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Paul Craig, Cuttable to Contender

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Given the current landscape of the UFC’s light heavyweight division and the results that have accompanied any degree of ascension for Scotland’s Paul Craig, it would be easy to mistake him for a new surging contender following his miraculous second wind. His trajectory may be rising to new heights now, but this certainly wasn’t always the case.

Let me take you back to March of 2018, Mcgregor still held lightweight gold, Woodley was still top dog at welterweight and Demetrious Johnson reigned supreme atop the pound for pound rankings. Amid all this, Scotlands Paul Craig was coming off two rough losses, being finished by Tyson Pedro and Khalil Rountree Jr in his only two outings throughout 2017. A situation that put his UFC career in jeopardy no doubt, Craig had his first fight of 2018 lined up for UFC London where he would face a debuting undefeated Russian phenom in current top 10 light heavyweight Magomed Ankalaev.

Let’s not get it twisted, Ankalaev was cruising through the contest, having his way with Craig in all areas of the fight but this is Paul Craig, he only needs one opportunity, one slip up, when that patented guard is in play, to change the course of the contest. This one opportunity came in the closing seconds, Ankalaev overcomitted from top position, paving the way for a hail Mary triangle choke from Craig, a submission he has seemingly mastered, and one that with 1 second to spare, saved his MMA career.

Paul Craig admitted to the fact that without that victory which resulted in a new UFC contract, he would have retired from MMA. This victory not only saved his MMA career, but after going 2-2 in his next 4 a switch was seemingly flipped, one that would see him go from just another unranked light heavyweight to number 8 in the world. Craig credits weekly discussions with a sports psychologist as a huge factor in his career resurgence, claiming that speaking about his feelings and areas he needs improve has boosted his confidence in all areas of his MMA game.

Following the changes to his fight camp and himself, the results began to come thick and fast, with the 34 year olds composure when put on his back and elite guard continuing to catch opponents out and create opportunities for victory. Craig has won his last 5 fights all via finish, taking out the likes of MMA legend Shogun Rua, top 205lb prospect Jamahal Hill and veteran finisher Nikita Krylov, with his ground game garnering a fierce reputation.

Now continuously edging toward UFC gold with each and every outing, Craig returns this weekend back in London where his career was saved those 4 years ago, drawing number 9 ranked light heavyweight and former title challenger, Volkan Oezdemir. Another fierce striker looking to take Bearjews head, a seemingly straight forward objective… until he takes your neck.

Will Paul Craig keep his incredible streak rolling or will Oezdemir finally bring it to a halt? Make sure you tune in on Saturday for what promises to be an incredible event and be sure to let us know your predictions!

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Magomed Umalatov & Denis Golstov OUT, Dilano Taylor & Juan Adams IN | PFL 8

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Magomed Umalatov & Denis Golstov have unfortunately been ruled out of their PFL semi-final playoff this weekend against Rory MacDonald & Matheus Scheffel as they were unable to secure a visa to enter the United Kingdom. The news was announced by PFL just moments ago.

Magomed Umalatov will now be replaced by welterweight alternate Dilano Taylor, whilst Golstov will now be replaced by former UFC heavyweight Juan Adams.

PFL 8 will take place at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena this Saturday, August 13th. You can find the updated fight card for the event below.

PFL 8 Full Card

Post Main Card European Qualifiers:

Will Fleury vs Anthony Salamone

Nathan Kelly vs Ben Ellis

Vojto Barborík vs Maxim Radu

Francesco Nuzzi vs Moktar Benkaci

Main card

Dilano Taylor vs Magomed Umalatov

Ante Delija vs Renan Ferreira

Juan Adams vs Matheus Scheffel

Sadibou Sy vs Carlos Leal

Preliminary Card

Josh O’Connor vs Emran Sakhizaada

Mohammad Fakhreddine vs Marcin Wójcik

Chris Mixan vs Christian Stigenberg

Szymon Bajor vs Hatef Moeil

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PFL Offers To Host Kayla Harrison vs Cris Cyborg

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After both women were featured on yesterday’s episode of the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Kayla Harrison and Cris Cyborg now have a serious offer on the table for their super fight. The founder and co-owner of the PFL Donn Davis tweeted saying that the PFL will host the fight and “handle all matters”. Offering up $1 million for each fighter’s purse and a $2 million winners bonus, the fight now has some serious money behind it.

Whilst on the MMA Hour, both women had something to say about the fight, Kayla Harrison actually called into the show when it was about to end to tell her side of the story. She said that the last she heard from the PFL was that Cyborg was a free agent and they had reached out. Harrison also said that she would be happy to negotiate on behalf of Cyborg to get her whatever she wants, whether the fight is winner takes all or not, whether Harrison has to go through a full USADA drug testing program etc. Her only request was that they allow elbows so she can “put one through her skull”.

Cyborg, on the other hand, said that if the PFL wants to make the fight happen, they should contact Scott Coker and Bellator to make the fight a co-promotion. Despite now being a free agent, Cyborg referred to the fact that she loves working with them and considers Coker to be family and would want them to be involved. Whilst co-promotion isn’t out of the question as it’s something Bellator have done before, it does make the deal more complicated.

Also on the MMA Hour, Cyborg announced that she will be making her professional debut in boxing on September 25th. She will face Simone Silva in Curitiba, Brazil and signed her contract live on air. Harrison’s next outing in the PFL comes in less than two weeks when she faces Martina Jindrová on the 20th August at PFL 9 in London as one half of the semi-finals.

Is this a super-fight you’d like to see made in the near future? Let us know your thoughts on the situation in the comments.

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Jesse Arnett vs Ali AlQaisi 2 | The Biggest Rematch in UAE Warriors History is Official!

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The biggest rematch in UAE Warriors history is confirmed as Jesse Arnett (20-8) is set to defend his UAE Warriors featherweight title against rival Ali AlQaisi (12-6) in the main event of ‘UAE Warriors 33’ on Saturday, September 17 live from the Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Arnett won the title from AlQaisi in an exciting and heated affair at ‘UAE Warriors 30’ this past July ending ‘The Royal Fighter’s’ triple championship reign. The bout was ended via doctor stoppage due to a cut sustained by AlQaisi in the second round. Emotions ran high and tempers flared in the aftermath, however officials quickly handled the situation and both fighters immediately agreed to a rematch.

Will Arnett retain and establish himself as the UAE Warriors featherweight champion or can AlQaisi regain his status as triple champion!? The score will officially be settled on September 17, live around the world on UFC Fight Pass.

If that wasn’t enough excitement, we will see the anticipated return of the Africa series as ‘UAE Warriors 32: Africa’ takes place the night prior on Friday, September 16.

History will be made as Kevin Oumar (8-3) and Emilio Quissua (3-0) compete become the first ever UAE Warriors Africa light heavyweight champion.

Hailing from Comoros, Oumar is based out of France where has become both a sanda and kickboxing champion. The 29-year-old is on a five-fight win-streak which includes an impressive submission win over the previously undefeated Mohamed Amine in his last fight in UAE Warriors this past March.

Oumar will once again need to be on top of his game as he faces Angola’s Emilio Quissua. A former kickboxer himself, Quissua trains out of the renowned Planet Eater gym in Germany and has won all three of his professional MMA bouts since making his debut just over a year ago.

Stay tuned for more fight announcements.

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