro ranks won’t know what’s hit them. But first, they’re going head to head for the bragging rights of being the UK’s best amateur flyweight, and the FCC title! The name of the Reebok Stadium may have changed, but FCC hasn’t; we’ll still be delivering one of the hottest tickets in UK MMA to our legions of loyal and new fans!”
FCC 11 takes place at the Bolton Macron Stadium (formerly the Reebok Stadium) on October 18th, 2014. Tickets are available from 

FCC 11 fight card (subject to change, more bouts TBC):
Brendan Loughnane (c) vs Ali Maclean - For the FCC Pro Lightweight Title

Aaron Robinson (c) vs Dominic Wooding - For the FCC Amateur Flyweight Title
Adam Wright vs Micheal Younis - For the FCC Amateur Light-Heavyweight Title
Dan Stoddard vs Ste Hensall - For the FCC Amateur Middleweight Title
Ben Dearden vs Robbie Fallon - For the FCC Amateur Bantamweight Title 


Nicolas Dalby (12-0), the reigning CWFC welterweight world champion, make his inaugural title defence against former champion Gael Grimaud (19-6) at Cage Warriors 72 in Newport, Wales, on September 13.

The undefeated Dane is set to take on Gael Grimaud when Cage Warriors Fighting Championship heads to the Welsh city of Newport for CWFC 72. Tickets for Europe’s leading promotion’s eleventh event of 2014, which is to be staged at the Newport Centre, will go on sale shortly.

Following his spectacular fourth-round KO of Sergei Churilov at CWFC 66 in Copenhagen this past March, Dalby (12-0) will be making his inaugural title defence in Newport on September 13.

His thirteenth professional outing will provide a new challenge for Dalby, as he competes outside of his native Denmark for the first time in his career.

The 29-year-old, who succeeded Cathal Pendred as the CWFC champion, holds other notable wins over Ivica Truscek, Morten Djursaa and Glenn Sparv.

“I’m very much looking forward to squaring off against Gael Grimaud as he was the latest fighter currently on the CWFC roster to hold the welterweight title,” said Dalby.

“He has a very dynamic style that I find quite interesting, so I’m looking forward to showing off how I will dismantle him and get the win.”

Grimaud (19-6) will be aiming to regain the CWFC welterweight world title, which he relinquished in March of last year following a unanimous-decision loss to Cathal Pendred at CWFC 52 in London.

A 34-year-old Frenchman who has dropped just one loss in his last 11 fights, Grimaud has taken fifteen of his nineteen professional wins by stoppage, including 12 submissions.

However, Grimaud’s most recent CWFC outing saw him score a KO win against Bruno Carvalho after just 45 seconds of their main-event clash at CWFC Fight Night 9 in Amman last October.

Grimaud clinched the CWFC welterweight world title back in September 2011 when he overcame Arni Isaksson, before going on to make a successful defence against Jesse Taylor.

“To have the opportunity to get the Cage Warriors belt back is very exciting for me and I am determined to succeed,” said Grimaud, who has been stopped just once in 25 professional bouts.

“My opponent brings a strong challenge but I believe I am a better fighter than him. I will be ready on September 13 to take that belt back home again.”

Dalby and Grimaud were originally scheduled to meet for Cage Warriors’ 170lbs strap at CWFC 66 but an injury to Grimaud resulted in the title shot passing to Sergei Churilov.

CWFC 72 will also feature a bantamweight world title tussle, as Cory Tait and Toni Tauru clash for the vacant 135lbs strap. Meanwhile, a lightweight bout between Tim Newman (10-4) and Tim Wilde (5-0) has also been added to the CWFC 72 bill, as well as a featherweight contest involving Nad Narimani (7-1) and Daniel Thomas (20-9-1).

Cage Warriors 72 (more bouts to be announced)

Nicolas Dalby (c) vs. Gael Grimaud - CWFC welterweight world title bout
Cory Tait vs. Toni Tauru - vacant CWFC bantamweight world title bout
Jack Marshman vs. Che Mills
Tim Newman vs. Tim Wilde
Nad Narimani vs. Daniel Thomas
Steve Dinsdale vs. Lewis Long
Jordan Desborough vs. Kris Edwards
Jamie Rogers vs. Mario Saeed
Nick Nembhard vs. Simas Norkus
Paulina Bonkowska vs. Kate Jackson

Eddie Alvarez vs Donald Cerrone rumoured for UFC 178

by Ben Heather @benheather

Could Eddie Alvarez finally be set to join the UFC and end a 2 year saga between Bellator, UFC and himself? If this is true it looks like the UFC want to get him straight in to action with a match up against Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone rumoured for UFC 178.

According to an unnamed source close to the bout the matchup has not yet been finalised but the source informed that negotiations are ongoing. As of last night though, Eddie Alvarez still remains under contract with Bellator.

It is no secret that Alvarez only has one fight left on his Bellator contract and if he was to take a fight, say against current interim champ Will Brooks and win he will be walking away as the undisputed champion leaving behind an organistaion he has cleaned out. However, if Bellator and the UFC can come to an agreement and he leaves now it would mean that Bellator still have the ability to push Brooks as its new champion and even set up the Chandler rematch for the title.

A fight between Cerrone and Alvarez certainly appeals to me and if Alvarez does indeed join the UFC it sets up so many other interesting match ups in the UFC lightweight division, which is already stacked. The one disappointing point, if this does indeed happen would be that we may not see Alvarez vs Chandler 3. After seeing the first two fights, which could arguably be called some of the best fights in MMA history I had hoped to see the trilogy fight.

UFC 178 is already shaping up to be one of the biggest PPV's of the year with Jones vs Cormier, Cruz vs Mizugaki, McGregor vs Poirier and Kennedy vs Romero already announced. If you add Alvarez vs Cerrone to that card it will certainly prove to be an event not to be missed.

Phil Davis vs Glover Teixeira verbally agreed for UFC 179

by Ben Heather @benheather

According to Brazilian website Combate Phil Davis will be heading back to Brazil to square off against Glover Teixeira as part of the UFC 179 event headlined by Jose Aldo vs Chad Mendes. Davis fought in Brazil last August where he picked up a debatable unanimous decision victory over Lyoto Machida.

The fight has not yet been signed off but Combate are reporting that both fighters have verbally agreed to the fight so it should only be a matter of time before its officially announced.

Phil Davis will go in to the fight having most recently lost to Anthony "Rumble" Johnson in April, which snapped a 3 fight winning streak and he will be looking to get back to winning ways after being dominated by Rumble in his last fight.

Glover Teixeira also lost last time out in a title fight against Jon Jones. That loss ended a 8 year, 20 fight win streak and I am sure Glover will want to get another shot at Jones' title.

The winner of this fight will put his name back in the pot with the growing list of other contenders at 205lbs. However, for the loser it may be a long road back to the top with Jon Jones already set to defend his title against Daniel Cormier. Then if he wins that fight you have other contenders very deserving of a shot at the belt as well with Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson at the forefront of the list.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Five Irish fighters that could sign for the UFC by the next Dublin card

by Alex Dillon @_alexdillon_

On 19th July 2014, the UFC took its Fight Night show back to Dublin for the first time in over 5 years. Aided with the rise of Dublin’s own Conor McGregor the event sold out within 3 minutes of going on sale and in the end included 5 Irish fighters in total. With an unforgettable atmosphere, all of the Irish fighters on the card picked up great victories and really put Ireland on the MMA map.

The question now is, which fighters could potentially be signed up by the next time the UFC visit Ireland? With this presumably being next July, we look at the five potential prospect’s Irish MMA has to offer.

Joseph Duffy (10-1)

Joseph Duffy (pictured), the most known fighter out of the five in this article, Duffy is notoriously known for submitting Conor McGregor in his early days as well as Norman Parke which is something the UFC could easily market to fans wherever Duffy could possibly debut never mind Ireland. Pretty impressive but aside from these two massive victories, he actually has a very good MMA record. He hasn’t fought since a loss in October 2011 at Cage Warriors and pursued a career in pro boxing but he’s back at Cage Warriors 70 next month in Dublin and you better believe it all eyes will be on him. Out of his 10 wins, 7 are by submission and with such a finishing pedigree, this makes Duffy a very likely signee for the UFC in the near future if he gets back to winning ways.

Tommy Quinn (6-1)

Welterweight Tommy Quinn currently fights under the Cage Warriors show and has racked up an impressive record so far in his pro MMA career. Currently riding a 2 fight win streak in Cage Warriors, it’s hard not to see Quinn as a potential future UFC fighter down the line. With his only loss coming two years against well known Jack Mason, Quinn bounced back by defeating SBGi prospect Philip Mulpeter and followed that up by Knocking out Dan Hope in his last outing at Cage Warriors. Quinn’s popularity with Irish fans seems to be growing and surely this will aid a possible UFC contract if he continues to impress in the cage.

Paul Redmond (9-4)

Paul Redmond is a well known lightweight on the European MMA scene having fought numerous times for Cage Warriors holding a 6-1 record with the promotion which has turned him into one of Ireland’s hottest prospects. Training out of Team Ryano MMA in Dublin alongside team mate and UFC flyweight Neil Seery, Redmond looks to further cement his status in the pro ranks next month at Cage Warriors 70 as he takes on Michael Doyle at the Helix. Redmond has finished all but one of his wins which easily makes him a marketable fighter and you’d think if he finishes Doyle next month, the UFC is on the horizon in the near future.

Karl Moore (4-0)

Fairly new on the pro MMA scene is Karl Moore but nonetheless he’s a fighter worth looking out for judging by his first four bouts as a pro. He has so far finished all of his pro fights (1 KO, 3 Subs) with his last being a KO victory back at Cage Warriors 62. Moore also fights next month at Cage Warriors 70 in Dublin and it will be interesting to see if the Light Heavyweight man from Fight Academy Ireland can continue his impressive winning streak. With an unblemished record one would think that if Moore keeps finishing opponents it’s only a matter of time before the UFC take notice of such an entertaining fighter.

Damien Rooney (10-3-1)

Flyweight Rooney, currently fights out of Team Torres MMA and is one of many stand out Irish flyweights along with Paddy Holohan and Neil Seery of whom he has both faced and subsequently lost to. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Rooney as they are both clearly UFC calibre fighters and both fights took place 2 and 4 years ago respectively. Like most of the fighters mentioned in this article, Rooney also has an excellent finishing rate having only gone to the judges’ score cards once in his 10 victories. This certainly makes Rooney a possible candidate for a future crack in the UFC should he keep up his impressive performances at Cage Warriors and we may well see him in the octagon in the not too distant future.

All of these fighters have shown so far in their careers that they are quite possibly borderline to making the UFC grade and could be 1 or 2 wins away from that dream phone call. The majority have finishes galore on their records which obviously makes them a hit with fans and it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep up their performances so far. With all fighting under Cage Warriors it’s more than likely that the UFC will eventually spot them if they continue to impress.

Is Nick Diaz vs Anderson Silva really a "Super Fight"?

by Ben Heather @benheather

Last Night Dana White announced that Anderson Silva had signed his fight agreement and will be returning to the octagon to face Nick Diaz in Jan '15. Silva will return after over a year on the sidelines due to the horrific leg break which occured when he fought Chris Weidman at the end of 2013.

Diaz will return after retiring in the octagon after losing his title fight against GSP in March '13. The fight was announced as being the main event of the UFC 183 event on Superbowl weekend and will be at middleweight.

However, when Dana tweeted that Anderson had signed and the Diaz fight was "done" he also added #superfight which got me thinking, is this really a "Super Fight" or not?

So i asked a couple of guys on the site the same question and below you can find out whether Kingdom MMA agree with Dana or not.

Chris Houten - @mrhouts

The UFC have every right to bill Anderson Silva vs Nick Diaz as a super fight. It's a coming together of two of the most popular fighters who wouldn't normally face each other due to being in different weight classes. No doubt Silva vs Diaz will do astronomical numbers, probably do double what the UFCs best pay-per-view does this year.

So I ask myself 'is Anderson Silva vs Nick Diaz a super fight' and the one thing that keeps coming up in my mind is how this will be one of the biggest selling fights of all time. So yeah, in that respect Silva vs Diaz is a super fight, but it's not a dream fight.

In fact, I'm not even sure I see this being a close match up. Diaz is a good boxer, one of the best in MMA in fact, but he is nowhere near the striker Anderson Silva is. Diaz is also giving up a lot of size against Silva, and while he might have better BJJ  (not that Silva is a slouch) I just don't see Diaz being able to get this fight to the ground. In fact, Diaz' only hope might be his superior conditioning, but that would mean he would need to take a beating in the opening round and then surge later on, not an easy task considering his opponent has laid out big 'ol boys like Stephan Bonnar, Forrest Griffin, and James Irvin, just to name a few.

So call this fight what you want, super fight, dream fight etc. just don't be surprised if we don't end with another Mike Tyson vs Michael Spinks.

Andreas Georgiou - @AGeorgiouMMA

It's a very tricky question. There is no doubt that it's a big fight, in fact a huge fight. I've not seen this much buzz over a fight announcement since Brock Lesnar vs Randy Couture. Looking at that fight in comparison, that was a huge fight, but not a super fight. A superfight to me is when two world champions face off, so I wouldn't call this a superfight, but it's as close to that description as you can get. Silva is a decent PPV draw, and Diaz is one of the UFC's biggest stars, I expect the PPV to do at least 1m buys.

Ben Heather - @benheather

Like Dre said, this fight is huge and I am certainly excited. Not only for the fight alone, but also the build up which comes with any Nick Diaz fight. It will certainly be a PPV success for the UFC but the question remains, is it a "Super Fight" and I don't think it can be. How can a fight be billed as a "Super Fight" when both guys are coming in to the fight on 0-2 runs and neither of them are world champions. If this fight is a Super Fight as both have been world champs (Diaz in Strikeforce) in the past then the upcoming UFC 178 fight between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier should also be a Super Fight and I don't think that is either.

Anderson Silva was the key to the super fights and when Chris Weidman knocked him out he also knocked out the dream of Super Fights for now in the UFC. Silva could have challenged GSP or Jon Jones, which would have been "Super Fights" if they were all champions as was the case at the start of July '13.

For me the only "Super Fight" that could now happen in the UFC is Jon Jones vs Cain Velasquez at heavyweight. All the other champs either have a long list of contenders or have just been crowned the champ.

Thats the take of some of the writers at Kingdom MMA, let us know your thoughts on whether you think it is a super fight or not.

What’s next for Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson?

What’s next for Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson?

by Connor Hutton - @ConnorHutton94

The resurgence of UFC light heavyweight contender Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson is a story like no other, and his latest knockout victory over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC on Fox 12 opened up a whole new chapter.

However, Johnson’s current run of success follows a much more controversial career on the whole. ‘Rumble’ first entered the UFC frame back in 2007 where his debut lasted just 13 seconds, knocking out Chad Reiner, but despite a promising start in the octagon, Johnson was criticized for cutting an extreme amount of weight from his muscular body to make 170 lbs.

Concerns over the cut became more prevalent across the next four years, as Johnson missed weight twice in his following nine UFC bouts, which did however include some impressive displays, with four first round finishes for ‘Rumble’.

Early in 2012, Johnson finally made the decision Dana White and the UFC had been longing for, by moving up to middleweight in a fight against Brazilian veteran, Vitor Belfort. However, whilst it was assumed he would find it easier to make 185 lbs, he missed the cut by 11lbs, and the early submission defeat to Belfort ultimately saw him released from the UFC.

Johnson met the most challenging crossroad of his career at this point, but thankfully, he chose the right path. With a new home at WSOF and a comfortable place for his body in the light heavyweight division, Anthony Johnson transformed into the fighter he was always capable of being, stringing together a six fight winning streak, including four KO’s.

Following success in the WSOF, the UFC called time on Johnson’s two year exile from the company and threw him into deep water upon his return this past February, as he took on top ranked light heavyweight contender, Phil Davis, and despite being a near 3/1 under-dog, Johnson dominated his way to a unanimous decision victory.

Johnson’s win streak then added an eight victim with the recent knockout of Nogueira, however this has left ‘Rumble’ in somewhat uncharted waters. With the champ, Jon Jones booked to fight Daniel Cormier and previous number one contender Alexander Gustafsson sidelined by injury, the only fighters ranked higher than Johnson are Glover Teixeira and his team-mate, Rashad Evans.

Joe Silva now faces the difficult task of managing Johnson so he can build him into a potential title contender, but which way will the UFC turn? Some say Anthony shot himself in the foot with the unexpected win over Phil Davis, suggesting he started off almost too hot, as the following opponents are likely to be further down the rankings.

A likely scenario will be that Johnson is matched up with the winner of Ryan Bader and Ovince Saint Preux, this would fit the UFC’s norm of pairing together two fighters on a win streak, but on the other hand it would probably still leave Johnson one fight away from a title shot, if he was victorious that is.

Jon Jones’ most recent opponent, Glover Teixeira is without a fight, although there has been rumblings from Phil Davis regarding a possible fight with Brazilian, and reports say the pair have verbally agreed to fight, which means the door is closing on a match-up with Johnson in what would arguably be his toughest fight to date against Glover.

One more outcome, but very unlikely, is that ‘Rumble’ will take on Gustafsson in a number one contender fight, however the UFC has made it abundantly clear that Gustafsson is unquestionably next in line. Not to mention the Swedes lay-off from injury would also put Johnson on the shelve for a few months if they signed a bout agreement, but the UFC have made a habit of going back on their word so don’t be surprised to see this fight made.

If the UFC are to go with the sensible or easy option then expect the winner of Bader/Saint Preux to take on Johnson next, but if they are feeling adventurous, a fight with Teixeira could be on the horizon if the deal with Davis falls through. Either way, the light heavyweight division has a new breath of life and maybe someday sooner rather than later, Johnson will be under the spotlight of a title fight.

Ilir Latifi returns to Stockholm to face Jan Blachowicz at UFC Fight Night 53

Ilir Latifi returns to Stockholm to face Jan Blachowicz at UFC Fight Night 53

by Andreas Georgiou - @AGeorgiouMMA

UFC's return to Sweden is getting bigger as the days go on, with two more bouts being announced for the October 4 event emanating from Stockholm's Ericsson Global.

Two unranked light-heavyweight fighters will collide Sweden's Ilir 'The Sledgehammer' Latifi (9-3) will take on the former KSW light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz (17-3).

Following his vicious finish of Chris Dempsey at UFC Fight Night Dublin, Latifi will be looking to use his home country advantage as he takes on a very tough and gritty Polish opponent.

Meanwhile at Featherweight, 10th ranked German Dennis Siver (21-9-1NC) will meet Scotland's Robert Whiteford (11-2) in an exciting match up. Both men have a high finishing rate, and this fight isn't expected to go the distance.

This will be Siver's first fight since his win against Manvel Gamburyan in December last year was overturned to a no contest due to Siver testing positive for hCG.

The current UFC Stockholm card:

Welterweight Nico Musoke vs. Amir Sadollah
Featherweight Niklas Bäckström vs. Mike Wilkinson
Featherweight Zubaira Tukhugov vs. Ernest Chavez
Featherweight Dennis Siver vs. Robert Whiteford
Light-Heavyweight Ilir Latifi    vs.     Jan Blachowicz

Monday, 28 July 2014


Cage Warriors Fighting Championship will crown a new bantamweight world champion on Saturday, September 13, when England's Cory Tait (8-2-0) and Finland's Toni Tauru (9-1-1) clash for the vacant title at Cage Warriors 72 at the Newport Centre in Newport, Wales.

A new CWFC bantamweight world champion will be crowned when Cage Warriors Fighting Championship makes its inaugural visit to Newport, Wales, on Saturday, September 13, 2014.

Cage Warriors 72, which is set to take place at the Newport Centre, will see Cory Tait and Toni Tauru collide for Europe’s leading promotion’s vacant 135lbs title.

The eleventh Cage Warriors event of 2014, Newport will become the third Welsh city to play host to CWFC, following a trio of shows in Cardiff from October 2012 to September 2013, in addition to a debut in Swansea earlier this year.

Tait (8-2-0), a 26-year-old Englishman who has taken all of his career wins inside the distance, is one of the UK’s top bantamweights and earns his shot at the CWFC gold on the back of a four-fight win-streak. Following a number of impressive victories on the British domestic circuit, Tait was signed exclusively by Cage Warriors last year and announced his arrival on the international scene with a superb first-round submission of the hotly-favoured James Pennington in the main event at CWFC 64 in London back in February.

Despite hailing from a kickboxing background, Tait has as an equal number of (T)KO and submission wins - four each - with five of his victories coming in the very first round.

“I’m truly excited to be fighting for the Cage Warriors title,” said Tait, who holds other notable wins over fellow Cage Warriors veterans Spencer Hewitt, Dino Gambatesa and Nathan Beer.

“The fights keep on getting bigger and bigger for me. Winning this belt will prove that I’m the top bantamweight in the UK, and I’m looking forward to being recognised as just that.”

A 29-year-old Finn, Tauru (9-1-1) hasn’t tasted defeat since losing to former CWFC title challenger Mikael Silander in his second professional bout back in August 2011.

Since then, Tauru has embarked on a run of nine successive wins - the last six of which have come via submission - which has seen him climb to second place in the Nordic bantamweight rankings.

After submitting TUF 18 contestant Emil Hartsner via first-round gogoplata last November, Tauru was snapped up by Cage Warriors and picked up another first-round submission win over Martin Akhtar in his promotional debut at CWFC 66 in Copenhagen this past March.

Tauru said: “I’m very confident coming into this fight. It’s going to be my tenth straight win and I’m going to be the Cage Warriors champion, so I’m excited and grateful for this opportunity. But I also believe I have earned this title shot and I’m looking forward to becoming Finland’s first MMA world champion.”

The CWFC bantamweight belt was last held by Brett Johns until this past April, when his failure to make weight ahead of his CWFC 67 title bout against James Brum saw him relinquish the strap, despite picking up a unanimous-decision win.

Officials have also confirmed several other bouts today for September 13’s CWFC 72 bill in Newport, including a welterweight clash between Lewis Long and Steve Dinsdale. Check out the updated fight card below, with many more bouts and ticket news to be announced shortly.
Cage Warriors 72 (more bouts to be announced)
Cory Tait vs. Toni Tauru - vacant CWFC bantamweight world title bout
Jack Marshman vs. Che Mills
Steve Dinsdale vs. Lewis Long
Jordan Desborough vs. Kris Edwards
Jamie Rogers vs. Mario Saeed
Nick Nembherd vs. Simas Norkus
Paulina Bonkowska vs. Kate Jackson

Saturday, 26 July 2014

UFC Fight Night Sweden Adds Zubaira Tukhugov vs Ernest Chavez

UFC Fight Night Sweden Adds Zubaira Tukhugov vs Ernest Chavez

by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

UFC officials have today confirmed a third addition to October's UFC Fight Night 53 card with Zubaira Tukhugov vs Ernest Chavez squaring off in a featherweight match up.

UFC Fight Night 53 takes place October 4, at Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden. The event is expected to stream live on UFC Fight Pass, and is the promotions 3rd trip to Sweden in as many years.

A product of Tiger Muay Thai alongside Brian Ebersole and Roger Huerta, Russian prospect Zubaira Tukhugov fights for the first time since his win over Douglas Silva de Andrade at UFC Fight Night - Machida vs. Mousasi in his UFC debut. 

A Sambo specialist, Tukhugov is currently riding a 7 fight win streak with 3 of those victories coming by TKO. A pro sine 2010, the 23-year-old has since won 16 of 19 bouts, and holds the highest rankings in Sambo - Master of Sports Hand to Hand Combat, and Master of Sports Combat Sambo.

Fighting for the 3rd time under the UFC banner, Chavez made his UFC debut at Febuary's UFC 170 defeating Yosdenis Cedeno by split decision to extending his unbeaten streak to 7-0. Following his victory over Cedeno, Chavez took on Elias Silverio who he lost to by 3rd round submission prompting a move down to the featherweight division.

Fighting out of Orange County California, the 31-year-old was expected to face Mirsad Bektic at UFC Fight Night 49 in August but was forced to withdraw from that card with injury. He will now fight in Sweden two months later.

With the addition of Tukhugov vs Chavez, UFC Fight Night 53 now includes:

Nico Musoke vs. Amir Sadollah
Niklas Backstrom vs. Mike Wilkinson
Zubaira Tukhugov vs Ernest Chavez

Stay tuned to for all the latest on UFC Fight Night 53 Sweden 

Niklas Backstrom vs Mike Wilkinson Set for UFC Return to Sweden

Niklas Backstrom vs Mike Wilkinson Set for UFC Return to Sweden

by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

Brit, Mike Wilkinson (8-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) will return from a long term injury which has seen him not fight since June 2013, to face undefeated Swedish prospect Niklas Backstrom (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 53. UFC Fight Night 53 takes place Oct. 4 at Ericsson Globe in Stockholm. UFC officials announced the featherweight bout earlier today.

A product of Allstar Training Center in Sweden alongside UFC fighters such as Alexander Gustaffson, and Magnus Cedenblad, Niklas Backstorm has been turning head since he impressively despatched top 10 German featherweight Max Coga via headkick in just 15 seconds to defeat at Europa MMA 1 to earn a place in the UFC.

A pro since 2009, the 24-year old made his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 41 in Berlin as a last minute replacement for Thiago Tavaras against Tom Niinimaki, who he submitted in spectacular fashion in the first round to earn a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.  A former grappling champion, the towering 6-foot featherweight has taken 6 of his 8 career victory inside the distance - 4 by TKO, 2 by submission.

A cast member on The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes, Wilkinson opened his pro career a perfect 8-0, including a decision victory over Brendan Loughnane in his UFC debut in 2012, before losing to Rony Jason at by 1st round submission at UFC on Fuel 10 in June 2013.

Following the lost to Jason, Wilkinson was expected to face Jimmy Hettis at UFC Fight Night 30 in Manchester, however an injury to his leg before the fight meant he was forced to withdraw. By the time he steps in the octagon with Backstrom, Wilkinson will have not fought in near 17 months.

With the addition of Backstrom vs Wilkinson, UFC Fight Night 53 now includes:

Nico Musoke vs. Amir Sadollah
Niklas Backstrom vs. Mike Wilkinson

Stay tuned to for all the latest on UFC Fight Night 53 Sweden

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Tom Breese “I will be looking to compete November or December this year.”

Tom Breese “I will be looking to compete November or December this year.”

Credit Cage Warriors
by Andreas Georgiou - @AGeorgiouMMA

Birmingham's Tom “Fearless” Breese has been tipped by many as one of UKMMA's next stars. With all six of his professional wins coming by finishes, Breese has shown success with his aggressive yet calculated style of fighting. 

Despite only being 22 years-old, Breese has already trained with some of the world's best at Tristar Gym in Canada.

He was set to take UKMMA by storm after his British welterweight title win at BAMMA 11. However, a severe ACL injury meant that Breese has spent the last year on the sidelines. 

In an interview with Love2Fight magazine's George McCann, Breese admitted he had partially torn his ACL a year before the actual injury, although he completely tore it whilst training at Tristar gym in July 2013. He started undergoing constructive surgery that November. 

“I'm currently eight months and three weeks post-op from ACL surgery. Recovery has gone great, I returned to full training at eight months post-op and feel sharper than ever.” 

Breese has stressed the importance of not rushing his return from injury, in order to preserve the longevity of his career. 

“It is very important not to rush back. This injury is very serious and can ruin a fighters career if it is not looked after and rehabilitated in the best way possible.

MMA is my whole life, without it I would be lost, so I have been extremely dedicated to rehabilitating my knee and I will continuing with strength work and rehab for the rest of my career.”

He defeated Warren Kee in December 2012 to become the BAMMA British Middleweight champion, calling it his defining moment. Yet, the following April, the Fearless MMA fighter accepted a multi-fight contract offer with Cage Warriors. 

“Winning the BAMMA title was a great achievement. Then the opportunity came to sign for Cage Warriors and I couldn't turn down the chance to fight higher calibre opponents and test my self in Europe's toughest division. 

When I signed with Cage Warriors last year I was very excited to fight for Europe's best show and test my fighting style against a stacked welterweight division. 

Now I'm even more excited and hungry, I've improved physically and mentally in the last year.” 

With any fighter out for a lengthy period time, there is the worry of ring rust upon their return, but the 22 year old has no such uncertainty. 

“I haven't fought in such a long time but I will be better because of it. I don't believe in ring rust. I had a year out from sparring and had my first spar a couple of weeks ago my timing was better than ever I believe that's because I kept in great shape during my recovery.” 

Although he has been out of action, Breese has admitted to keeping a close eye on the competition. “I drive down to every show in England or Wales and watch. I like to go to the events to visualise and prepare mentally for fight time. Also I'm a big fan of the sport and more than happy to travel to watch a great show live.” 

Breese remains undefeated at both amateur and professional level. He has finished all six of his pro bouts, 90% of them by submission. It is clear he will be a true challenge to anyone in the welterweight division once he debuts under the Cage Warriors banner. 

“The welterweight division is very exciting and I can't wait to compete in it. I will not target a single name as I'm ready to fight anyone in the division. 

I dedicate my whole life to being the best in the world and that's what I'm working towards everyday.” 

After Cathal Pendred relinquished his welterweight title upon accepting to take part on The Ultimate Fighter season 19, it was up to Cage Warriors to crown a new champion. At CWFC 66, Nicolas Dalby finished Sergei Churilov in the fourth round to take the gold. The fight took place in Dalby's homeland of Denmark. 

“I think Nicolas Dalby is a exciting fighter and brings a different style of fighting into the Cage Warriors welterweight division so do many other of the welterweights. I look forward to solving these puzzles and showcasing my fighting style.” 

With the rest of the welterweight division continuing to improve, including talented fighters such as Jack Mason, Mohsen Bahari, and Jake Bostwick, Breese is looking forward to mixing it up with the best. Hopefully for him, before the end of 2014. 

“Everything is going to plan so far and I will be looking to compete November or December this year. Next year I plan to be extremely active.”

You can keep up to date with Tom Breese's return by following him on Twitter - @Breese0121

Ex-UFC veteran Alessio Sakara set to sign with Croatia's Final Fight Championship

Former UFC veteran Alessio Sakara set to sign with Final Fight Championship 

by Andreas Georgiou - @AGeorgiouMMA 

Italian MMA fighter Alessio Sakara, who has competed at Middleweight and Light-Heavyweight in the UFC, is to join Final Fight Championship this Thursday.

Although FFC usually runs cards with both kickboxing and MMA fights, Sakara is expected to stay within MMA.

Sakara is to arrive in Zagreb, Croatia, July 24 in order to sign a contract with Croatia's biggest combat sports promotion. FFC will also have a press conference for media representatives, introducing him to the Croatian faithful.

Signing a seasoned fighter such as Sakara is big step forward for the FFC. Big names such as: Paul Daley, Eddie Sanchez and Nandor Guelmino have also signed with the promotion this year.

Sakara debuted for the UFC in 2005 and was considered a possible future star. His UFC career however was a mixture of ups and downs, with Sakara only managing his best streak of three wins between 2008-2010. This lead to him being released by the UFC after his October 2013 loss to Nico Mmusoke.

He earned the name “Legionarius” for his relentlessness and numerous KO's and tattooed his nickname on his back which later became his trademark. With a record of 15-11-1NC, Sakara defeated credible fighters such as Thales Leites and James Irvin. Although he comepted at both 205 and 185 in the UFC, it is still unknown in which division he is to fight in the FFC.

FFC President Orsat Zovko already announced Sakara is to sign with the FFC earlier this year when he also promised that there will be more big names joining the Final Fight Championship by the end of the year.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Matches to make following UFC Fight Night Dublin

Matches to make following UFC Fight Night Dublin

by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

With UFC Fight Night Dublin in the books and McGregor already confirmed to be fighting Poirier at UFC 178, we take a look at additional match ups the UFC should look at following UFC Fight Night Dublin.

Gunnar Nelson vs Damien Maia
Now 4-0 in the UFC after defeating Zak Cummings by 2nd round submission, Gunnar Nelson should draw a top 10 opponent in his next match up, and I would like to see Damien Maia as that opponent. A talented grappler who's striking is ever improving, Maia will likely never challenge for the welterweight title, but still has the skills to present problems for any man at 170lbs.

From a grappling perspective who doesn't want to see Nelson vs Maia? More so though this bout makes sense as Maia will asks all of the questions that need to be asked to Nelson if he is to be a viable title challenger - can Nelson deal with a much larger welterweight, what happens when he faces a guy with better BJJ then him, and what is he like when the pressure is put on him the way Maia would.

Ian McCall vs John Lineker
With John Dodson injured and out till 2015, and Brad Pickett no longer the number one contender in the flyweight division following his loss to Ian McCall last night, the flyweight division is looking a little thin for contender at this stage.

With McCall victorious over Pickett, and John Lineker impressive in victory over Alptekin Ozkilic just a few days prior, a match up between McCall and Lineker to determine the next number one contender makes sense.

Norman Parke vs Diego Sanchez

Following his victory over Naoyuki Kotani, Parke took to the mic to declare he wants to fight Diego Sanchez next. A fight against Sanchez makes a lot if sense for Parke, he is the kind of name that could propel Parke into the top 10 with an impressive win. Parke will know he has the tools beat Sanchez as well having see Alliance teammates Myles Jury & Ross Pearson (just not on paper) recent beat Sanchez.

If the UFC are interesting in promoting Parke, as it seems that they are with the hint of a return to Belfast possible in the near future, they will also see sense in a match between Parke vs Sanchez. And as for Sanchez, we all know he's not backing down from any fight.

Ilir Latifi vs Nikita Krylov
With both men picking up impressive TKO victories in Dublin, a match up between Latifi and Krylov seems a natural pairing for the European 205ers. With both men having similar UFC records, and fighting to the same schedule currently, Latifi vs Krylov would be an exciting addition to the UFC's return to Sweden in October.

Cathal Pendred vs George Sullivan / Igor Araujo winner
Cathal Pendred produced one of the greatest comebacks the UFC has ever seen at UFC Fight Night Dublin defeating Mike King by Rear Naked Choke in the 2nd round, after taking a battering by the much larger man in the opening frame. Pendred will now return to his natural weight category, welterweight, the division where he won his Cage Warriors title.

The winner of September's bout between George Sullivan and Igor Araujo will present an interesting challenge for Pendred in different ways - Sullivan being a knockout artist and Araujo, deadly on the ground.

Video: UFC Fight Night Dublin: Gunnar Nelson Octagon Post-Fight Interview

Video: UFC Fight Night Dublin: Gunnar Nelson Octagon Post-Fight Interview

Welterweight Gunnar Nelson reflects on his 13th career victory over Zak Cummings at Fight Night Dublin.

Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier Added to UFC 178

Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier Added to UFC 178

by Chris Houten - @mrhouts 

Dustin Poirier (16-3) took to twitter after Conor McGregor's victory over Brandao to lay down the challenge, and he will now get his wish facing McGregor at UFC 178. UFC officials confirmed the bout earlier today.

UFC 178 takes place on September 27th at an as-yet-unannounced venue in Las Vegas. The card is headlined by Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson 2, and will air on live on pay-per-view in the US, and BT Sports in the UK.

Currently riding an 11 fight win streak, McGregor (15-2) took his UFC record to 3-0 on Saturday when he defeated Diego Brandao by first round TKO in front of a sold out crowd in his hometown of Dublin. In the lead up to the bout with Brandao, McGregor, who moves to 10th in the UFC's featherweight rankings following his win over Brandao, has called out the majority of the top ten in the division including Poirier for several months, and after his win this weekend Poirier accepted McGregor's challenge saying he isn't impressed with McGregor's body of work.

A 10-fight UFC vet, Dustin Poirier (16-3) is currently ranked 6th in the UFC featherweight rankings, and is currently ridding a 3 fight win streak. A member of American Top Team, Poirier is 8-2 in his UFC career with 2 TKO victories and 3 submission. Poirier has a common opponent in Diego Brandao, who he knockout in the first round at UFC 168.

With the addition of McGregor vs Poirier, UFC 178 now includes:

Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Dominick Cruz vs. Takeya Mizugaki
Tim Kennedy vs. Yoel Romero
Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier
Amanda Nunes vs. Cat Zingano
Brian Ebersole vs. John Howard
Patrick Cote vs. Stephen Thompson

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Video: UFC Fight Night Dublin: Conor McGregor Octagon Post-Fight Interview

Video: UFC Fight Night Dublin: Conor McGregor Octagon Post-Fight Interview

Conor McGregor reflects on his first-round win over Diego Brandao in front of his hometown of Dublin, Ireland.

UFC Fight Night Dublin Post Fight Press Conference

UFC Fight Night Dublin Post Fight Press Conference

UFC Fight Night Dublin Results: Conor McGregor Backs Up Talk With Early Stoppage of Diego Brandao

UFC Fight Night Dublin Results: Conor McGregor Backs Up Talk With Early Stoppage of Diego Brandao

by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

Irish sensation Conor McGregor backed-up all the talk he had done in the lead up to his bout with Diego Brandao on Saturday, stopping the Brazilian in the first round in front of a sold-out crowd at The O2 in his hometown of Dublin.

The fight started quick with McGregor throwing a spinning kick right off the bat. Brando fired back tagging McGregor with a couple of solid punches - the hardest McGregor will have been hit in his UFC career, before shooting for a take down which he couldn't get, and the action move towards the cage. Against the cage, McGregor hit a lateral drop takedown, where Brandao attempted a heel hook as McGregor tried to get up but the Irishman slipped out and rained down punches.

 As the bout went back to the feet, McGregor makes use of his 10-inch reach advantage, and hurt Brandao with a left. McGregor caught Brando again off a counter, dropping the Brazilian, and finished his opponent with ground strikes against the cage.

McGregor who moves to 15-2 overall and 3-0 in his UFC career, and is rapidly becoming one of the biggest stars on the UFC roster said:
“I’m going to go backstage with Mr. Lorenzo Fertitta, have a little whiskey, and talk about football stadium,”

"This is the feeling of success bursting through every vein in my body. I've been saying all week that I'd finish this guy in the first round - I seem to be predicting the future. I just felt comfortable - this is what I was put here to do. Something tells me that by the end of the year, I'll be world champion. I would turn over every man, woman and child to get that belt. And I want to fight again soon. I want to get straight back in there."

UFC Fight Night Dublin Results: Norman Parke Dismantles Naoyuki Kotani

UFC Fight Night Dublin Results: Norman Parke Dismantles Naoyuki Kotani

by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

Norman Parke dismantled Japanese fighter Naoyuki Kotani in decisive fashion stopping the Pride vet in the second round at UFC Fight Night Dublin to extend his UFC unbeaten run to 5 including his victory over Colin Fletcher to win The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes, and declared he wants a top 15 opponent in post fight interview with Dan Hardy, inviting Diego Sanchez to the dance with 'Where you at Punk'

Fighting out of Northern Ireland, Parke was treated as one of the Irish's own throughout the fight as the cheered the Alliance MMA members on, as he repeated shook off multiple takedown attempts from Kotani, and battered Kotani with elbows on the mat.

Parke looked phenomenal as he worked over Kotani and baring a leg-lock attempt, Parke showed complete dominance on route finish the 50 fight veteran by TKO from elbows in the mat at 3.41 of the second round to earn the first stoppage victory of his career.

Later in the media room, Parke,  who moves to 20-2-1 MMA, 4-0-1 UFC, commended the Irish crowd for the phenomenal support and explained why he called our Diego Sanchez in his post fight interview:
"I feel great. Fighting in front of a home crowd is so special. It was just unbelievable. Even the weigh-ins last night were unbelievable with thousands of people making so much noise. It was great for me to be a part of it. Every Irish fighter has won so far tonight which has got to be a record. I called out Diego Sanchez - I think that would be an interesting match up. I want to test myself against him - I like someone who comes forward."

UFC Fight Night Dublin Generates Record Viewing Figures on Irish TV

UFC Fight Night Dublin Generates Record Viewing Figures on Irish TV

The UFC has announced that UFC Fight Night Dublin: McGregor vs. Brandao has become the highest rating sporting event on channel 3e in Ireland.

Coverage of the event reached an enormous 600,000 viewers in total and recorded a peak audience figure of 340,200. An impressive average of 257,500 viewers (and 21% share of the available audience) tuned in to 3e on Saturday night to watch Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor put on a spectacular performance to defeat Brazil’s Diego Brandao in his hometown of Dublin, making it the highest rating sporting event in the channel’s history.

The sold-out event at Dublin’s O2 arena, delivered massive share figures for a number of demographics, including a 36.69% share for Men 15-34 and an even more impressive 43.33% share for Adults 15-24.

In a further coup for the station, 3e’s strong Saturday schedule, which included movies X Men 2, First Blood and a UFC Countdown special, saw the channel post the biggest ever share in its history. 3e posted an all-day share of 10.15% for Adults 15-44 on Saturday 19th July, making it the highest figure of any station for the day.

Garry Cook, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of UFC in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said:
"This was a night that will go down in history within the UFC for the record sell out and viewership figures. The collaboration between UFC and TV3, not just on the night, but in the weeks and days leading to the event has shown how an integrated partnership can benefit both organisations. Throughout the week, TV3 and 3e aired amazing content and were able to access the athletes across a number of platforms, building anticipation and ultimately driving the record breaking audience. We would like to congratulate our friends at TV3 and we look forward to bringing more UFC events in the future."

Jeff Ford, TV3 Group Director of Content, said:
“Saturday night’s fantastic UFC ratings prove that there is a real hunger for MMA in Ireland, in particular Ireland’s own star attraction and showman Conor McGregor. 3e was the first broadcaster to take the plunge and broadcast UFC Live and Free to Air and the feedback from our viewers has been great.  We would like to thank our friends and colleagues from the Ultimate Fighting Championship for their support and help and we look forward to continuing our relationship with them in the future.”
3e is the fourth biggest Irish TV channel, behind RTE1, TV3 and RTE2. It has a strong presence on Irish televisions and has established itself as the number one channel in the country outside of the traditional terrestrials, with a bigger share of viewing than Sky1, E4, Sky Living and 200+ other digital channels. The TV3 sister channel has a monthly reach of 3,004,700.

UFC Fight Night Dublin Results: Ilir Latifi Knocks Out Chris Dempsey in Round One

UFC Fight Night Dublin Results: Ilir Latifi Knocks Out Chris Dempsey in Round One

by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

Sweden's Ilir Latifi made short work of late replacement Chris Dempsey, knocking out the American at the 2.07 mark, on the preliminary card at UFC Fight Night Dublin.

The bout started with Latifi initiating the striking, catching Dempsey who fought on 2 weeks notice as a replacement for Injured Tom Lawler, with a lunging right hand. Dempsey tried to get in side and fire back with shots of his own, before shooting for a take down which was stuffed by Latifi.

Latifi fires off a huge leg kick which landed followed by another, which almost instantly slowed Dempsey down. Looking lively and visibly confident, Latifi connected with a massive right to send Dempsey thundering to the canvas. Latifi followed it up with one punch on the ground, and the referee had seen enough and stepped in to protect the American, Dempsey taking any more damage.

Following the bout Latifi:

"It is nice to come out of the fight with a fast victory. I was preparing for a tough battle. That's the most important thing - that I prepare myself. And I felt prepared and the results have shown. I loved fighting here in Dublin - the Irish fans were so supportive."

Latifi is currently on a 2 fight win streak defeating Cyrille Diabate at March's UFC Fight Night London. He is now 9-3 overall and 2-1 in the UFC.

Monday, 21 July 2014

UFC Fight Night Dublin Results: Cathal Pendred Produces Memorable Comeback to Beat Mike King

UFC Fight Night Dublin Results: Cathal Pendred Produces Memorable Comeback to Beat Mike King

by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

Cathal Pendred produced one of the greatest comeback in UFC history to defeat fellow Ultimate Fighter 19 contestant, Mike King by Rear-Naked Choke on the preliminary card at UFC Fight Night Dublin.

The bout started with a much larger King silenced the crowd shooting straight in for a takedown which he was able to land, but Pendred was able to get back to his feet almost instantly. With both fighter taking the centre of the Octagon, King landed a nice right hand that pushed Pendred back, but the Irishman was able to wrap King up and lands a take down of his own.

From the feet, King chases Pendred with with punches and drops the SBG fighter with a huge right hand. King swarms looking to end the fight early. Pendred some how manages to survive but King mounts Pendred eventually making his way to the back where he slapped on a Rear-Nake Choke. King took back mount letting the choke go,  and started pounding away wit heavy fist. With Marc Godard taking a close look at the action, a tiring King, attempted and armbar, and when he couldn’t get it and Pendred escaped to his feet, causing the Irish crowd exploded where the round closed. A strong argument could be made for a 10-8 round, with many outlets including ours scoring the bout that way.

The second round started Pendred, who looked like he had recovered from the damage he took in the first round catching a visibly fatigued King with his hand down land a couple of good right hand followed by an uppercut. King fired back with a kick to the body,which left an opening for Pendred to pick him up and slam him to the canvas. Pendred start to looked tired himself and this point couldn't keep King down and the two were back on their feet with 3 minutes left in the round. After a series of sloppy exchanges, Pendred was able to take Kings back for a double leg takedown. Pendred tied up King with a body lock, and sunk in a Rear-Naked choke that tight, and that quick King went unconscious before he could tap.

After the bout Cathal Pendred said: 
"Mike came out really strong but even when things aren't going my way, I can never count myself out. The crowd was amazing; it kept feeding my energy. I've shown that I'm an exciting fighter and that you can never count me out. I couldn't believe how excited Dana was about the fight. This is the fairytale start to my UFC career."
 Pendred improved to 14-2-1 overall and 1-0 in his UFC career. He will now like return to his natural weight class, 170lbs where he is currently enjoying a 7 fight win streak with notable wins over Che Mills, Gael Gimaud and Nicholas Musoke. 

UFC Fight Night Dublin Result: Nikita Krylov Hands Cody Donovan 3rd Straight Loss in Barnburner

UFC Fight Night Dublin Result: Nikita Krylov Hands Cody Donovan 3rd Straight Loss in Barnburner 

by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

Nikita Krylov stopped an exhausted Cody Donovan with just 3 seconds remaining in the opening round at UFC Fight Night Dublin to earn his first win in the UFC's 205lb division. The bout was part of the preliminary card in Dublin.

The bout opened with Donovan looking to land with big left hooks but Krylov was able to push the action towards the cage catching the American with a solid headkick which looked like it hurt Donovan. Donovan was able to reverse position again the cage, and take the fight to ground where the BJJ black belt attempted a armbar which Kylov was able to escape from, taking the fight back to a standing position where he caught Donovan with several solid knees.

The bout turned into a brawl with Donovan returning with hard uppercuts from the clinch, but a front kick from Krylov to the cup of Donovan halted the action to allow Donovan to recovery. When the bout restarted, The Ukrainian came out firing going back upstairs catching Donovan with a head kick which put Donovan on wobbly legs. Still in the bout though, Donovan throw a counter left which caught Krylov, dropping the fighter, where he took the back fighting for a choke. Kylov was able to defend well, and easily reverse position on a visibly tired Donovan. On top Kylov started to rain down hammerfists leaving referee Mac Goddard no choice but to step in at 4.57 of the opening round.

Krylov who now moves to 2-1 in his UFC career, and 17-4 over said following the bout:

 “I’m really happy for the win but I will see from the videos how the fight went. I’m starting to feel more and more comfortable in the Octogan each time. The first time was rough but now it feels a lot better.”

Donovan, who has now lost 3 straight fights in the UFC and will likely loss his job following the loss to Krylov said:

“He hit me with a good head kick and it was hard to recover after that. My legs were pretty wobbly, it felt like I was ice skating. My hat off to him he is a great fighter and he fought a great fight. I’m going to go home and recover. This is the third loss in a row for me so I am going to go home and think and analyse things.”

Sunday, 20 July 2014

UFC Fight Night Dublin Results: Paddy Holohan Upsets Josh Sampo

UFC Fight Night Dublin Results: Paddy Holohan Upsets Josh Sampo

by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

Underdog Paddy Holohan submitted Josh Sampo in the opening bout at UFC Fight Night Dublin at The O2 to remain unbeaten and send his Irish countrymen into hysteria. 

Holohan caught Sampo with a lead upper cut early in the opening frame, dropping his opponent, however Sampo did well to recover, locking on to an arm for a submission attempt, going belly-down on Holohan. The 26-year-old Irishman, who fights out of SBG Ireland showed excellent composure to escape, slipping his arm out of the submission attempt. From there Holohan was able to slide around to take the back of Sampo and sunk in a deep rear-naked choke which left Sampo with no choice but to tap for the first submission loss of his career and, Holohan's 8th submission victory. The tap came at 3.06 of the first round.

After the bout Holohan said:
“That was just amazing. It felt like home in there. When I go out there the hooligan just consumes my body. I just put my head down and swing at people. I’m pretty buzzing right now. I just want to thank everyone who has stood by me and supported me. I’ve had loads of message of support it’s been crazy. We’re gonna have a street party tomorrow!"
Holohan extends his upbeaten record to 10-0 with 1 draw, while Sampo moves to 11-4 losing his last 2 bouts.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Interview: George Sullivan talks Igor Araujo and Gives his Predictions for UFC Dublin

Interview: George Sullivan talks Igor Araujo and Gives his Predictions for UFC Dublin

by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

Early last week, news broke George Sullivan will be returning to the octagon to face, Igor Araujo at a UFC Fight Night event in Brazil in September. We caught up with Sullivan to discuss fighting in Brazil, his opponent Igor Araujo, and to get his predictions for UFC Fight Night Dublin.

You last fought in January, talk us through what you have been doing over last few months, and how does it feel to be back in action?
It feels great to be back in action after a long layoff. I got married and went to Hawaii for a little bit. Feels great to be back and training hard.
 Your fighting Igor Araujo in Brazil in September, how do you feel about fighting in Brazil, a notorious difficult place to win?
Going to Brazil is awesome I can't wait to travel the world and fight the worlds best. It's a honor to be in Brazil and fight there.

As far as preparing myself I don't mind getting booed, it fuels me. I fought in places and have been booed hard, but after I won they cheered. You get both types of fans, respectful ones and diehard, I wanna kill you ones haha. But all in all just getting to fight in Brazil is awesome!
And you opponent Igor Araujo, would you say this is the toughest test of your career, and how excited are you to be fighting Araujo?

Igor is a great BJJ artist and I know he's always looking for submission, I'm very excited to test myself against him. It's classic grappler vs striker [match up] and I'm always looking for the knock out, it's what I do. This fight is awesome in my opinion, our stats are opposite, yet identical - This is gonna be a great fight!

On Saturday the UFC will be in Dublin for one of the biggest MMA fights Europe has ever seen, give us you predictions for the fight.
I've got Conor winning by TKO in round 2, Gunnar by Sub - round 3, Brad by knockout round 2, and Naoyuki to take a decision over Parke.

Friday, 18 July 2014

UFC Dublin: Predictions

by Alex Dillon @_AlexDillon_

By now I am sure that you all know the UFC will be returning to Ireland on Saturday night, if you don't then you must have been locked in a dark room with no internet for the past 4 months. As with all the UFC events we have broken down the card and I have predicted how the event will go. Please read below for a full breakdown of the main card as well as predictions for who will win the prelim fights.

Featherweight: Conor McGregor (14-2, 2-0 UFC) vs Diego Brandao (18-9, 4-2 UFC)

The main event, the return of the notorious one: Conor McGregor. Having not fought since defeating Max Holloway last August in Boston, McGregor has been sitting on the sidelines rehabilitating his knee whilst still creating hype and being talked about by almost everyone.

McGregor burst into the mainstream with a scintillating KO over Marcus Brimage in his debut 17 months ago now and ever since it’s been nothing but maximum exposure for the Dublin man. He received the blackout treatment in Boston fighting on the prelims, dominated Max Holloway despite injuring his knee during the fight and there is a huge belief from himself that its only a matter of time before the featherweight gold is around his waist.

This fight was originally meant to be somewhat of a ‘grudge’ match with Cole Miller before Miller pulled out due to a hand injury so Brandao was drafted in to take his place and offer McGregor a different challenge.

Brandao has had an up and down UFC career since winning The Ultimate Fighter, he had a 3 fight win streak snapped by featherweight contender Dustin Poirier back in December, which to be honest, was an all around bad experience for him as he missed weight and also threatened to stab Poirier so it’s likely a time he’ll want to put behind him. Brandao’s head has been known to get the better of him but when he’s on fire, he is on fire and brings a significant threat to McGregor that Miller probably didn’t. The other problem with Brandao is that he tends to ‘gas’ as the fight goes on and McGregor is a machine so if his cardio isn’t up to scratch, its game over for Brandao. He’s recently moved from Jackson’s MMA to San Antonio to focus more on his BJJ which he says has benefited him and his preparation for this fight. We’ll see come fight night how prepared he is and if he really has put the past behind him.

There are arguments from all sorts of fans regarding Conor McGregor, ‘’McGregor’s the real deal’’ ‘’McGregors overhyped, never winning a title’’ One thing’s for sure though, everyone will tune in Saturday night and rightfully so, I expect McGregor to come out and dictate the fight from the off and put on an excellent performance, he’s said himself that’s what he needs to do and it’ll happen.

Win this in spectacular fashion and he’ll likely face Dustin Poirier next to elevate him further towards a title shot. Wherever this fight ends up it favours McGregor, he’ll be on Brandao from the off his skills are too much for this opponent. McGregor's too slick, too fast, too technical and too good for Brandao and I firmly believe we’ll see an even better Conor McGregor come fight night.

Prediction: McGregor via TKO


Welterweight: Gunnar Nelson (12-0-1, 3-0 UFC) vs Zak Cummings (17-3, 2-0 UFC) 

This co-main event was originally meant to feature Ryan LaFlare instead of Zak Cummings but an injury forced LaFlare out so Cummings was drafted in to fill the void. In many fans eyes, highly touted prospect Nelson hasn’t had the opportunity to really put a marker on the Welterweight due to injuries and activity but he is without doubt, a future contender.

Cummings has gone 2-0 since officially signing with the UFC after his stint on TUF 17 and has showed promise of his own with his last win coming as recent as May. Even though Cummings is a late replacement, the fascinating thing about this fight is that they are both legitimate submission fighters, although Cummings has the better wrestling so maybe we will see Nelson’s wrestling tested and subsequently see him go into deep waters.

Nelson may have had a layoff but his last outing at UFC Fight Night in London back in March proved that the time out of the cage didn’t really mean anything as he pulled out an emphatic submission victory in the 1st round. What’s more exciting about this fight is that Nelson trains alongside the main event man Conor McGregor under the tutelage of John Kavanagh at SBGi and is a massive fan favourite in Ireland and rightfully so as so far he’s shown he’s every bit of a contender just like his team mate. Regardless of Cummings wrestling pedigree, I see Nelson getting through this comfortably and with a finish.

Prediction: Nelson via Submission

Flyweight: Brad Pickett (24-8, 4-3 UFC) vs Ian McCall (12-4-1, 1-2-1 UFC)

This flyweight battle was originally scheduled for UFC London back in March but McCall pulled out through injury and was subsequently replaced by newly signed Neil Seery. The fight with Seery was Pickett’s first fight at Flyweight since the cut down from Bantamweight and in many fans eye’s he didn’t impress. Maybe it was because many believed he would steam through Seery and that he had an off day. In my opinion I believe Seery was and still is underrated and gave Pickett as good as he got that night. We’ll soon see in this fight if Pickett can handle the cut at flyweight and impress on Saturday night.

Ian McCall hasn’t had the best career so far in the UFC after coming in as ‘the best flyweight in the world’ he too has failed to live up to the hype when it comes to the big fights so this makes for a really interesting matchup.

Up until the announcement that Mighty Mouse would defend his belt against Chris Cariaso at UFC 177, both of these fighters probably believed the winner of their fight would go on to challenge MM for the title so it remains to be seen how they both treat this fight coming in now knowing that a title shot won’t happen straight away.

My issue with McCall is that he has been quite inactive, last fighting a year ago and has had his own personal issues outside of the octagon and Pickett will be out to prove a point. Personal issues and inactivity aside, Pickett is the better fighter and I expect him to come through this fight with a good performance.

Prediction: Pickett via TKO

Lightweight: Norman Parke (19-2-1, 2-0-1 UFC) vs Naoyuki Kotani (33-10-7, 0-2 UFC)

In his last outing in the UFC, TUF Smashes winner Norman Parke was unlucky to come away with just a draw and really should be 3-0 in what has been a promising UFC career so far. His opponent Kotani, has never won in the UFC but is currently riding a 13-0 win streak and boasts 25 wins via submission. With that in mind, it’s more than likely that Parke will deploy his favoured game plan of grinding down his opponents and using the clinch to his benefit. Kotani poses a risk with his BJJ but Parke should pick up the win here.

Prediction: Parke via Decision


Fight Pass Prelims


Light Heavyweight: Ilir Latifi (8-3, 1-1 UFC) vs Chris Dempsey (10-1, 0-0 UFC)
Prediction: Latifi via Submission

Flyweight: Neil Seery (13-10, 0-1 UFC) vs Phil Harris (22-11, 1-2 UFC)
Prediction: Seery via TKO 

Middleweight: Cathal Pendred (13-2-1, 0-0 UFC) vs Mike King (5-0, 0-0 UFC)
Prediction: Pendred via Decision

Middleweight: Tor Troeng (16-5-1, 1-1 UFC) vs Trevor Smith (11-5, 1-2 UFC)
Prediction: Troeng via Submission

Light Heavyweight: Cody Donovan (8-4, 1-2 UFC) vs Nikita Krylov (16-4, 1-2 UFC)
Prediction: Krylov via TKO

Flyweight: Patrick Holohan (9-0-1, 0-0 UFC) vs Josh Sampo (11-3, 1-1 UFC)
Prediction: Holohan via Submission

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Video: Dan Hardy Previews UFC Fight Night Dublin

Video: Dan Hardy Previews UFC Fight Night Dublin

by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

UFC Welterweight and EMEA commentator Dan Hardy previews UFC Fight Night Dublin.

UFC Fight Night Dublin takes place July 19th. The main card for UFC Fight Night Dublin: McGregor vs Brandao can be seen on Setanta and 3e (part of the TV3 network) in the Republic of Ireland, and BT Sports in the UK.The prelim card will be shown live exclusively on UFC Fight Pass, fans can sign up to to receive a free 7 day trial.

Check out a full schedule of fan events, including weigh-in times, fighter signings and more, here: HERE

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Paul Redmond 'Neil is on Another Level to When They Last Fought'

Paul Redmond 'Neil is on Another Level to When They Last Fought'

by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

Copyright Dolly Clew | Cage Warriors
It's been 5 years in the making but the UFC finally returns to Dublin for what promises to be a memorable night for all the fans in attendance, but none more so than the 4 Irish fighters on the card.

While all the talk will be about Conor McGregor, one of those fighters, Neil Seery, faces one of the toughest challenges in his career in the form of Phil Harris, an English flyweight who already has a win over Seery when the two previously meet in 2010.

Fighting out of Team Ryano MMA in Dublin, 34-year old Seery, a former Cage Warriors flyweight champion was given a shot in the UFC when Ian McCall dropped out of his scheduled bout with Brad Pickett in March. After a huge social media campaign to give Seery the fight against Pickett, Seery got the call and stepped in on late notice to face the British veteran. Seery lost his bout to Pickett by unanimous decision but earned praise from UFC president Dana White for his game performance.

Seery will now fight for the first time in The UFC with a full camp under his belt when he faces Phil Harris at The O2 in Dublin, July 19th and noted Cage Warriors featherweight and Team Ryano MMA teammate Paul Redmond says Seery has made the most of his camp:
'Camp's gone great for him. He's firing on all cylinders and peaking just at the right time. [He's] probably the sharpest I've ever seen him.'
A pro since 2005, Seery first fought Phil Harris at Bamma 3 back in 2010 losing by unanimous decision. Since the lost the Harris, Seery has put together a 6-2 record since the fight with 4 wins inside the distance, including a devastating body kick KO over Paul Marin. Harris on the other hand is 3-2 with 1 NC, and will need to win this bout to save his UFC career. Seery however, has a different plan in mind, wants to celebrate in front of his friends, family and countrymen but more importantly he will want to revenge his loss to Harris, and Redmond sees it coming:
'I think fighting in Dublin in The O2 is gonna be something special for him and all the Irish. Neil really is on another level to the last time they fought. My predictions Seery by KO, 1st / 2nd round all day.'
Stay tuned to for all the latest on UFC Fight Night Dublin


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