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

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

Twitter was in awe of Jan Blachowicz's standing bulldog choke finisher at UFC-Gdansk

Devin Clark figured he could rush in on Jan Blachowicz to open the second round, because he came out of the first with Blachowicz reeling.

That, however, turned out to be a huge mistake.

Clark (8-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) charged forward and landed an overhand right as the two men pressed against the cage. But he left his neck exposed, and Blachowicz (20-7 MMA, 3-4 UFC) pounced to score an incredible submission win while standing at UFC Fight Night 118.

Check it out here (via Twitter):

Officially, the method of Blachowicz’s victory was announced as a standing rear-naked choke, but it was technically a *bulldog* choke, which is rare in MMA.

It was awesome and had folks geeking out on Twitter:

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

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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UFC Fight Night 118 results: Jan Blachowicz surprises rushing Devin Clark with vicious choke

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Devin Clark’s rushing attack had Jan Blachowicz on his heels in the first round. But in the second, Blachowicz had an answer.

Clark (8-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) exposed his neck charging forward, and Blachowicz (20-7 MMA, 3-4 UFC) seized it, securing a no-hooks rear-naked choke at the 3:02 mark of the second round.

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

The momentum of the finishing sequence sent Blachowicz tumbling to the mat after Clark tapped to the choke, bringing a swift reversal to a fight that previously was going the American’s way.

Blachowicz was unable to catch Clark as he quickly darted in and out of range. Clark punished the legs with kicks and landed a right hand that wobbled his Polish opponent as they disengaged. Clark seemed to have found the answer to Blachowicz’s conventional kickboxing approach.

In the second round, Blachowicz found better luck keeping Clark at bay with kicks. One of them visibly hurt Clark, prompting him to shoot for a takedown. This time, Blachowicz stuffed the attempt and got his own takedown. But Clark escaped to his feet and reset for a charge.

A rear-naked choke was probably the last thing Clark expected as he missed on a right hand and briefly turned his back to Blachowicz. But in an instant, he paid for that miscalculation.

Clark now sees a two-fight streak snapped while Poland native Blachowicz likely saves his UFC job after a 1-4 skid in the octagon.

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

After stumble out of gate, UFC Fight Night 118's Devin Clark turns back on 185 pounds

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GDANSK, Poland – Devin Clark had two months to shrink his body to middleweight size after three years as a professional light heavyweight.

Despite the 20-pound gap to close, Clark wasn’t about to shun the task. After he won the LFA title at 205 pounds, UFC President Dana White had offered him a chance to fight in the octagon at UFC Fight Night 91.

The new weight division offered Clark a foot in the door, but as it turned out, it started him off on the wrong foot. Less than 5 minutes into his debut, he was knocked out by Alex Nicholson.

Clark (8-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) moved back to his traditional division in his next fight, and he’s now won two straight. On Saturday at UFC Fight Night 118, he faces Polish veteran Jan Blachowicz (19-7 MMA, 2-4 UFC), a former KSW champ who’s UFC career is on the rocks.

Unless big money or a belt is on the table, Clark has no intention of returning to 185 pounds. Between the extra weight and work with top-tier training partners, he said his game has improved by leaps and bounds.

“Being at Jackson-Winkeljohn longer,” Clark told MMAjunkie. “This is my fourth camp, working with Jon Jones a lot, but also everybody else at Jackson Wink. Coming from South Dakota, where I didn’t have much training, that’s a huge change in my progression.”

Now that Clark is trending up, the UFC’s offer puts him across from a fighter who’s likely fighting to save his job. Blachowicz, who entered the UFC as a 17-3 powerhouse in the European MMA scene, is now 1-4 in his past four outings. Most recently, he suffered a majority decision loss to Patrick Cummins, who managed to outstrike him using the threat of wrestling.

Clark is on Blachowicz’s turf as he tries to reverse his fortune. It’s not a job favorable to a fighter trying to build his brand. But then again, it could win him big points with the UFC if he’s able to upset the hometown favorite.

“He’s a tough dude. Nobody’s finished him in the UFC, and he’s fought some really good opponents,” Clark said of Blachowicz. “So obviously, I have to fight smart. But I know I can finish him if I want to. I know what I can do, and I know what he can do, and I know at the end of the day, I can come out on top.”

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

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

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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

UFC Fight Night 118 staff picks: How many are picking unbeaten Darren Till to upset 'Cowboy'?

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Cerrone
vs.
Till
Esquibel
vs.
Kowalkiewicz
Blachowicz
vs.
Clark
Piechota
vs.
Wilson
MMAjunkie readers’
consensus picks
2017: 94-66
cerrone2017
Cerrone
(74%)
kowalkiewicz2017
Kowalkiewicz
(96%)
blachowicz2017
Blachowicz
(63%)
piechota2017
Piechota
(68%)
Dann Stupp
@DannStupp
2017: 102-58
trophy copy 2015 Champion
cerrone2017
Cerrone
kowalkiewicz2017
Kowalkiewicz
dclark2017
Clark
piechota2017
Piechota
Simon Samano
@SJSamano
2017: 101-59
till2017
Till
kowalkiewicz2017
Kowalkiewicz
dclark2017
Clark
piechota2017
Piechota
Ben Fowlkes @BenFowlkesMMA
2017: 100-60
trophy copy 2016 Champion
till2017
Till
kowalkiewicz2017
Kowalkiewicz
dclark2017
Clark
piechota2017
Piechota
Steven Marrocco @MMAjunkieSteven
2017: 99-61
cerrone2017
Cerrone
kowalkiewicz2017
Kowalkiewicz
dclark2017
Clark
piechota2017
Piechota
Brian Garcia
@thegoze
2017: 97-63
cerrone2017
Cerrone
kowalkiewicz2017
Kowalkiewicz
dclark2017
Clark
piechota2017
Piechota
Fernanda Prates @nandaprates_
2017: 95-65
cerrone2017
Cerrone
kowalkiewicz2017
Kowalkiewicz
dclark2017
Clark
piechota2017
Piechota
Matt Erickson @MMAjunkieMatt
2017: 93-67
cerrone2017
Cerrone
kowalkiewicz2017
Kowalkiewicz
blachowicz2017
Blachowicz
piechota2017
Piechota
John Morgan @MMAjunkieJohn
2017: 93-67
cerrone2017
Cerrone
kowalkiewicz2017
Kowalkiewicz
dclark2017
Clark
piechota2017
Piechota
Mike Bohn @MikeBohnMMA
2017: 92-68
trophy copy 2014 Champion
cerrone2017
Cerrone
kowalkiewicz2017
Kowalkiewicz
dclark2017
Clark
piechota2017
Piechota
George Garcia @MMAjunkieGeorge
2017: 91-69
till2017
Till
kowalkiewicz2017
Kowalkiewicz
blachowicz2017
Blachowicz
piechota2017
Piechota

The UFC returns to Poland this week with a fun welterweight scdrap in the main event.

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

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, former lightweight title challenger Donald Cerrone (32-9 MMA, 19-6 UFC) continues his run at welterweight against unbeaten British up-and-comer Darren Till (15-0-1 MMA, 3-0-1 UFC). Cerrone is a slight betting favorite and is trying to snap the first two-fight losing skid of his career. He’s the pick of seven of our 10 MMAjunkie editors, writers and radio hosts.

In the co-feature, former women’s strawweight title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) fights for her home fans in Poland against Jodie Esquibel (6-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who will be making her UFC debut. Kowalkiewicz is the biggest favorite on the card at more than 4-1, and to little surprise she’s a unanimous pick from our staff members.

Also on the main card, Jan Blachowicz (19-7 MMA, 2-4 UFC) fights in front of his home fans in a light heavyweight bout against Devin Clark (8-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC). But it’s Clark who has the nod from eight of our 10 pickers. And unbeaten promotional newcomer Oskar Piechota (9-0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will try to thrill his home fans when he takes on Jonathan Wilson (7-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) at middleweight. Piechota is a 2-1 favorite and is our second unanimous pick on the card.

In the MMAjunkie reader consensus picks, Cerrone, Kowalkiewicz, Blachowicz and Piechota are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

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

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

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Jan Blachowicz hopes to end ‘bad luck’ streak vs. Devin Clark at UFC-Gdansk

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GDANSK, Poland – Polish light heavyweight Jan Blachowicz returns to action hoping his good luck in this city will help end the “bad luck” in his recent form.

Blachowicz (17-7, 2-4 UFC) has lost four of his last five bouts, but he’s optimistic of success heading into his main-card bout with Devin Clark (8-1, 2-1 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 118 on Saturday night.

“He’s a wrestler. He will try to take me down. I am sure about that,” Jan Blachowicz said in matter-of-fact tone during media day. “So I will try to knock him before he does this.“

Blachowicz has great respect for Clark’s wrestling in particular and says he’ll need to be on his guard to ensure he doesn’t end up stuck on the mat.

“I have to move a lot on my feet,” he said. “If he catches me, then I’m going to have trouble. So he cannot catch me. I have to punch him very hard, throw a lot of punches. That’s the way I’m going to win the fight.

“He is really good. He looks tough. He’s a good wrestler. Of course, I have to watch out for his punches, but I think I’m better. I’ve got more fights than he’s got, so my experience is a little bit better than his. I’m a little bit taller than him, my reach is longer, so I’m going to use it.

“But he’s strong (and) a good wrestler. I have to be careful.”

The former KSW light heavyweight champion has fought twice in Gdansk before, winning both bouts, and says a third win in the city would mean the world to him.

“I don’t like to lose. Nobody likes to lose,” Blachowicz said. “You train every day. This is something that you do for life. It means everything to me. I have to win this fight to prove to myself that I can still win.

“It’s not the end of Jan Blachowicz. It’s just the end of his bad luck.”

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

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Gdansk in-depth breakdown: Stylistic matchups, fight picks, best bets and fantasy studs

MMAjunkie Radio co-host and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of all of UFC Fight Night 118’s main-card bouts.

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

UFC 216 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and the main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass.

Donald Cerrone (32-9-1 MMA, 19-6-0 UFC)

Donald Cerrone.

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 34 Weight: 170 lbs. Reach: 73″
  • Last fight: Decision loss to Robbie Lawler (July 29, 2017)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/striking style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+ Multiple Muay Thai titles
^ 28-0 as a pro kickboxer
+ 8 KO victories
+ 16 submission wins
+ 13 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Intelligent strike setups
^ Feints, reads, reacts
+ Devastating head kicks
+ Accurate and intercepting knees
+ Hard leg kicks
^ Most landed in UFC history
+ Underrated wrestling ability
+ Excellent transitional grappler
+/- 4-7 against UFC southpaws

Darren Till (15-0-1 MMA, 3-0-1 UFC)

Darren Till.

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″” Age: 24 Weight: 170 lbs. Reach: 74″
  • Last fight: Decision win over Bojan Velickovic (Sept. 2, 2017)
  • Camp: Team Kaobon (England)
  • Stance/striking style: Southpaw / Muay Thai
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+ K-1 European title
+ Luta Livre purple belt
+ 9 KO victories
+ 2 submission wins
+ 4 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Good feints and footwork
+ Accurate left hand
^ Coming forward or off the counter
+ Hard Thai kicks
^ Works well to the body
+ Strong inside the clinch
^ Dangerous elbows and knees
+ Underrated grappling ability
^ Shows good positional awareness

Summary:

The main event on UFC Fight Pass features a muay Thai maelstrom between Donald Cerrone and Darren Till.

A top-ranked welterweight who is looking to recover from a two-fight losing skid, Cerrone is in Gdansk to get his redemption. There, the American will find Till, an undefeated Englishman who is seeking to steal the spotlight and further state his arrival.

Starting off on the feet, we have two Thai-style strikers who ply their craft in different ways.

Till, the southpaw, will work behind subtle feints and solid footwork, creating angles that allow him to capitalize and counter on his opponent’s reactions. Favoring his heavy left cross, Till possesses a pull-counter that bears a slight resemblance to Conor McGregor, typically stunning his opposition when landing cleanly.

However, Till’s one-sided ways have often drawn criticism and questions about his game as a whole, something he will likely have to answer for in this matchup. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if Till makes the adjustments and displays the proficiency of his right hand, especially considering that right hands have typically been Cerrone’s common culprit against both stances.

I will also be curious to see how Till’s kicking arsenal of playing, prodding and picking his places for power will play out with Cerrone, who never seems to shy away from trading shots.

Embracing his frame and kickboxing base, Cerrone does an excellent job of using leg kicks and teeps from a distance. Mixing in punches appropriately, Cerrone will draw out his opponent’s defenses to set up the fight-ending head kicks that comprise his highlight reel.

And though those head kicks could tax Till’s low-handed leans, I see Cerrone getting much more mileage in this matchup with his leg kicks.

Till typically utilizes a wide stance to facilitate his power shot and pull-counter agenda, something that usually makes his lead leg available, as we saw Bojan Velickovic exploit in Till’s last outing.

Still, Till has displayed the composure and craft to work through this opening, inviting opponents to kick his leg as he keeps counter crosses at the ready. But against the fighter who has landed the most leg kicks in UFC history, the Englishman will most certainly be playing with fire if he fails to make adjustments.

Cerrone will also provide much more than kicks and knees. He’s made strides in his overall striking in recent years, particularly inside the pocket or when throwing in combination. Under the care of Brandon Gibson, this most recent iteration of Cerrone has him moving his head and torso offline and at angles, unloading his punches with different mechanics than before.

Often punching his way out of exchanges with his left-hook, Cerrone will feed his newfound flow into his patent head kicks, as his arsenal is now much more symbiotic –– which in turn makes him more dangerous.

Another potential linchpin in this matchup resides inside the clinch.

Both men are unabashedly offensive in this space, but I believe Till is quietly the better defensive fighter, as Cerrone has been surprisingly hittable from here for much of his career. Furthermore, Till also appears to be technically competent and comfortable in the clinch – which coupled with being the naturally bigger man – could pay potential dividends.

Nevertheless, Cerrone is not reliant on the clinch to get off his strikes or offensive grappling. Keeping an excellent reactionary shot in his holster, Cerrone will usually use it to throw off an opponent early, or go to it when he is under heavy fire.

Should Cerrone get the Englishman to the floor, he will surely have the on-paper advantage. Whether he is attacking off of his back or plotting his next move from a topside half-guard, Cerrone is a natural, gifted transitional grappler. But on-paper advantages can often be misleading, as I do believe Till is an underrated grappler to boot.

Coming from a Luta Livre background (a style more synonymous with catch wrestling than jiu-jitsu), Till demonstrates excellent positional awareness and disciplined hand-fighting, a technique that allows him to unleash unforgiving elbows when on top.

From the bottom, Till displays craft and composure, but will smartly not stick around long to see how things play out. Instead, the Englishman will typically elect to turtle-out to his base and work to stand from there. If Till can continue this approach while protecting his back, then I do not see ground stanzas lasting for large portions of the round.

With the betting lines being closer than expected, it seems that the oddsmakers and public either have high faith in Till – or fleeting faith in Cerrone.

As for me, it is easy to see why Cerrone is favored to win. He has more experience in big fights and has a much more diverse arsenal. But on the other hand, I can also see why Till is a live dog in this spot.

From his southpaw stance, brutal body attacks and confident attitude, he carries all the intangibles that have traditionally troubled Cerrone. All of the intangibles –– minus a high pace.

Like many traditional muay Thai fighters, Till can arguably be too comfortable in outclassing his opponent on a micro-level, which can be dangerous considering that MMA judges have trouble interpreting striking from a macro-level. If Till cannot significantly change the course of this fight with his power, then I see Cerrone having a stylistic edge should this contest go to the cards.

I’m a fan of Till’s game and am rooting for him to do well, but it is ultimately hard to pick him based on the information at hand. For that reason, I suggest keeping your money in your pocket and holding onto your beer firmly –– this fight will likely be a back-and-forth affair that could go long.

Official pick: Cerrone by decision

Official outcome: To be determined

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie