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Tag: UFC bookings

John Moraga Out of UFC on FOX 9, Replaced by Turkish Dude Named “Alp”


(Watch this video right now. We’ll explain later. Props: Gavin Halbert via MiddleEasy)

The injury curse that’s been plaguing UFC on FOX 9 (December 14th, Sacramento) has already claimed Anthony Pettis, Ian McCall, Kelvin Gastelum, and Jamie Varner, turning a once-loaded free show into a half-decent one that we’ll still watch because OMFG BROWN vs. CONDIT YOU GUYS. Today, we regretfully add one more body to the casualty list: Former flyweight title contender John Moraga, who has pulled out of his prelim match against Darren Uyenoyama due to an undisclosed injury that will sideline him for four weeks.

Stepping up on short notice to face Uyenoyama will be Alptekin “Alp” Ozkilic, an 8-1 native of Turkey who now trains out of St. Charles MMA in St. Peters, Missouri. Luckily, Ozkilic is more qualified to compete in the Octagon than some other people we could mention. His only career defeat came in a decision loss to current UFC flyweight Chico Camus in April 2012, and since then Alp has won three straight fights, including a 30-second TKO of former WEC mainstay Antonio Banuelos.

But it’s Ozkilic’s TKO of Josh “Shortstack” Robinson from February of this year that will surely become a viral-video sensation. Captured in the video above, we see Ozkilic on top, bashing Robinson with elbows. Then, in one of the dumbest displays of bravery absolute fucking stupidity we’ve ever seen, Robinson shouts “COME ON HIT ME YOU MOTHERFUCKER,” and Ozkilic happily obliges, laying into Robinson’s head with even harder elbows. There’s some controversy about what happens next. Robinson’s arms appear to go limp and the referee jumps in to stop the fight, but apparently Robinson wasn’t defending himself on purpose, and he immediately protests the stoppage. As Josh writes in the comments section on the YouTube video:

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UFC Booking Alert: Cerrone vs. Martins, Amagov vs. High Added to January Cards


(Hey, right back atcha buddy. / Photo via @Cowboycerrone)

Though he was considering a drop to featherweight following his recent submission win over Evan Dunham at UFC 167, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone will remain at lightweight for his next Octagon appearance, which will take place at UFC on FOX 10: Henderson vs. Thomson (January 25th, Chicago), just two months after his last fight. It was confirmed over the weekend that Cerrone will face Adriano Martins, a Brazilian veteran and former BJJ world champion who won his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 32 with a Submission of the Night-earning armbar of Daron Cruickshank.

Prior to the Cruickshank win, Martins scored a decision win against Jorge Gurgel at Strikeforce’s final show in January. Those are fairly impressive victories for a fresh UFC prospect, but a meeting with Cerrone is a major step up in competition. We wouldn’t go as far as to call it a squash match, but it’s certainly an unexpected booking for Cowboy, who has consistently faced well-known opponents throughout his UFC career. Still, it’s unlikely that you’ll hear him complain about it. The man loves to fight, and he has to pay for bull-feed somehow.

In other booking news…

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ICYMI: Benson Henderson vs. Josh Thomson Booked for UFC on FOX 10 Headliner


(Hastily thrown-together poster via FansofUFConFOX)

In the midst of all the panic and fury surrounding UFC 167‘s aftermath, a rather notable fight-booking completely slipped past us. Apparently, Josh Thomson and Benson Henderson are fighting in the main event of UFC on FOX 10 (January 25th, Chicago). I had no idea. I found this out randomly today while reading one of Crooklyn’s interviews on BloodyElbow, in which Thomson describes his match-up with Henderson as “like looking in a mirror” and suggests that Anthony Pettis doesn’t really need surgery for his PCL tear.

This will be Henderson’s first fight since losing his UFC lightweight title to Pettis in August — and marks his return to FOX, the channel that didn’t quite make him a star. As for Thomson, he’s been on ice since his TKO of Nate Diaz in April, and was supposed to fight Pettis for the belt next month at UFC on FOX 9 before Showtime pulled out.

With TJ Grant’s return still in question, the winner of this fight would seem poised for a title shot. Your predictions, please.

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‘Jacare’ Souza vs. Francis Carmont Booked as UFC Fight Night 36 Co-Main Event


(He used to be one of the greatest middleweights in the world. Now he’s just another statistic. / Fan art via @UFCONFOX)

Already headlined by Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi, UFC Fight Night 36 will feature a second high-profile middleweight matchup in its co-main event. The UFC announced yesterday that Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Francis Carmont will also meet at the February 15th show in Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil.

Souza’s recent TKO of Yushin Okami, gave him his second win in the UFC and his fifth-straight win overall; his last four fights have all ended by first-round stoppage. The former Strikeforce middleweight champion is quickly becoming a top UFC contender at 185 pounds, but to stay “in the mix,” he’ll have to find a way to beat Carmont, the French veteran who has gone 6-0 in the UFC since making his Octagon debut two years ago. Carmont most recently cruised to a unanimous decision win over Costa Philippou at UFC 165, using a takedown-heavy gameplan that Philippou clearly wasn’t expecting.

Though UFC Fight Night 36 was originally reported to take place on February 8th with a live broadcast on FOX Sports 2, the UFC decided to bump it back a week, and the event is now slated to air on FOX Sports 1.

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Luke Rockhold vs. Costa Philippou Booked for Main Event of Strikeforce Challengers UFC Fight Night 35


(Luke’s been training hard with his acting coach, Tim Kennedy. / Props: @lukerockhold)

Eleven days after swinging through Singapore with UFC Fight Night 34: Ellenberger vs. Saffiedine, the UFC will be hosting another completely non-essential Fight Night card in Georgia. The UFC confirmed last week that UFC Fight Night 35 will take place Wednesday, January 15th at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, GA.

Headlining the event will be a five-round middleweight bout between Luke Rockhold and Costa Philippou — both of whom are coming off losses. Rockhold became one of Vitor Belfort’s head-kick KO victims during his UFC debut in May, and then pulled out of a UFC 166 matchup with Tim Boetsch due to a knee injury. As for Philippou, the Cypriot striker just had a five-fight win streak snapped when he was dominated by Francis Carmont at UFC 165, losing by unanimous decision.

Rockhold and Philippou still rank among the better contenders in the UFC’s surging 185-pound division, but their last performances wouldn’t seem to qualify them for a UFC headlining spot, even on an irrelevant small-market Fight Night show. But hey, nobody’s forcing you to watch it, and if anything crazy happens, we’ll be sure to link to the GIF on our Facebook page. That’s the CagePotato Promise™.

Two other bouts — Cole Miller vs. Sam Sicilia and T.J. Dillashaw vs. Mike Easton — have also been reported for Fight Night 35, which marks the UFC’s first stop in Georgia since Jones vs. Evans in April 2012. The event is slated to air on FOX Sports 1.

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Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira Confirmed Scratched From UFC 170, Feb. 22nd in Las Vegas [UPDATED, WTF]


(Damn. Even his rope is fabulous. / Photo via GQ)

UPDATE: Uh…just kidding. MMAJunkie reports that the Jones vs. Teixeira fight will *not* take place at UFC 170, as Jones will be unavailable for an undisclosed reason. This is the second time that this shit has happened.

The previously announced light-heavyweight title fight between champion Jon Jones and challenger Glover Teixeira will headline UFC 170, scheduled for February 22nd at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The date and venue were announced on yesterday’s edition of UFC Tonight.

Jones is coming off his record-setting sixth title-defense, which came in a squeaker against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 in September. The hard-slugging Teixeira is riding one of the longest win streaks in the sport — 20 straight victories, unbroken by draws or no-contests — and TKO’d Ryan Bader in September to pick up his fifth win in the UFC.

UFC 170 marks the UFC’s second pay-per-view event scheduled for February 2014, and means that three of the UFC’s nine titles will be up for grabs that month, including the bantamweight and featherweight title fights slated for UFC 169 on February 1st. And of course, the Machida vs. Mousasi fight will also take place that month in Brazil. Rest up now, fight fans.

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Ryan LaFlare Rolls the Dice, Will Fight Court McGee at UFC on FOX 9 After Five-Week Layoff


(Ryan sticks out like a tall white guy in a room full of Blackzilians. I really want that saying to catch on. / Photo via @RLaFlare)

Let me start with an embarrassing admission: As I was checking out the UFC Fight Night 32 card last week, I was shocked to learn that welterweight Ryan LaFlare was not in fact making his UFC debut that night. Apparently he’d beaten Ben Alloway by decision on the prelims of the Mousasi vs. Latifi* card in April. I had no idea; I’d never heard of the dude before. Anyway, LaFlare is now 2-0 in the UFC (following his decision win against Santiago Ponzinibbio over the weekend), and has a chance to move to 3-0 next month when he fights Court McGee at UFC on FOX 9.

That’s right folks, LaFlare has agreed to step up as a short-notice injury replacement for Kelvin Gastelum, who was forced out of his scheduled match with McGee earlier this week due to a torn knee ligament. Considering that UFC on FOX 9 is scheduled for December 14th, LaFlare will have just five weeks between fights. It’s a gamble, but it’s one that a relatively anonymous 9-0 prospect can afford to make. If he wins, he’s just beaten a TUF winner on a televised card. If he loses…wait, who the hell is Ryan LaFlare again? This is the Long Island native’s opportunity to make his name. Considering that he’s already 30 years old — and was completely inactive from 2011-2012 — the dude needs to make some hay while the sun is shining, so to speak.

And in case you missed the update to our post about Kelvin Gastelum and Jamie Varner’s injuries, Bobby Green is also making a quick turnaround for the 12/14 card. Following his controversial TKO win against James Krause at Fight for the Troops 3, he’ll be filling in for Varner against Pat Healy.

* Hey Joe Silva, are you gonna book Ilir Latifi’s follow-up match any time soon, or what? The Latifi Nation can’t wait any longer.

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Alexander Gustafsson vs. Jimi Manuwa Booked to Headline March 8th UFC Fight Night Event in London


(If you stare at this photo for 30 seconds without blinking, your calf muscle will explode. True story. / Props: Getty)

Update: It’s official.

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira’s latest injury has opened the door for an undefeated prospect to get a huge opportunity. Gareth A. Davies from The Telegraph is reporting that undefeated Nigerian-English light-heavyweight Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa will step in as the replacement opponent for Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of UFC Fight Night 36, which is slated for March 8th in London. (Technically, FrontRowBrian reported this two days ago, but nobody believed him.)

Whereas Gustafsson vs. Lil’ Nog felt like a squash match intended to get Gustafsson an easy road back to a title fight — those are Jon Jones’s words, not ours — Gustafsson vs. Manuwa could be legitimately dangerous for the Swedish star. Manuwa may be lacking in terms of big-fight experience, but his record is terrifying: a perfect 14-0, with all fights finished before the third round, and his last two UFC appearances ending with his opponents suffering spontaneous leg injuries. But the Mauler ain’t skurred. As he told The Telegraph:

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Report: “Crusher” Kawajiri to Make UFC Debut Against Hacran Dias in Singapore


(Photo by Anton Tabuena/BloodyElbow)

If a new report from FightSport Asia is accurate, Japanese veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri will indeed make his Octagon debut at the UFC’s January 4th card in Singapore (aka UFC Fight Night 34). Carrying a 4-0 record since dropping to featherweight in 2011, the 35-year-old “Crusher” will face off against Hacran Dias, the Nova Uniao product who has gone 1-1 in the UFC’s 145-pound division. The fight will mark Kawajiri’s second fight in Singapore, following his first-round submission of Donald Sanchez at ONE FC: War of the Lions in March.

Kawajiri has been inactive for all of 2013, but longtime MMA fans will surely remember his appearances in PRIDE and Dream, including the classic wars he had against Eddie Alvarez and Takanori Gomi. We’ve placed both those fights after the jump for your enjoyment. UFC Fight Night 34 is slated to go down at the Marina Bay Sands in Marina Bay, Singapore, and will likely be headlined by Jake Ellenberger vs. Tarec Saffiedine.

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UFC Booking Alert: Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi to Headline FOX Sports 2 Event, Feb. 8th in Brazil


(Come February, we’ll find out if “Middleweight Machida” is on par with “Motivated Penn” and “Broke Fitch.” / Image via Getty)

Good idea: Booking a stylistically interesting match between a resurgent Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi for February 8th in Jaraguá do Sul, Santa Catarina, Brazil.

Bad idea: Booking it as the main event of a UFC Fight Night card on FOX Sports 2…because Machida main-eventing on that channel worked so well the first time.

Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi is a fight that’ll make hardcore fans happy. It’s one of those matches where you can’t help but go “Hmm, I really wonder how that’s gonna play out,” when you hear that it’s been booked. That’s what we did at CagePotato HQ. We stroked our burgeoning beards and pondered who would win.

Machida is coming off a dominant head-kick knockout of Mark Munoz, in the Dragon’s debut at 185 pounds. Mousasi, while on a four-fight winning streak, hasn’t competed since April 2013. By the time he steps into the cage against Machida in February, the Armenian will have nearly a year’s worth of ring rust.

No other matchups have yet been announced for the 2/8 Fight Night card, which will take place at the Arena Jaragua, the same venue that previously hosted Belfort vs. Rockhold. So will February’s lack of baseball produce a considerable uptick in ratings? Or is this one of those international events that us North Americans aren’t supposed to care about in the first place? Either way, we’ll keep you posted on any more updates for this card, or if either combatant pulls a Lil’ Nog.

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