Kamaru Usman vs. Emil Meek rescheduled for UFC Fight Night 124 in St. Louis

Kamaru Usman and Emil Meek are still set to fight, and now they have a date and location.

According to UFC.com, Usman (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) and Meek (9-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) will square off in a welterweight bout at UFC Fight Night 124, which takes place Jan. 14 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The event airs on FS1 following prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

The fight originally was set for UFC 219 on Dec. 30 but had to be postponed because of U.S. visa issues with Meek, a native of Norway. With those issues resolved, that paves the way for a critical bout in the 170-pound division.

Usman, currently No. 8 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, is undefeated in six octagon appearances. After making quick work of Sergio Moraes at UFC Fight Night 117 to earn a 10th straight overall win, Usman spoke about his difficulties getting matched up within the upper echelon of the division. It’s a problem he attributed to fighters being “smart enough to know that they have no chance.”

The unranked Meek is only one fight into his UFC stint. He picked up a unanimous decision over Jordan Mein at UFC 206 in December 2016. The 29-year-old fighter had been scheduled to meet Nordine Taleb in Sweden back in May but withdrew due to injury.

With the addition, the UFC Fight Night 124 lineup includes:

  • Dooho Choi vs. Jeremy Stephens
  • Vitor Belfort vs. Uriah Hall
  • Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Paige VanZant
  • Emeek Mill vs. Kamaru Usman
  • Darren Elkins vs. Michael Johnson
  • James Krause vs. Alex White
  • Matt Frevola vs. Marco Polo Reyes
  • Thiago Alves vs. Zak Cummings
  • Jessica Eye vs. Kalindra Faria
  • J.J. Aldrich vs. Danielle Taylor
  • Irene Aldana vs. Talita Bernardo
  • Guido Cannetti vs. Kyung Ho Kang
  • Mads Burnell vs. Mike Santiago

For more on UFC Fight Night 124, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Kamaru Usman denies ducking Emil Meek, says Colby Covington refused to fight him

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DETROIT – As far as he knows, Kamaru Usman no longer has a fight booked. But, while that situation gets resolved, he’s going a few rounds outside the octagon with a couple of his welterweight peers.

Usman (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) was supposed to fight Emil Meek (9-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at Dec. 30’s UFC 219. Meek’s visa issues, however, soon cast some doubt as to whether the matchup would ever materialize. Eventually, Meek got his visa. But by then, Usman’s manager said, they had moved on to “mug bigger, scared fish.”

Meek kept on gunning for the fight, only to be violently rebuffed by Usman on Twitter. Speaking to reporters backstage at UFC 218, Usman elaborated on the situation.

“We knew months ago he wasn’t going to be able to get his visa, he wasn’t getting his visa,” Usman said. “So we were told, ‘Hey, we’re going to work on the visa, are you still willing to hang on?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll hang on.’ In the process, they were trying to find someone who’d step in right away. And then it came to a point where, officially, it was like, ‘Yeah, it’s not looking likely.’

“Because what am I supposed to do? Sit and wait three weeks out, four weeks out, training hard for a fight that might not happen? So they said, ‘officially, we’re going to pull him. And we’re going to offer it to some guy, to see if they’ll fight.’”

The offer, Usman says, was made to controversial welterweight contender Colby Covington – who remains unbooked after a big win over ex-title-challenger Demian Maia at UFC Fight Night 119.

“That’s the fight they really want to make,” Usman said. “It’s the fight that makes sense. And he declined, once again.”

Usman sees why Covington, who’s been avidly campaigning for a shot at champ Tyron Woodley’s belt, wouldn’t want to fight him. The problem, the No. 8 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings says, is that No. 5 Covington was the one accusing Usman of doing the running not that long ago.

“It’s rough because he’s one of those guys who’s specifically been saying I’ve been ducking him, when that fight was never offered,” Usman said. “Now that the fight is being offered and he’s saying, ‘oh, no.’ Blatantly, three different occasions, he said ‘No, no, no.’

“I can’t understand why he wouldn’t take the fight. Well, in a sense I can – he thinks he’s next in line for a title shot. Which, it’s clear they’re not giving you a title shot. So hey, take the fight, at least prove to the people you’re the best, (and) you are next in line for a title shot.”

In light of Covington’s alleged refusal, Usman says he was told they would try to get him booked for January. And, in the interim, he came down with a bad flu that kept him in bed for a whole week and had yet to clear by the time he talked to reporters in Detroit.

Usman says he found out about Meek’s visa clearance as soon as he got off the plane, from social media.

“I’m like, goddman – it’s kind of too late now,” Usman said. “But it just kind of sucks that’s how things happen sometimes.

Usman wouldn’t commit to it, given he hadn’t had any official discussions yet. But, “as long as I know,” the fight with Meek at UFC 219 is off. The UFC’s website, though, still shows the bout on their event page.

Either way, Usman is not exactly happy with the way his would-be opponent framed the situation.

“Let’s be honest: look at the fight,” Usman said. “What about Emil Meek scares me that’s like, ‘Wow, don’t fight this guy’? No. Does he have big power, really? No. Can he outwrestle me? No. Can he outgrapple me? No. This was a, ‘stay busy, here’s a fight because no one else will fight you, here.’

“He’s kind of trying to make it seem like, ‘Oh, you’re trying to duck me?’ What do I have to duck? I’m asking for harder guys. How is that me ducking you? It makes no sense.”

To hear more from Usman, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC 219, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Report: Kamaru Usman and Emil Meek slated for welterweight clash at UFC 219

The good news for Kamaru Usman is that he got a fight. The bad news is that it’s not the ranked foe he wanted.

Instead, Usman is now set to meet fellow welterweight Emil Meek (9-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at UFC 219, which takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The matchup was reported by Farah Hannoun on Twitter – to which Meek responded with a tweet of his own.

After making quick work of Sergio Moraes at UFC Fight Night 117 to earn a 10th straight win – six of them in the UFC – Usman spoke about his difficulties getting matched up within the upper echelon of the 170-pound division. It’s a problem that he attributed to his belief “that they’re smart enough to know that they have no chance.”

Usman currently is the No. 11 fighter in both the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings and the official UFC rankings.

The unranked Meek is only one fight into his UFC stint. He picked up a unanimous decision over Jordan Mein at UFC 206 in December 2016. The 29-year-old fighter had been scheduled to meet Nordine Taleb in Sweden back in May, but had to withdraw due to injury.

Meek stamped his octagon ticket with a quick knockout win over UFC vet Rousimar Palhares at Venator. He’s only lost twice in his MMA career.

With the addition, the UFC 219 lineup now includes:

  • Dominick Cruz vs. Jimmie Rivera
  • Carlos Condit vs. Neil Magny
  • Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza
  • Matheus Nicolau vs. Louis Smolka
  • Khalil Rountree vs. Gokhan Saki
  • Myles Jury vs. Rick Glenn
  • Emil Meek vs. Kamaru Usman

For more on UFC 219, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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