MMAjunkie's 'Fight of the Month' for October: A bloody brawl that ends in a draw

With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMAjunkie looks at the best fights from October. Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and winner of MMAjunkie’s “Fight of the Month” award for October.

At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting on your choice.

* * * *

The Nominees

Bobby Green vs. Lando Vannata at UFC 216

Every time Lando Vannata (9-2-1 MMA, 1-2-1 UFC) has stepped in the octagon he’s delivered a bonus-worthy performance. He did it again in his lightweight bout with Bobby Green (23-8-1 MMA, 4-3-1 UFC), but it wasn’t enough to leave with a victory.

Vannata had a point taken away in the first round when he threw an illegal knee. Green continued despite absorbing the blow, and it was high-intensity for the remainder of the bout. Green’s late rally got him back in the fight, and the judges rules the contest a split draw.

Instagram Photo

Beneil Dariush vs. Evan Dunham at UFC 216

It was a tale of two fights for Evan Dunham (18-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC) and Beneil Dariush (14-3-1 MMA, 8-3-1 UFC), and the result of the entertaining lightweight bout was a majority draw.

Dariush had a big first round against Dunham, and it resulted in a pair of 10-8 scores. So even though Dunham won the second two rounds from that same pair of judges, it only got him to a pair of 28-28 scores for the draw. A third judge gave the fight to Dariush, 29-28.

Instagram Photo

Tony Ferguson def. Kevin Lee at UFC 216

It was far from an easy night of work for Tony Ferguson (24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC), but a third-round a slick triangle choke”>triangle choke got Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) to tap, crowning “El Cucuy” as the UFC’s newest interim champion.

After a back-and-forth two rounds began the fight, Ferguson’s superiority on the ground allowed him to set up. Lee attempted to fight out, but the choke was too fight and he was forced to tap out, crowning Ferguson as the new interim UFC lightweight champion.

Instagram Photo

Brian Kelleher def. Damian Stasiak at UFC Fight Night 118

Brian Kelleher (18-8 MMA, 2-1 UFC) had to struggle through some early adversity against Damian Stasiak (10-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC), and then he had to find a way to put away an extremely tough opponent.

Kelleher managed to do both, rallying from behind to win the bantamweight contest. He wore Stasiak down with his physicality and managed to thump his way to a TKO stoppage with less than 90 seconds remaining in the fight.

Instagram Photo

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos def. Max Griffin at UFC Fight Night 119

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (18-5 MMA, 4-1 UFC) nearly put Max Griffin (13-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) away in the first, causing many to criticize the referee, doctors and cornermen. Griffin managed to stay in the fight, though, hurting dos Santos in the second.

But after a wild fight with swings in both directions, it was dos Santos who put things together down the stretch to beat a very tough Griffin via unanimous decision after three rounds of exciting welterweight action.

Instagram Photo

* * * *

The Winner: Bobby Green vs. Lando Vannata

In a razor-thin fight, it was a point deduction that led to the draw between lightweights Vannata and Green.

Vannata had a point taken away in the first round when he threw an illegal knee against Green. Each fighter took a 29-27 score, and a third judge scored the fight 28-28. Absent the point deduction for the illegal knee, Vannata would have walked away with a split decision win.

Vannata pushed Green back early, then ducked under a Green left hand. The two tied up briefly, and when they broke it was Vannata who landed two heavy leg kicks, the second of which nearly took Green off his feet. After a brief clinch on the fence, where Green landed a solid elbow, Vannata landed a head kick.

Green survived it, but seconds later Vannata stunned Green and put him on the canvas. He went after him and landed ground-and-pound, but when Green tried to get up, with one of his knees still grounded, Vannata threw a big knee. He knew immediately it was illegal and referee Herb Dean stopped the fight.

Although the replays showed the knee didn’t land flush, it still was an illegal strike, and Dean took a point. On the restart, Vannata went after a guillotine choke, but Green fought out of it and with 75 seconds left they went back to work in the center of the cage. Vannata attacked Green’s lead leg down the stretch, then got a late takedown. But the point deduction turned a 10-9 round for Vannata into a 9-9.

Green landed a good left hand early in the second, but it was Vannata who made it look a little easier finding homes for his strikes. Green stayed in the fight with counters, but Vannata’s right was more effective. Even though it didn’t seem Green was landing heavy shots, Vannata was wearing the damage on his face from Green’s jabs. Midway through, Green pushed Vannata to the fence, but Vannata shrugged him off and dropped him to the canvas. Green got up quickly, but a scramble moments later had Vannata ready to take advantage.

Back on the feet, Vannata landed a huge right hand, then started pouring it on with Green’s hands down. With a minute left, they started slugging. Vannata landed a leg kick. Green landed a knee to the body. And they both were feeling the effects late in the frame.

The two kept trading in the third, and a takedown attempt from Vannata wasn’t there a minute in. Green made sure the cuts on Vannata’s face kept the blood flowing, touching him up just enough. Green caught Vannata a few more times midway through. But Vannata kept the offense flowing, as well. They slugged it out down the stretch, and it was Green who landed several huge combinations just before the horn. Vannata walked away still standing, but with the blood gushing.

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Did Brian Kelleher and Thomas Almeida agree to fight at UFC on FOX 26?

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After his “Fight of the Night” victory at UFC Fight Night 118 over the weekend, Brian Kelleher made it clear he wanted to stay busy.

And it looks like he might’ve found an opponent.

Kelleher told MMAjunkie backstage at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, that a December fight with John Lineker was on his mind. But today Kelleher had a different idea, calling out Thomas Almeida on Twitter and receiving a quick answer that just might result in an official booking soon.

Dec. 16 is the date for UFC on FOX 26, which takes place at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The event currently has 11 fights booked.

Kelleher (18-8 MMA, 2-1 UFC) is coming off a third-round TKO victory over Damian Stasiak (10-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 118. He and said the bout was one of his career highlights to date. If Kelleher is booked before the end of the year, that would cap off a busy second half of 2017 in which he would have fought four times in 6 months since making his UFC debut in June.

Almeida (22-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) would serve as a big jump in competition for Kelleher, though Almeida, No. 13 in the current USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, has been on a slide of late. He’s 1-2 in his last three fights after starting his career 21-0. He most recently dropped a unanimous decision to Jimmie Rivera in July at UFC on FOX 25.

For more on UFC on FOX 26, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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UFC-Gdansk medical suspensions: Forced time off for Donald Cerrone with potential 6-month term

UFC welterweight Donald Cerrone hates to take time off, but with a potential six-month medical suspension, he’s benched for the time being.

Cerrone (32-10 MMA, 19-7 UFC), who reported a broken nose following a first-round TKO loss to Darren Till (16-0-1 MMA, 4-0-1 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 118, drew a six-month suspension from the UFC, according to medical suspensions released by the UFC and reported by official ABC record keeper mixedmartialarts.com.

That suspension can be lifted, of course, with clearance from a doctor, in this case a maxillofacial specialist. But Cerrone is also suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact for his stoppage loss, which marked his third straight defeat.

In other notable suspensions, light heavyweight opponents Jan Blachowicz (20-7 MMA, 3-4 UFC) and Devin Clark (8-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) both drew potential 180-day terms for injuries sustained prior to Blachowicz’s surprise second-round submission. Despite a gritty effort, bantamweight Damian Stasiak (10-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC) needs clearance for his right knee or faces a six-month suspension. So, too, does Sam Alvey (31-10 MMA, 8-5 UFC), who’s listless performance against Ramazan Emeev (16-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) may have been influenced by an apparent right knee injury.

All fighters received a minimum 7 day suspension.

The full list of medical suspensions stemming from UFC Fight Night 118 includes:

  • Donald Cerrone: suspended 180 days or until cleared by maxillofacial doctor, and suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact
  • Darren Till: suspended 7 days
  • Jody Esquibel: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact
  • Karolina Kowalkiewicz: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact
  • Jan Blachowicz: suspended 180 days or until cleared by left foot X-ray, and suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact
  • Devin Clark: suspended 180 days or until cleared by right calf and right elbow X-ray, and suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact
  • Oskar Piechota: suspended 7 days
  • Jonathan Wilson: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact
  • Marcin Held: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact
  • Nasrat Haqparast: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact due to right orbital laceration
  • Brian Kelleher: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact
  • Damian Stasiak: suspended 180 days or until cleared by right knee MRI, and suspended minimum 45 days with 30 days no contact
  • Ramazan Emeev: suspended 7 days
  • Sam Alvey: suspended 180 days for until cleared by right knee MRI
  • Andre Fili: suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact
  • Artem Lobov: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact due to left brow laceration
  • Warlley Alves: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact due to right brow laceration
  • Salim Touahri: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact
  • Aspen Ladd: suspended 7 days
  • Lina Lansberg: suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact due to TKO
  • Josh Emmett: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact due to right brow laceration
  • Felipe Arantes: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 118 post-event facts: Details behind single-round knockdown record

Donald Cerrone had a chance to make all sorts of UFC history on Saturday in the UFC Fight Night 118 main event. Unfortunately for him, Darren Till had other plans.

Till (16-0-1 MMA, 4-0-1 UFC) prevented Cerrone (32-10 MMA, 19-7 UFC) from tying the all-time UFC wins record in the UFC Fight Pass-streamed welterweight headliner at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, scoring a one-sided first-round TKO victory to add to his undefeated record.

The Brit is quickly climbing the ladder of longest streaks without a loss among UFC fighters, and his performance highlighted an 11-bout card. For more on the numbers in the UFC’s second fight card in Poland, check below for 35 post-event facts to come out of UFC Fight Night 118.

* * * *

General

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $100,000.

Debuting fighters went 3-3 at the event.

Till, Jan Blachowicz, Brian Kelleher and Damian Stasiak earned $50,000 UFC Fight Night 118 fight-night bonuses.

UFC Fight Night 118 drew an announced attendance of 11,138 for a live gate of $677,000.

Betting favorites went 8-3 on the card.

Total fight time for the 11-bout card was 2:18:34.

Main card

Till’s 17-fight undefeated streak in MMA competition is fifth longest among active UFC fighters behind Khabib Nurmagomedov (24), Jimmie Rivera (20), Cris Cyborg and Justin Gaethje (18).

Till has earned 12 of his 16 career victories by stoppage.

Till has earned both of his stoppage UFC victories by knockout.

Cerrone fell to 4-3 since he moved up to the UFC welterweight division in February 2015.

Cerrone suffered his third consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since December.

Cerrone has suffered both of his UFC welterweight stoppage victories by knockout.

Karolina Kowalkiewicz (11-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) has all four of her UFC victories by decision. She hasn’t earned a stoppage since May 2014.

Blachowicz (20-7 MMA, 3-4 UFC) earned his first submission victory since May 21, 2011 – a span of 2,345 days (more than six years) and 11 fights.

Devin Clark (8-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) suffered the first submission loss of his career.

Oskar Piechota (10-0-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) earned the first decision victory of his career.

Jonathan Wilson (7-3 MMA, 1-3 UFC) suffered his third consecutive loss after starting his career on a seven-fight winning streak. He hasn’t earned a victory since August 2015.

Wilson was unsuccessful in his UFC middleweight debut.

Preliminary card

Marcin Held (23-7 MMA, 1-3 UFC) snapped the first three-fight losing skid of his career and earned his first victory since May 2016.

Nasrat Haqparast (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) had his eight-fight winning streak snapped for his first defeat since December 2012.

Haqparast suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Kelleher (18-8 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has earned 15 of his 18 career victories by stoppage. That includes both of his UFC wins.

Stasiak (10-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC) suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Ramazan Emeev (16-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) improved to 13-1 in his past 14 fights. He hasn’t suffered a loss since September 2014.

Sam Alvey (31-10 MMA, 8-5 UFC) has suffered eight of his 10 career losses by decision.

Andre Fili (17-5 MMA, 5-4 UFC) has alternated wins and losses over his nine-fight UFC career.

Artem Lobov (13-14-1 MMA, 2-4 UFC) fell to 5-6-1 in his past 12 career fights.

Lobov has suffered 11 of his 14 career losses by decision. That includes all four of his UFC defeats.

Aspen Ladd (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned five of her six career victories by stoppage.

Lina Lansberg (7-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has suffered all three of her career losses by knockout.

Josh Emmett (12-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) was successful in his UFC featherweight debut.

Emmett has earned all three of his UFC victories by decision.

Emmett’s four knockdowns are tied for third most in a UFC fight. Only Jeremy Stephens (six) at UFC 215 and Forrest Petz (five) at UFC Fight Night 6 have scored more knockdowns in a fight.

Emmett’s four knockdowns in a round marked the new single-fight UFC record.

Felipe Arantes (18-9-1 MMA, 5-5-1 UFC) was unsuccessful in his return to the UFC featherweight division.

Arantes has suffered seven of his nine career losses by decision. That includes all five of his UFC defeats.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Brian Kelleher wants to stay busy after UFC-Gdansk win; how about John Lineker in December?

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GDANSK, Poland – Brian Kelleher planned to celebrate his latest victory with a frosty beverage, a bite to eat and a bout agreement to fight one of the hardest hitters in the division later this year.

An effervescent Kelleher (18-8 MMA, 2-1 UFC) chatted with MMAjunkie backstage following his third-round TKO victory over Damian Stasiak (10-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 118 and said the bout was one of his career highlights to date.

“That was amazing, man,” the New Yorker said. “I had a lot of fun. That was probably one of my funnest fights against a really tough guy. It took everything I had to finish him, so he brought the best out of me, which I have to thank him for. That was awesome.”

The bout, which earned “Fight of the Night” honors, was Kelleher’s third under the UFC banner, with both his wins coming against hometown favorites in their own back yard. By contrast, his one UFC loss took place in his home state of New York.

Kelleher admitted the more testing conditions of fighting away from home brings the best out of him.

“Being home was weird,” he said. “Being on my front lawn the day of the fight was just awkward. Even though I don’t think that really plays a role in the fight, but there’s just something about the journey to get here.

“It’s a far plane ride, I’m out of my element, I’m out of my comfort zone. I just think it brings this fire out of me to want to come and take the home guy out.”

Kelleher said he’d struggled to get quality rest during fight week, but missing out on the creature comforts of being at home helped make him sharper on fight night.

“It was all just trying to get through a lot of struggles, bumps in the road, and it was tough,” Kelleher said. “The beds were small. I don’t think I slept one hour until last night. It was the first night I got a little bit of sleep going through the weight cut.

“It was all a battle. I got here a little heavier than usual because of the long plane ride. So I had to get through that. Then I made the weight – and that was tough in itself – and the fight was even tougher. But it all made me a better fighter, and I’m thankful for it.”

Kelleher took advantage of his mic time during his post-fight octagon interview to call for top-15 opposition in his next bout. And he expanded on his plans for the future when chatting to the press backstage, saying he’d like to emulate his big-name colleague on the UFC-Gdansk fight card.

“I didn’t want to speak too soon, but after this fight I wanted to get one more in this year,” he said. I said I wanted to be the ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone of the bantamweight division, which is kinda cool, as he’s on the same card. I want to stay active. If I’m healthy, I’m always training. I’m always a professional. Why not make money and do what I love and continue to fight?

“So I’m hoping they put me back in December, and I wouldn’t mind John Lineker if he gets past the last guy I fought, Marlon Vera, who is a tough guy. But if Lineker comes out on top in that fight I want to stick with that guy still.”

Kelleher was forced to dodge beer bottles as he exited the arena after his UFC debut win against Iuri Alcantara in Rio. But despite once again upsetting a local favorite, the Polish crowd’s reaction was noticeably different.

“They were really respectful fans,” Kelleher said. “In Brazil it was different. It felt a lot more hostile. They were really in my face after the fight (in Brazil), and they didn’t like the fact that I won.

“But it seemed like the fans (in Poland) were really supportive of the fact that a good fighter with a lot of heart went out there and finished their guy, who was a really tough guy too. So I think they really respected it.”

The victory gave Kelleher the perfect tonic after succumbing to a Vera armbar in Uniondale in July.

“I took that loss, which was heartbreaking, and it motivated me to come in here and perform to the best of my ability,” Kelleher said. “I want to keep my job. I want to prove my worth, and I think I did that tonight.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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UFC Fight Night 118 Athlete Outfitting pay: Total among lowest of 2017

GDANSK, Poland – Fighters from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 118 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $100,000.

UFC Fight Night 118 took place at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland. The entire card streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

Leading the way was Donald Cerrone, who earned a maximum non-title payout of $20,000 in his loss to Darren Till in the welterweight headliner.

The full UFC Fight Night 118 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Darren Till: $2,500
def. Donald Cerrone: $20,000

Karolina Kowalkiewicz: $5,000
def. Jodie Esquibel: $2,500

Jan Blachowicz: $5,000
def. Devin Clark: $2,500

Oskar Piechota: $2,500
def. Jonathan Wilson: $2,500

Marcin Held: $2,500
def. Nasrat Haqparast: $2,500

Brian Kelleher: $2,500
def. Damian Stasiak: $2,500

Ramazan Emeev: $2,500
def. Sam Alvey: $10,000

Andre Fili: $5,000
def. Artem Lobov: $5,000

Warlley Alves: $5,000
def. Salim Touahri: $2,500

Aspen Ladd: $2,500
def. Lina Lansberg: $2,500

Josh Emmett: $2,500
def. Felipe Arantes: $10,000

Under the UFC Athlete Outfitting program’s payout tiers, which appropriate the money generated by Reebok’s multi-year sponsorship with the UFC, fighters are paid based on their total number of UFC bouts, as well as Zuffa-era WEC fights (January 2007 and later) and Zuffa-era Strikeforce bouts (April 2011 and later). Fighters with 1-5 bouts receive $2,500 per appearance; 6-10 bouts get $5,000; 11-15 bouts earn $10,000; 16-20 bouts pocket $15,000; and 21 bouts and more get $20,000. Additionally, champions earn $40,000 while title challengers get $30,000.

In addition to experience-based pay, UFC fighters will receive in perpetuity royalty payments amounting to 20-30 percent of any UFC merchandise sold that bears their likeness, according to officials.

Full 2017 UFC-Reebok sponsorship payouts:

Year-to-date total: $4,592,500
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $14,915,500

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of UFC Fight Night 118

While it takes intense training, world-class skills and maybe even a bit of luck to register a UFC win, picking the right song to accompany you to the cage is a key talent, as well.

See what the fighters of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 118 in Gdansk, Poland, went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

Darren Till def. Donald Cerrone via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:20

Darren Till: “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins

Donald Cerrone: “Cowboy” by Kid Rock

Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Jodie Esquibel via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Karolina Kowalkiewicz: “The Passenger” by Iggy Pop

Jodie Esquibel: “Glorious” by Macklemore feat. Skylar Grey

Jan Blachowicz def. Devin Clark via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 3:02

Jan Blachowicz: “Lady in Black” by Uriah Heep

Devin Clark: “Another One” by Nelly

Oskar Piechota def. Jonathan Wilson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Jonathan Wilson: “Legend” by Drake

Oskar Piechota: “J’y Suis Jamais Alle (Smoku Remix)” by Yann Tiersen

Marcin Held def. Nasrat Haqparast via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Marcin Held: “Oczy wpatrzone w cel” by Eastwest Rockers

Nasrat Haqparast: “Kodex” by Thronfolger

Brian Kelleher def. Damian Stasiak via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 3:39

Brian Kelleher: “Wins And Losses” by Meek Mill

Damian Stasiak: “Wild Boys” by Duran Duran

Ramazan Emeev def. Sam Alvey via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Ramazan Emeev: “Highlander Theme Song” by Marat

Sam Alvey: “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train

Andre Fili def. Artem Lobov via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Andre Fili: “Feeling Myself” by Mac Dre

Artem Lobov: “A Juicy Intro (Ha! Yes Remix)” by The Notorious B.I.G. & The XX

Warlley Alves def. Salim Touahri via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Warlley Alves: “Quanto Maior O Gigante” by Maior A Testa

Salim Touahri: “Drop The World” by Lil’ Wayne & Eminem

Aspen Ladd def. Lina Lansberg via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:33

Aspen Ladd: “Promotory” from Last Of The Mohicans

Lina Lansberg: “Sail” by AWOLNATION

Josh Emmett def. Felipe Arantes via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)

Josh Emmett: “Sky is the Limit” by Rebelution

Felipe Arantes: “Bailando” by Enrique Iglesias feat. Luan Santana

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 118 bonuses: Darren Till, Jan Blachowicz earn $50K for big finishes

GDANSK, Poland – Darren Till, Jan Blachowicz, Brian Kelleher, and Damian Stasiak each earned $50,000 bonuses for their performances at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 118 event, which MMAjunkie attended.

Till and Blachowicz each won “Performance of the Night” honors, while Kelleher vs. Stasiak was awarded “Fight of the Night.”

Till (16-0-1 MMA, 4-0-1 UFC) picked apart Cerrone (32-10 MMA, 19-7 UFC) and battered him with his left hand before a finish at the 4:20 mark of the opening frame. Clark (8-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) exposed his neck charging forward, and Blachowicz (20-7 MMA, 3-4 UFC) seized it, securing a standing bulldog choke at the 3:02 mark of the second round.

Kelleher (18-8 MMA, 2-1 UFC) struggled through some early adversity but managed to rallying for a TKO finish of Stasiak (10-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC) at the 3:39 mark of Round 3.

UFC Fight Night 118 took place Saturday at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, and stream entirely on UFC Fight Pass.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 118 results: Brian Kelleher finally puts away tough Damian Stasiak

Brian Kelleher had to struggle through some early adversity against Damian Stasiak, and then he had to find a way to put away an extremely tough opponent.

Kelleher (18-8 MMA, 2-1 UFC) managed to do both, rallying to down a game Stasiak (10-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC) via TKO at the 3:39 mark of Round 3.

The bantamweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 118 event at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland. It streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

Stasiak appeared to have Kelleher in some trouble early on in the fight, stinging him with punches before hurting Kelleher with a spinning back kick to the body that put him on the retreat.

But after taking some time to collect himself, Kelleher managed to get his own offense going, thanks to some solid ground work and some hard knees in the clinch.

After smashing Stasiak’s nose midway through the fight, the tide seemed to turn in Kelleher’s favor. Still, he couldn’t quite finish off Stasiak as the Polish fighter kept coming until Kelleher finally put together just the right combination in the latter half of the final round.

A sharp right hand sent Stasiak reeling, and a follow-up left hook in close put him down. As Stasiak reached in desperation for a single-leg, Kelleher hammered him with a steady torrent of punches, eventually forcing the TKO stoppage with a little over a minute to go in the third.

Kelleher’s victory gets him back in the win column following a submission loss to Marlon Vera in July. Stasiak has now lost two in a row.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 118 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan and Abbey Subhan contributed to this report on site in Poland.)

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

10 reasons to watch UFC Fight Night 118 with 'Cowboy' looking to snap his first career skid

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Filed under: News

Here’s hoping you all enjoyed the short break in the UFC schedule we just had, because from now until the end of the year, there’s only one weekend without a UFC event. That weekend isn’t until Dec. 23.

The UFC’s sprint to the end of 2017 begins on Saturday with UFC Fight Night 118.

In the main event, young upstart Darren Till meets Donald Cerrone, the man who just can’t say no when the UFC calls and offers him a fight. Till is unbeaten in his 16-fight career. That run includes four fights in the UFC. Cerrone is on the first two-fight losing skid of his career. With a loss in this contest, the former UFC lightweight title challenger could be at risk of going winless during the calendar year – something that has never happened during his 11 years of fighting.

In the co-main event, former strawweight title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz looks to get back in the win column after two straight defeats against UFC newcomer Jodie Esquibel.

UFC Fight Night 118 takes place at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland. The entire card streams on UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. Lights, camera, action

After just four fights in the UFC, Till (15-0-1 MMA, 3-0-1 UFC) saunters into his first main event with the promotion full of attitude and confidence. The 24-year-old, faces 25-fight UFC veteran Cerrone (32-9 MMA, 19-6 UFC), who also knows a thing or two about swagger and self-belief.

There are some, like former UFC fighter Brendan Schaub, who think Till shouldn’t fight Cerrone this early in his career, but Till has something to say about that kind of talk.

“You’ve got people like Brendan Schaub … saying he doesn’t know me, he’s disrespecting me and whatever, saying ‘Cowboy’ shouldn’t be taking this fight, but why shouldn’t I be taking the fight? Let’s get it straight, I’m unbeaten here,” Till said on the “Obviously Fight Talk” podcast. “I’m unbeaten. Nobody’s been able to beat me.”

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As for the 34-year-old Cerrone, who is ranked No. 10 in the most recent USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, he seems to see a little of himself in his young opponent.

“I was up-and-coming once. I was in his shoes. He might be the next guy,” Cerrone told MMAjunkie. “You can’t look at him like, ‘Oh, this guy sucks.’ He’s undefeated. We’ll see. It’s like going from like a farm team, called up to the big show and now he’s the main event, five rounds – that’s a lot. Lights, camera, action.”

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2. Strange days

Interesting is one way to describe the strawweight matchup between Kowalkiewicz and Esquibel. Kowalkiewicz fought three of the best 115-pound fighters in her three most recent outings. During that run, she defeated Rose Namajunas, dropped a title fight to champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and was submitted by Claudia Gadelha.

A cynic might look at this fight as the promotion giving the No. 4 ranked Kowalkiewicz (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC), who competes in her home country of Poland for the first time as a UFC fighter, a favorable matchup. After all, Esquibel (6-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who is unranked, makes her promotional debut in this contest.

During her run with Invicta FC, Esquibel went 4-2 with losses to current UFC fighters Alex Chambers and Alexa Grasso at atomweight. Her strawweight debut morphed into a 117.6-pound catchweight contest when her opponent, DeAnna Bennett, came in heavy. Esquibel won that fight by split decision.

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3. Unsatisfied

Before his UFC debut, Jan Blachowicz was on a five-fight winning streak with victories over four former UFC fighters. In his promotional debut, Blachowicz put Ilir Latifi away in the first round. After that triumph, the Polish fighter went 1-4.

Blachowicz’s (19-7 MMA, 2-4 UFC) opponent, Devin Clark, has gone unbeaten at 205 pounds, including two decision wins with the UFC. In his most recent bout, Clark (8-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) pitched a shutout against Jake Collier. He dominated the fight, but left the arena disappointed.

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“At times, I just stopped moving and didn’t go for the finish,” Clark told MMAjunkie. “There’s definitely openings, and I got hesitant at times.”

Clark fought at a high pace against Collier and that could be a concern for Blachowicz, who has run out of gas in the past, most recently during his April loss to Patrick Cummins.

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4. A whole lot of finishes

Oskar Piechota made his Cage Warriors debut in June. He claimed that promotion’s vacant middleweight title that night with a 32-second knockout. The quick KO win was Piechota’s ninth finish in 10 fights. Piechota (9-0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) makes his UFC debut against Jonathan Wilson (7-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) in this middleweight scuffle.

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Wilson began his UFC career with a 50-second knockout of Chris Dempsey in a light heavyweight bout. He followed that victory with two losses. Wilson, a heavy-handed striker with six knockout wins, drops from light heavyweight for this matchup.

If you’re looking for a sleeper pick for “Fight of the Night,” this could be your fight.

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5. Looking for some traction

The good news for Marcin Held is that he gets to fight in his home country of Poland for the first time in more than seven years. The bad news is the former Bellator lightweight title challenger enters his bout against Nasrat Haqparast (8-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) on the worst run of his nine-year career. Held (22-7 MMA, 0-3 UFC), who joined the UFC in 2016, has lost each of his three fights inside the octagon.

When he signed with the UFC in 2016, many felt Held would be a threat in the lightweight division. An excellent grappler with 12 career submission wins, the 25-year-old has been unable to get on track since he joined the promotion.

Haqparast makes his UFC debut as a short-notice injury replacement. This bout marks the first time Haqparast fights outside of Germany. In his nine pro contests, Haqparast has eight knockout victories, six of which have come in the first round. His only defeat came in his professional debut.

6. Local man makes his UFC debut

Adam Wieczorek makes his UFC debut on the strength of a seven-fight winning streak. Each of those victories have come by way of stoppage. Wieczorek, the former PLMMA heavyweight champion, has spent his entire career fighting on the Polish scene. Wieczorek’s sole loss is a 2011 decision to current UFC heavyweight Marcin Tybura.

Wieczorek (8-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) faces Anthony Hamilton in Poland. Hamilton (15-8 MMA, 3-6 UFC) briefly toyed with retirement after his most recent fight, his third consecutive first-round stoppage defeat. He steps into this contest as a late injury replacement.

7. Looking for his place

Brian Kelleher made quite an impression in his UFC debut. Not only did he submit Iuri Alcantara, he did so in front of a hostile Brazilian crowd, but he then taunted that crowd after he defeated the home country fighter. During his post-fight interview, Kelleher threw the infamous Portuguese “you’re gonna die” chant back at the fans.

Kelleher’s second UFC fight did not go as well. He lost that bout via submission to Marlon Vera.

With both his UFC fights ending early in the first round, it’s hard to get an idea of just where Kelleher, who fought for more than 10 promotions before joining the UFC, fits in the bantamweight division.

Kelleher (17-8 MMA, 1-1 UFC) faces Damian Stasiak. Stasiak (10-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC), a good ground fighter, also lost his most recent fight. He dropped a decision to Pedro Munhoz in that contest.

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8. Time to make a move

When Artem Lobov faced Cub Swanson in the main event of UFC Fight Night 108, there were questions about the matchup. With a record of 2-2 in the UFC, the thinking was Lobov didn’t deserve a shot at Swanson who was on a three-fight winning streak and ranked No. 6 in the featherweight division at the time. The oddsmakers seemed to agree. Swanson was a more than a 6-1 favorite and he dominated the contest on fight night. Despite the decision loss, Lobov earned some respect with his performance. He hung tough, despite absorbing 251 strikes.

Lobov (13-13-1 MMA, 2-3 UFC) meets Andre Fili in Poland. Calvin Kattar upset Fili (16-5 MMA, 4-4 UFC) in his most recent bout. The decision defeat keeps Fili on a win one, lose one rollercoaster for his eight-fight UFC career.

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This should be a high-paced striking battle between two fighters desperate to get back in the win column and make a move in the featherweight division.

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9. A once hot prospect returns

In 2015, Warlley Alves was on his way up the welterweight rankings. He closed that year with a first-round submission win over Colby Covington. The victory gave Alves’ a record of 10-0. Since then, he’s dropped two unanimous decisions.

This is his first fight of 2017. With nearly a year between fights and with two straight losses, it’s going to be interesting to see what lessons Alves took from those setbacks and how he’s developed.

Alves (10-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) faces UFC newcomer Salim Touahri in this bout. Touahri (10-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has won five straight fights ahead of his promotional debut. Four of those wins have come by knockout.

10. An anticipated debut

The unbeaten 22-year-old Aspen Ladd makes her UFC debut in Poland against Lina Lansberg in a bantamweight bout. Lansberg, a decorated muay Thai fighter, is best known for making her UFC debut against Cristiane Justino this past September. Lansberg lost to Justino via TKO.

Ladd made her pro debut with Invicta in 2015. She went 5-0 with the promotion. Four of her victories were by stoppage.

Ladd (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is an aggressive fighter who likes to pressure, but she’s never met an opponent with as much experience as Lansberg (7-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC). Her previous opponents had seven combined fights before Ladd faced them. Lansberg has nine MMA fights and almost 50 muay Thai contests to her name.

The 35-year-old Lansberg is a very tough fighter who can absorb a tremendous amount of punishment. She’ll be an excellent test for the still-developing Ladd.

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For more on UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie