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UFC 265: Lewis vs Gane – Preview

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The UFC will touch down in Houston this weekend for a stellar pay-per-view event. The main attraction will see hometown heavyweight hero Derrick Lewis look to take the interim title against surging Frenchman Cyril Gane. That caps off a card that’s set to deliver on all cylinders.

Let’s take a closer look!

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(#2) Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) vs (#3) Cyril Gane (9-0) – interim heavyweight championship bout

With Francis Ngannou seemingly on the sidelines, either Derrick Lewis or Cyril Gane will leave the Octagon with 12lbs of interim heavyweight gold.

Riding 4 straight wins since his first failed title attempt, Derrick Lewis is determined to finally realise a UFC belt. He’ll be hoping to connect with his patented KO power this weekend. His heavy hands have given him the distinction of the promotion’s KO king, with 12 under his belt in the Octagon. ‘The Black Beast‘ carries his power up to the final seconds, so don’t be surprised by a comeback knockout.

Quickly shifting from a hot prospect to title contender, France’s Cyril Gane appears to be on a meteoric rise for superstardom. With high-level kickboxing backed by a solid ground game, he has amassed a perfect 9-0 record thus far. His 5 round shutout of Alexander Volkov proved he is more than capable of hanging with the elite. ‘Bon Gamin‘ could very well be walking away with a world championship in just his 10th pro outing.

(#5) Jose Aldo (29-7) vs (#8) Pedro Muhnoz (19-5, 1 NC) – bantamweight bout

Jose Aldo continues his climb up bantamweight ladder when he takes on dangerous Pedro Muhnoz.

Already established as one of the all-time greats in MMA, Jose Aldo has his eyes set on 135lb gold. To do that, he’ll have to show up in prime form against his opponent this Saturday. ‘Scarface‘ possesses lethal leg kicks and impeccable takedown defense that have made him a legend of the sport.

A staple of the division for years now, Brazil’s Pedro Muhnoz has similar goals to his fellow countryman’s. Always ready to put on a show, Muhnoz possesses an aggressive, brutalizing Muay Thai style. A win over a top 5 opponent could easily place ‘The Young Punisher‘ into title contention.5

(#5) Michael Chiesa (18-4) vs (#6) Vicente Luque (20-7-1) – welterweight bout

Two top welterweight prospects will meet in the featured bout with a potential title shot at stake.

Going undefeated since his move to 170lbs, Michael Chiesa is now an established name at welterweight. With wins over the like of Rafael dos Anjos and Neil Magny, he is edging closer to challenging for the world title. His suffocating grappling is a nightmare for anyone and everyone at welterweight.

Vicente Luque got a big test in Tyron Woodley last time out, and absolutely capitalised. His power and aggressiveness once again proved to be too much for his opponent. If he can implement the gameplan that got him to where he is now against Chiesa, we may be talking about ‘The Silent Assassin‘ in title contention.

Song Yadong (16-5-1, 1 NC) vs Casey Kenney (16-3-1) – bantamweight bout

Courtesy of MMADNA

Exciting bantamweights Song Yadong and Casey Kenney will look to get back into win column in the opening bout.

China’s Song Yadong has become known as one of the most entertaining 135lb fighters on the roster. Always ready to push the pace and pour on the pressure, he blends traditional martial arts with modern MMA techniques in his striking. At only 23 years old, ‘The Kung Fu Monkey‘ still has the potential to realise a title in the future.

Also hoping to pick up a win is Arizona’s Casey Kenney. A credentialed grappler with experience in judo, BJJ and wrestling, Kenney has made a name for himself as an action fighter. If he can continue to combine his evolving striking with his grappling, we may see the 26 year old in the title picture.

Bobby Green (27-11-1) vs Rafael Fiziev (9-1) – lightweight bout

Courtesy of MMADNA

155lb veteran Bobby Green will look to hold back the oncoming forces of surging kickboxer Rafael Fiziev.

A lightweight mainstay since 2013, Bobby Green is most well-known for his all-out wars. He uses volume boxing, backed by a solid ground game, to ware his opponents down until the KO comes. ‘King’ Green is hoping to make it 4-1 in his last 5 with a win on Saturday.

Becoming one of the most respected prospects on the roster, Rafael Fiziev has all the hype in the world coming into UFC 265. His all-action style, combined with almost flawless defense, have made him a fan favourite after only 2 UFC appearances. A win over a name like Green will mean big things for the young Kyrgyzstani.

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What fight are you most excited for? Make sure to let us know in the comment section!

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COPA COMBATE: Brackets Announced For One-Night Tournament, $100,000 on the line

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Combate Global today announced the official brackets and first, or quarterfinal stage, matchups for its coveted “COPA COMBATE” one-night, eight-man, $100,000 grand prize bantamweight (135 pounds) tournament on Sunday, Dec. 12, live on Paramount+ from Miami, Fla.

Paramount+ live coverage of “COPA COMBATE” will begin with a pre-show at 9:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. CT, and will continue with the live fight action, beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/9:00 p.m. CT.

In one bracket, Carlos Briseño (13-2) of Mexico will face off with Cristian “El Scorpio” Barraza (7-3) of Chile, and Frans “The Zulu Irishman” Mlambo (10-5) of Ireland will battle Jose “The Mercenary” Zarauz (22-8-1) of Peru.

In the opposite bracket, Leo Muniz (6-1) of the U.S. will square off with Pierre “The French Hawaiian” Daguzan (6-5) of France, and Kevin Cordero (12-2) of Spain will collide with Luciano “El Aguila” Ramos (8-6) of Argentina.

The winners of the two quarterfinal bouts in each bracket will square off with each other in the semifinal stage of the tournament, and the two semifinal stage fight winners will face each other in the championship stage of action.

Carlos Briseño vs. Cristian Barraza

The 31-year-old Briseño of Mexico City holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and is a member of the Bonebreakers fight camp.  He enters La Jaula, the Combate Global competition cage, on a two-fight win streak after earning a unanimous decision over Adam Martinez in what was Briseño’s Combate Global debut on October 1.

The 28-year-old Barraza of Santiago is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt who has notched all 7 of his professional career wins by way of submission.  He is coming off of a first round (2:01) armbar submission of Mexico’s Diego Silva on October 22.

Frans Mlambo vs. Jose Zarauz

Mlambo, a 30-year-old protégé of famed trainer John Kavanagh and former International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) world championships gold medalist, will become the first fighter in history to represent Ireland in the “COPA COMBATE” tournament.  To date, Mlambo has produced 8 of his 10 career wins via (T)KO or submission, and will enter “COPA COMBATE” on a two-fight win streak.

Fighting out of Lima, the 28-year-old Zarauz holds the most professional experience of any of the “COPA COMBATE” tournament entrants, and will enter La Jaula for the second time in 2021 after securing a unanimous decision win over Fernando Noriega in a regional event in Peru on July 17.

Leo Muniz vs. Pierre Daguzan

The 31-year-old Muniz is a resident of Tobyhanna, Pa. and a native of The Bronx, N.Y.  He put together back-to-back victories over Team Alpha Male member Hector “El Matador” Fajardo on May 29 and August 13, respectively, to secure an entry to “COPA COMBATE.”

At 35 years of age, Daguzan, a native of Versailles, Yvelines and resident of Honolulu, Hawaii, is the eldest competitor in the tournament field.  He holds a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and is coming off a unanimous decision win over Carlos Puente, Jr. in Combate Global action on July 16.

Kevin Cordero vs. Luciano Ramos

The 22-year-old Cordero of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, is the number one pound-for-pound rising star out of Spain, and the youngest of the eight tournament entrants.  He has claimed 9 of his 12 professional wins via (T)KO or submission, including his last start and Combate Global debut on September 3, when he produced a first round (4:59) submission (triangle choke) of veteran battler Ricky Bandejas.

Ramos is a 25-year-old finisher who hails from Concordia, and who relocated to Stockton, Calif. last year in order to train with the team founded by famed MMA siblings Nick and Nate Diaz.  Since making the leap to the Diaz camp, Ramos, who has achieved six of eight career wins by way of (T)KO or submission, has been victorious in both of his MMA bouts in 2021, most recently defeating Keilen Fantroy via first round (1:54) submission (triangle choke) on July 31.

In two previously announced women’s bouts that will be featured on the “COPA COMBATE” card in addition to the tournament, Criszaida Adames (5-1) will throw down with Caroline “Taz” Gallardo (5-4) at strawweight (115 pounds), while Lucero “La Loba” Acosta (2-2) will square off with Rosselyn Chavira (1-0) at flyweight (125 pounds). 

The tournament will also be supported with two “reserve” bouts.  Should any of the tournament’s quarterfinal stage winners be unable to continue his bid in the semifinal stage due to injury, the winner of one of the tournament reserve bouts will replace the injured winner in the tournament’s semifinal stage.  

In one tournament reserve bout, Felipe “Pipe” Vargas (7-2) of San Jose, Calif. via Bogota, Colombia will take on unbeaten Diego “El Niño” Gomez Manzur (4-0) of Santiago, Chile and, in the second tournament reserve contest, Ricky Bandejas (14-6) of Brick, N.J. via Coconut Creek, Fla. will face Alan “Beche” Cantu (9-7) of Monterrey, N.L., Mexico.

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Jose “Froggy” Estrada headlines Combate Global Dec. 3 show against Martin Bravo

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Combate Global today announced a six-fight Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event, live on Paramount+ on Friday, Dec. 3 from Miami, Fla. In the featherweight (145 pounds) main event, hard-hitting American star Jose “Froggy” Estrada (7-2) will square off with The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 3 reality television series winner, Martin “El Toro” Bravo (12-3).
 
The 30-year-old Estrada of Oxnard, Calif. secured his career-best victory to date on July 2, defeating seasoned Nicaraguan star Leonardo “Chimmy” Morales by way of majority decision.
 
The result marked Estrada’s only victory to date that has gone to the judges’ scorecards.  All six of his other wins have come via (T)KO or submission within two rounds of action.
 
Hailing from Rosarito, B.C., Mexico and fighting out of Newton, N.J. the 28-year-old Bravo made his Combate Global debut in 2021, scoring a first round (1:09) TKO (punches) on veteran Andrew “The Beast” Whitney on September 17.
 
In a featured strawweight (115 pounds) contest, Stephanie “Macaquinha” Frausto (8-8) of Dublin, Calif. will face Camila Rivarola (3-3-1) of Montevideo, Uruguay via Stockholm, Sweden.
 
The other featured main card bout will pit Tommy “The Spaniard” Aaron (9-5) of Los Angeles, Calif. against Ivan “Choko” Castillo (21-13) of Ensenada, B.C., Mexico at welterweight (170 pounds).
 
In preliminary card action, Jonathan Sepulveda (9-3) of Isabela, Puerto Rico will throw down with Adrian Garcia (6-1) of Miami, Fla. at a catchweight of 130 pounds.
 
“Slick” Rick Zelada (1-0) of Los Angeles will meet Gustavo “Volcan” Navarrete (0-1) of Chandler, Ariz. at bantamweight (135 pounds).
 
Elizabeth Avila (0-2) of Mexico City, Mexico will look for her first professional victory in an atomweight (105 pounds) fight against Tamika Jones (0-0) of Las Vegas, Nev.

Paramount+ live coverage will begin with a Combate Global pre-show at 10:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. CT, and will continue with the live fight action, beginning at 11:00 p.m. ET/10:00 p.m. CT.
 

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Sergio Pettis looking to follow in his brother Anthony’s footsteps and earn two belts

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Sergio Pettis won the Bellator Bantamweight World Championship belt opposite Juan Archuleta back in May. He will defend his belt for the first time against Kyoji Horiguchi at Bellator 272 on December 3rd.

The younger Pettis has big plans and wants to match his brother’s legacy. Anthony Pettis captured WEC and UFC in his long and storied career, but Sergio feels there is space on the mantel place for a belt from an Asian promotion (he spoke to MMA Fighting about the defense and his dreams).

“I think it would be a great opportunity for me to cross-promote,” Sergio Pettis said of an overseas move. “Anthony has a WEC belt and a UFC belt, and it would be awesome to have a Bellator belt and Rizin belt as well, to have all the belts in all the organizations – it would feel like a completion.”

Horiguchi has done some cross promotion with Bellator and actually took the belt from Darrion Caldwell before vacating and going back to Rizin. In Sergio’s eyes he holds the true belt because The Gooch injured his knee and could not defend the Bellator belt and by the time he healed up he was back in Rizin again. This is a welcome fight for Pettis who feels this fight will be the capturing of the true belt.

“I feel like the title in general is on the line. I think this is a fight where it’s really going to show who has the real championship in my division.”

The Rizin belt isn’t on the line, but Pettis does not rule some cross promotion at Flyweight or Bantamweight.

“It would be an honor to go overseas and get that opportunity,” he said. “But as of right now, my main focus is next week. I’m not looking ahead of Horiguchi at all. This is one of my toughest fights.”

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