Diaz vs Woodley Rumored for UFC 219

Last night rumor came out that both Woodley and Diaz had entered fight camp. Journalists, fans, and fighters began to speculate that Woodley and Diaz were training for each other. The rumor has it that Woodley and Diaz are set to face off at the end of the year at UFC 219 in Las Vegas. With the UFC without a main event at UFC 219, this fight could live up to the billing of a main event. Diaz is a huge name in the MMA world especially after his two contests with lightweight champion Conor McGregor. Woodley did an interview with FloCombat saying how he may be announcing a fight soon, but it was not one of the obvious contenders.

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The question that is up for debate, is Diaz worthy of a title shot at 170?  I guess it depends on what lens you look at being worthy of a title shot. If you are purely looking at wins and losses at 170 pounds there is no way you can say Diaz is a viable contender. If you are looking at drawing power and if it can hold the billing for a PPV main event then Diaz is definitely worthy. If you look at the 170-pound division at the moment there is no true #1 contender at the moment. In Woodley’s defense for taking this fight, he is one of the few champions who has continuously defended his belt against the rightful #1 contender. He defended his belt twice against the hardest style matchup for anyone in the division in Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and solved the puzzle that no one could figure out in Demain Maia. So for Woodley to take a “money fight” it is not that outlandish. Overall I think this is a win for the UFC, the two fighters involved, and the fans who want to see Diaz back in the octagon. The real only losers are the top contenders like Robbie Lawler, Rafael Dos Anjos, Stephen Thompson, and Colby Covington.

UFC Norfolk Results

UFC Norfolk did not disappoint! Check out all the results from Saturday night below!

Main Card

Dustin Poirier def. Anthony Pettis
 via TKO (injury) at 2:08 of R3

Matt Brown def. Diego Sanchez via KO (elbow) at 3:44 of R1

Andrei Arlovski def. Junior Albini 
via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Cezar Ferreira def. Nate Marquardt via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Raphael Assuncao def. Matthew Lopez
 via KO (punch) at 1:50 of R3

Clay Guida def. Joe Lauzon via TKO (punches) at 1:07 of R1

Prelims

Marlon Moraes def. John Dodson via split decision (30-27, 27-30, 30-27)

Tatiana Suarez def. Viviane Pereira
 via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

Sage Northcutt def. Michel Quinones via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Nina Ansaroff def. Angela Hill via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Fight Pass Prelims

Sean Strickland def. Court McGee via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Jake Collier def. Marcel Fortuna
 via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Karl Roberson def. Darren Stewart via submission at 3:41 of R1

Huge Fights Cancelled due to Injuries

Yesterday, news came out that Frankie Edgar was forced to pull out of the UFC 218 main event. Frankie Edgar was looking to dethrone Max Holloway and take home the featherweight title. Edgar would be on of the few to capture two titles in two different divisions if he was to be successful. In an Instagram post, Frankie Edgar told the fans that he would be back to full contact in six weeks.

This is a real blow to the UFC card losing the main event and we will see if they find a replacement for the fight. Cub Swanson did have a fight scheduled in December with Brian Ortega so could the UFC take him off that card and move him to UFC 218 to challenge for the featherweight title. Other fighters coaches analysts and fans have clamored for Swanson to replaced Edgar at UFC 218. Swanson went to Twitter with a live reaction when he heard the news of Edgar pulling out.

Then hours after this more news broke that Dominick Cruz had to pull out in his fight at UFC 219 versus Jimmie Rivera. The news came out from Ariel Helwani that Cruz had suffered a broken arm and was forced to pull out.

No one has any idea if they find another fight for Jimmie Rivera at UFC 219 or if they scratch him off the card. One possibility would be for them to scratch Rivera off the card and have him fight Cody Garbrandt in the spring of 2019 to decide who is the next to challenge TJ Dillashaw. Hopefully, the UFC can stay away from the injury bug for the rest of 2017 because this year injuries or other issues have caused many fights to fall through.

Rose Namajunas Steals the Show at UFC 217

UFC 217 was the craziest night of the year for fighting. Not because of just the results, but how the results happened. The atmosphere at Madison Square Garden was electric and made the UFC 217 fight card unforgettable.

Hendricks and Paulo Costa kicked off the main card and it was clear the size advantage leaned towards Costa. Costa looked noticeably bigger standing next to Hendricks as even the commentators went on to say how Costa looked like a light heavyweight and Hendricks should be at welterweight. Hendricks was able to land some shots in the first round, but Costa never looked to be in danger as he got the TKO victory over Hendricks in Round 2.

In the next fight, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson was able to keep Jorge Masvidal from getting inside to land heavy shots on Thompson. Thompson used incredible footwork and unorthodox attacks to keep Masvidal off balance and earn the unanimous decision. After watching a very talented striker in Masvidal struggle to be comfortable against Thompson credit should go to UFC Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley for being able to defend his belt twice against this awkward style. After this was where things started to become absolutely unthinkable.

Rose Namajunas vs Joanna Jedrzejczyck

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In the words of the light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, who was on the call for UFC 217, “THUG ROSE! THUG ROSE! THUG ROSE!” This fight left everyone at a loss for words. No one expected this performance from Rose over Joanna and especially in this fashion. Most people didn’t give Namajunas any chance of taking out the “strawweight queen”. For those that did think Rose had a realistic chance they figured it would be through a grappling exchange where Rose has a knack for being able to take her opponents back. I don’t think anyone except Rose and her coaches Trevor Whitman and boyfriend Pat Barry thought that they could put Joanna away from the feet in Round 1! When Joanna fell to the devastating left hook the crowd sat speechlessly and when referee Big John McCarthy broke up the onslaught MSG absolutely erupted. Credit to Rose on a remarkable performance. This could have been the card and people would have went home happy, but there was still two more title fights on the card.

TJ Dillashaw vs Cody Garbrandt

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This was the fight I feel most fight fans were looking forward to the most on the card. Everyone was invested in the bad blood between the two, their teams, and the unique skill set both posses. In the first round, both were landing shots, but Garbrandt tended to land the harder shots. At the end of round one Cody dropped TJ and TJ was able to protect himself to get out of round one. Going into the second round TJ was able to land a head kick on Cody to rock him. Cody was able to recover until later in the round Dillashaw was able to land a right hand that dropped Garbrandt and after some ground pound was stopped by the referee. After the fight, both fighters embraced and showed true class as TJ Dillashaw was now the new bantamweight champion of the world.

Georges St. Pierre vs Michael Bisping

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Now for the return of Georges St. Pierre as no one really knew what to expect going into this fight. Was Georges going to look like the Georges of before or was ring rust going to be real? Answer: He looked better than he ever did before. St. Pierre was able to win round one with a good mixture of his top-level wrestling and staying behind his jab. In round two we started to see some momentum swing towards Bisping, and Georges looked to be slowing down. In round three St. Pierre was able to land a short left hook and after some ground and pound St. Pierre was able to take Bisping’s back and choke him unconscious. All of Madison Square Garden was on their feet as now everyone knew GEORGES ST. PIERRE IS BACK!

 

Khabib Asks for Ferguson at UFC 219

On this weeks edition of the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Khabib Nurmagomedov called for Tony Ferguson at UFC 219. If you remember, Khabib and Tony Ferguson were scheduled to fight in Brooklyn at UFC 209, but Khabib was forced to pull out due to weight cutting complications. On the MMA Hour, Khabib went on to say he that he believes Ferguson is the real champion. He also went on to say that the UFC should do Nate Diaz vs McGregor 3 and him vs Tony. Die-hard fans seemed to be very interested in the Tony vs Khabib fight back in March, but did that ship sail, or are fans still very much interested in that bout. He went on to say how he knows he needs to fight and does not want 2017 to be a waste for him, his family, and his fans. Khabib said how Ferguson is the dream fight for him, and how he wants it at UFC 219. Do you think the UFC brass books him vs Ferguson and Conor vs Nate next?

Guys on the Rise

For this topic what I did was pick one guy in each division outside of the top ten that by the end of 2018 could make a huge climb up the division. In most cases, these guys are younger guys who have shown flashes of potential in recent fights. This is purely based off of each division in the UFC and the UFC Rankings.

Flyweight- Magomed Bibilatov

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Despite just losing to John Moraga at UFC 216, Bibilatov has huge promise in the flyweight division. Prior to the UFC, the Russian born Bibilatov was able to become the ACB Bantamweight Grand Prix winner and the World Series of Fighting Flyweight title. Bibilatov is highly regarded in talks around the practice room with coach Mark Henry, as well as fighters Frankie Edgar, Edson Barbosa, Eddie Alvarez, and Marlon Moraes. Before his first fight, Fox Sports wrote an article on how Bibilatov has potential to do big things in the flyweight division (you can check that article out here http://foxs.pt/2oRpUXw). After a devastating knockout defeat to John Moraga in which Bibilatov was a huge favorite, Bibilatov will look to rebound and climb back up the flyweight rankings.

Bantamweight- Cody Stamann

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At this moment Stamann is not ranked in the top 15 in the bantamweight division. Stamann is a big bantamweight who just beat hot prospect Tom Duquesnoy at UFC 216. Prior to the bout, Stamann felt slighted by the MMA world for not getting the shine Duquensoy got in the lead up to the fight. After this fight, Stamann is sure to be on the MMA world’s radar. After watching the fight I was impressed with Stamann’s striking ability against a highly regarded striking prospect in Duquesnoy. Stamann was able to mix in his wrestling nicely with his striking and is definitely someone to watch out for in the bantamweight division.

Featherweight- Dohoo Choi

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Most notably known for his bloodbath fight against Cub Swanson, Dohoo Choi has a fighting style that is very fan friendly. Almost a full year since the Swanson fight, Choi has not competed since then. Activity could be one factor that halts Choi from making a rise up this division as he has really only fought one fight per year as of late. If Choi is able to be active he can be a huge player in the featherweight division.

Lightweight- Al Iaquinta

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Quite frankly, Iaquinta has the talent level right to be ranked higher than 11 on the UFC Rankings. In his UFC career, Iaquinta has wins over Diego Sanchez, the #4 ranked welterweight Jorge Masvidal, and the man who just fought for the interim lightweight title, Kevin Lee. Due to injuries and other disputes with UFC brass has not been able to be as active as he may have liked. “Ragin’ Al” is scheduled to fight Paul Felder in Detroit on December 2nd. With a win here, expect a top ten opponent for Iaquinta as it is well deserved.

Welterweight- Mike Perry

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Recently cracking the top 15 in the welterweight division Mike “Platinum” Perry is a welterweight to look out for. Perry has a record of 11-1 with knockout victories over Alex Reyes and Jake Ellenberger. Over time now, Perry has grown on many fans for his exciting fighting style, as well as his strong Twitter presence. Perry is booked for December 16th against #9 ranked Santiago Ponzinibbio in a fight that could launch him into the top ten in the rankings.

Middleweight- Brad Tavares

Brad-Tavares

Tavares is coming off a dominant win at UFC 216 against Thales Leites. Prior to this fight, Tavares was not ranked but is currently ranked #13 in the Middleweight division. Tavares has wins over Elias Theodorou, Nate Marquardt, Lorenz Larkin, and Phil Baroni. Most of Tavares losses have only come against top contenders in the middleweight division such as Robert Whittaker, and Yoel Romero. Look for Tavares to make a climb up this division that has five fighters over the age of 37 ranked ahead of him.

Light Heavyweight- Tyson Pedro

UFC 209: Pedro v Craig

In a division that is starving for young talent, Tyson Pedro may be the answer. The 26-year-old has knockout power as well as a jiu-jitsu background. Pedro is coming off a rather lackluster loss to Ilir Latifi at UFC 215. Look for Pedro to face another top 15 opponent in his next bout, possibly Gian Villante.

Heavyweight- Curtis Blaydes

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The heavyweight division is another division that is in dire need of young talent. Chicago resident Curtis Blaydes may be able to provide young excitement in this division. Blaydes is currently ranked #12 (tied with Andrei Arlovski) in the heavyweight division is big heavyweight known for his physical attributes. Blaydes is currently booked against #9 ranked Aleksei Oleinik at UFC 217. A win here will certainly jump Blaydes into the top ten and an even bigger fight next.

Biggest Upcoming Fights to Close out 2017

With the end of the year wrapping up, the UFC has put together a great list of Pay Per Views as well as free fight nights to finish the last quarter of the year. Below is a list of all the best fights to finish off the end of the year.

UFC Fight Night Gdansk, Poland Oct 21th

Donald Cerrone vs. Darren Till

UFC Fight Night Sao Paulo, Brazil Oct 28th

Derek Brunson vs. Lyoto Machida
Demain Maia vs. Colby Covington

UFC 217 Madison Square Garden New York, NY Nov 4th

UFC-217-Cody-Garbrandt-vs-TJ-Dillashaw-1

Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre
Cody Garbrandt vs. TJ Dillashaw
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas
Stephen Thompson vs. Jorge Masvidal

UFC Fight Night Norfolk, Virginia Nov 11th

Dustin Poirier vs. Anthony Pettis

UFC Fight Night Sydney, Australia Nov 18th

Fabricio Werdum vs. Marcin Tybura

UFC Fight Night Shanghai, China Nov 25th

Anderson Silva vs. Kelvin Gastelum

UFC 218 Detroit, MI Dec 2th

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Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar
Alistair Overeem vs. Francis Ngannou
Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje
Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis

UFC Fight Night Fresno, CA Dec 9th

Cub Swanson vs. Brian Ortega

UFC Fight Night Winnipeg, Canada Dec 16th

dos anjos vs lawler

Robbie Lawler vs Rafael Dos Anjos
Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas

UFC 219 Las Vegas, NV Dec 30th

Main Event TBD
Dominick Cruz vs. Jimmie Rivera