White: Conor not upset with UFC 223 title fight between Ferguson & Khabib

According to Dana White, Conor McGregor understands why Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov is for the lightweight title. There’s still some confusion surrounding the upcoming lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223, but Dana White says Conor McGregor is cool with the situation.
White, the UFC president, still didn’t reveal whether McGregor would be stripped of his belt but insisted that the UFC must move on with or without its flagship star.
“Is he upset? No, Conor understands,” White told TMZ Sports in a recent interview (h/t Peter Carrol of MMA Fighting). “Conor made a lot of money, he wants some time off, but the division has to go on and the business has to go on.”
McGregor, 29, captured the lightweight strap in 2016 but, instead of defending it, went on to box Floyd Mayweather Jr. in one of the biggest fights in combat sports history at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.
McGregor also never got the chance to defend his featherweight title, as the Irishman was stripped of the belt almost immediately after beating Eddie Alvarez to become the promotion’s first-ever simultaneous two-division champion at UFC 205.
White, who traveled with McGregor across three countries and four different cities to promote the 2017 boxing extravaganza with Mayweather, isn’t sure if ‘The Notorious’ will ever return to combat sports but hinted that “anything is possible” when it comes to a rematch against ‘Money’.
“It was August and now it’s September. I say it all the time, when you get that kind of money…Conor might never come back. It’s a lot of money.”
If McGregor does come back, it’s expected that ‘The Notorious’ will fight the winner of UFC 223’s main event between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov. The highly anticipated pay-per-view is scheduled to take place on April 7 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Source: bloody

MMA Vivi: Is Emmett the real deal?

Zane Simon & Connor Ruebusch are back to break down this weekend’s UFC card in Orlando, FL. With picks and odds for every bout on the card. From Jeremy Stephens vs. Josh Emmett in the main event down to Albert Morales vs. Manny Bermudez in the opening prelims. UFC returns on FOX with… a card? The promotion is headed down to Orlando with some fights, some of which should be pretty interesting, and a lot of which just feel totally meaningless. Jeremy Stephens takes on Josh Emmett in a fight that would be a totally fine co-main event or main card attraction, but seems lost as the main event. And Tecia Torres gets the night’s most important fight, against former title challenger Jessica Andrade. Otherwise, Mike Perry is usually fun and Saunders/Jouban should be violent.
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Here’s a look at the UFC on FOX 28: Emmett vs. Stephens card as it stands right now:
FOX MAIN CARDJosh Emmett vs. Jeremy StephensJessica Andrade vs. Tecia TorresOvince Saint Preux vs. Ilir LatifiMike Perry vs. Max Griffin
FOX PRELIMSRenan Barao vs. Brian KelleherSara McMann vs. Marion ReneauAngela Hill vs. Marina MorozBen Saunders vs. Alan Jouban
FIGHT PASS PRELIMSSam Alvey vs. Marcin PrachnioRani Yahya vs. Russell DoaneEric Shelton vs. Alex PerezAlbert Morales vs. Manny Bermudez
Source: bloody

VIDEO: Akhmet Aliev wins FNG lightweight belt with hellacious spinning wheel kick KO

Akhmet Aliev is killing them with kindness… and vicious spin kicks.

Living up to his nickname, “Butcher” chopped down Magomedsaygid Alibekov with a picture-perfect spinning wheel kick in the main event of Fight Nights Global 83 on Thursday in Moscow, Russia. He handed Alibekov his first loss and in doing so, became the new FNG lightweight champion.

In the clip above, Aliev lands the devastating strike with less than a minute remaining in Round 3, and the ensuing impact leaves Alibekov completely flat on the mat. The knockout is so definitive that Aliev immediately rushes in to help tend to his fallen foe.

Source: mmafighting

James Vick: Tony Ferguson loses to Khabib Nurmagomedov

UFC lightweight James Vick gives his assessment and prediction for the upcoming title fight between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223. UFC lightweight champion Tony Ferguson is considered to be one of the few fighters today who poses a legitimate threat fighting off of their back. This was on full display when he finished Kevin Lee via triangle choke in the third round of their headliner fight at UFC 216, where he won the UFC interim 155-pound title.
However, number 12-ranked lightweight James Vick feels this style could actually cost the fight for “El Cucuy” at UFC 223 against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“I think Khabib wins. I think that Ferguson’s too content with being on his back,” Vick told MMAjunkie Radio. “He’s going to get taken down, obviously. Khabib can take down pretty much anyone in the division.”
“Guys can get up, but Tony Ferguson will accept being on his back and throwing elbows and playing rubber guard,” Vick continued. “And he’s not going to win like that.”
“Unless he lands a big elbow and cuts Khabib from the bottom or something, I don’t see him being able to win a fight off his back. He gets too content with staying on his back instead of trying to get the hell up.”
Ferguson’s ground work has been extensively honed under Eddie Bravo’s tutelage at 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu. Right after defeating Lee last October, Bravo awarded Ferguson his black belt.
UFC 223 is scheduled to take place on April 7th at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It will be co-headlined by the strawweight title rematch between Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Source: bloody

McGregor says the UFC rejected his pitch to fight Edgar at UFC 222

The Notorious star of MMA and boxing took to Instagram to relay his eagerness for a return to UFC action. The last time Conor McGregor entered the Octagon was back in November 2016; when he won the UFC lightweight title with a TKO victory over Eddie Alvarez. Last year he made history by losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in his lucrative pro boxing debut. Since then the only competitive fighting arena he’s entered was a Bellator cage (much to the chagrin of Marc Goddard).
The long absence from MMA, and specifically the UFC, has led to McGregor being stripped of his lightweight title (according to UFC president Dana White when talking to TMZ). However, it appears that the Irishman was looking to return to the UFC much sooner than anticipated.
Today the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion took to his personal Instagram account to reveal that he offered to fill in for Max Holloway at UFC 222, when the reigning 145 lb champion fell out of his announced match-up with Frankie Edgar.

I am fighting again. Period. I am the best at this. I put my name forward to step in at UFC 222 to face Frankie Edgar when Max Holloway pulled out, but I was told there wasn’t enough time to generate the money that the UFC would need. I was excited about bouncing in last minute and taking out the final featherweight, without all the rest of the stuff that comes with this game. Please respect the insane amount of work outside the fight game that I have put in. On top of the fighting. I am here. It is on them to come and get me. Because I am here. Yours sincerely, The Champ Champ™ A post shared by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on Feb 22, 2018 at 11:58am PST

“I put my name forward to step in at UFC 222 to face Frankie Edgar when Max Holloway pulled out, but I was told there wasn’t enough time to generate the money that the UFC would need,” wrote McGregor.
The UFC have instead announced that Brian Ortega will face Edgar on the card, which is currently headlined by women’s featherweight champ Cris Cyborg and Yana Kunitskaya.
The rest of McGregor’s statement reads as follows:

I am the best at this.
I put my name forward to step in at UFC 222 to face Frankie Edgar when Max Holloway pulled out, but I was told there wasn’t enough time to generate the money that the UFC would need.
I was excited about bouncing in last minute and taking out the final featherweight, without all the rest of the stuff that comes with this game. Please respect the insane amount of work outside the fight game that I have put in.
On top of the fighting.
I am here.
It is on them to come and get me. Because I am here.
Yours sincerely,
The Champ Champ™

Source: bloody

Conor McGregor says he offered to face Frankie Edgar at UFC 222, will fight again ‘period’

Conor McGregor wants to make one thing very clear: He will absolutely fight again. And he wanted to do it sooner than you think.

The UFC lightweight champion wrote Thursday on Instagram that he offered to fight Frankie Edgar at UFC 222 on March 3 when Max Holloway pulled out of the scheduled featherweight title fight, but the UFC said “there wasn’t enough time to generate the money that the UFC would need.”

“I was excited about bouncing in last minute and taking out the final featherweight, without all the rest of the stuff that comes with this game,” McGregor wrote.

McGregor has not fought in the UFC since winning the lightweight belt from Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November 2016. He fought Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match last August, earning upwards of $100 million and generating the second biggest pay-per-view mark of all time.

“The Notorious” said he will indeed be back in the Octagon.

“I am fighting again,” he wrote. “Period. I am the best at this.”

McGregor asked fans in the post to “respect the insane amount of work outside the fight game that I have put in.”

“On top of the fighting,” he wrote.

On Thursday, UFC president Dana White told TMZ that McGregor “understands” why the UFC 223 main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson has to be for the real lightweight title, not the interim one. McGregor has yet to defend that 155-pound belt.

“Is he upset? No, Conor understands,” White said. “Conor made a lot of money, he wants some time off, but the division has to go on and the business has to go on.

“I say it all the time, when you get that kind of money… Conor might never come back. It’s a lot of money.”

The wildly popular Irishman, who is the biggest financial draw in the history of MMA, put the onus on the UFC to get him back in the cage in his Instagram post.

“I am here,” McGregor said. “It is on them to come and get me. Because I am here.”

Source: mmafighting

Diggin’ Deep on UFC on FOX 28 – FOX prelims preview

Get the scoop on UFC on FOX 28’s televised prelims, including former bantamweight champion Renan Barao looking to get back on track against the opportunistic Brian Kelleher. If I were to tell you the prelims before the big FOX card featured a former champion, you’d probably think the UFC is throwing the best they can at UFC on FOX 28. However, Renan Barao isn’t near the caliber of competitor he was back in his title days. Since his last successful title defense, Barao has gone 2-4 with his victories coming over Mitch Gagnon and Philippe Nover. Hardly impressive. Nonetheless, there is hope for the former champion. Recognizing his development has stalled, Barao switched camps, going from Nova Uniao to ATT in Florida. It won’t guarantee automatic improvement for the Brazilian, but an attempt to change things up is certainly better than the status quo.
The televised prelims take place on FOX at 6:00 PM ET/3:00 PM PT on Saturday.
Renan Barao (36-5, 1 NC) vs. Brian Kelleher (18-8), Bantamweight
Four years ago, Barao knocked off Urijah Faber for the second time and was in the contention for pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. Then he ran into a buzzsaw no one saw coming in TJ Dillashaw and has been a shell of himself ever since. While it’s understandable that most champions aren’t the same fighters four years after they lose the belt, Barao is still only 31-years old… a time when most fighters are in their prime.
Though it’s clear Barao will never regain the form that once made him so dominant, he can still be a solid piece to the bantamweight puzzle. A more technical striker than when he was the 135-pound kingpin, Barao has made better use of angles and footwork. Plus, his kicks – the trademark staple of Nova Uniao — are still as lethal as they ever were. The issue is that is where the recent improvements end. He lacks the confidence he once had which allowed him to take risks he no longer does. He’s lost a bit of his athleticism too. Nonetheless, Barao’s 70” reach and near-impenetrable takedown defense still provide him with enough tools to be a viable threat in just about any contest.
Opportunistic is the best way to describe Kelleher. He isn’t a standout athlete by any means, but his toughness and determination keep him in contests where others would likely be overwhelmed. He has enough power in his fists that he’s always a threat while being just skilled enough in his wrestling and striking to be passable. Where Kelleher truly shines is in the grappling aspect as well in the midst of scrambles where he has proven adept at snatching at snatching his opponent’s neck with the guillotine in particular being his specialty.
Though Barao has had a precipitous fall, it’s still worth noting only Dillashaw has been able to finish him, going the distance with Jeremy Stephens and Aljamain Sterling. Kelleher isn’t walking away the winner unless he can find a way to finish off Barao. Given Barao has had issues with his gas tank, it’s plausible Kelleher could find a finish late, but the smarter money says to go with Barao pulling out a decision. Barao via decision
Sara McMann (11-4) vs. Marion Reneau (8-3-1), Women’s Bantamweight
Following McMann’s loss to Ketlen Vieira last September, it seemed like her hopes of getting another title shot at bantamweight were dead. Then a mass exodus of fighters to the newly formed flyweight division – including Valentina Shevchenko, Liz Carmouche, and Alexis Davis – and that path doesn’t seem like a pipe dream anymore. The former Olympic wrestler is still one of the better athletes in the division while demonstrating an improved power submission game in the run up to the Vieira fight. Yes, McMann’s striking is still stiff and she has had a tendency to panic when opponents attack her with submission attempts of their own… but everything is golden beyond that!
Reneau continues to defy age, putting together a strong performance against Talita Bernardo. Owning one of the more dangerous guards in the division, Reneau welcomes a fight going to the ground as she has the type of submission chops that puts a scare into McMann. However, Reneau doesn’t have the wrestling chops to get the fight there in an advantageous position. No one will deny Reneau is also the more fluid striker, but her confidence in her ability on the feet tends to come and go. She was doing fine against Bethe Correia, but then showed reluctance to kickbox with Bernardo.
As much fun as Reneau’s improbable run has been, McMann appears to be a nightmare matchup for her. Reneau’s lack of confidence on the feet doesn’t inspire me to believe a KO is coming and though Reneau has an underrated clinch game, do we really expect her to outmuscle McMann? Plus, Reneau’s takedown defense is hardly impenetrable. Reneau could catch McMann from the guard, but the odds of that happening are slim enough that I’d rather pick McMann to pull out a decision. McMann via decision
Angela Hill (7-4) vs. Maryna Moroz (8-2), Women’s Strawweight
Far better than her 2-4 UFC record would indicate, Hill has defied the odds to make it to this point. A Muay Thai fighter who debuted in the UFC in just her second professional contest, Hill washed out of the UFC after being thrown into the deep end and won the Invicta strawweight title to claw her way back into the UFC. There are still little nuances she has to work out before she can be considered one of the divisional elite, but it’s clear she continues to make the necessary steps to improve.
On the flip side, Moroz has been losing steam ever since her shocking UFC debut in which she upset Joanne Calderwood via armbar. Since then, she has been afraid to commit to her striking, sticking to the outside while prodding with a jab. While a jab it typically highly effective, it doesn’t do any good when it continually falls short of connecting with her opposition without any hint of adjustment. When her inhibitions don’t hold her back, Moroz’s 67” reach causes all sorts of problems for her opponents as she can put together slick punching combinations in addition to picking apart her opponent. Her victory over Calderwood also exhibited underrated submission chops. The key is for the Ukrainian to be aggressive.
While it’s true Hill has evolved into an out-fighter who has taken significant steam off her punches – much like Moroz – she at least has been making consistent contact as the 107 significant strikes landed in her last contest against Nina Ansaroff attributes to. Hill still has a sharp clinch game she can turn to and has shown continued progress in her wrestling on both the offensive and defensive end of things. Given Moroz has some of the worst takedown defense in the sport, that’s just enough to push me in favor of Hill. Hill via decision
Ben Saunders (21-8-2) vs. Alan Jouban (15-6), Welterweight
There has been strong indications that both these strikers are on their way down. Jouban has dropped his last two contests in violent fashion while Saunders has come up short in two of his last three UFC contests with the lone victory being a controversial win over Court McGee.
Believe it or not, it’s been almost 14 years since Saunders made his professional MMA debut. The 6’2” Muay Thai practitioner has always been a little bit chinny – despite his willingness to play face punchy with his opponent – so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise he doesn’t appear to be the most durable guy. Nonetheless, Saunders utilizes his front kick much the same way many use their jab, but that hardly means Saunders doesn’t throw a jab. In fact, Saunders either stays all the way on the outside with kicks and jabs or all the way in with the clinch, brutalizing his opponent’s body with knees. Saunders has never been a strong wrestler, but he knows full well how to use his long limbs to make his guard one of the trickiest in the game. In fact, Saunders owns the only omoplata finish in UFC history.
Not that long ago, Jouban was thought to be one of the more entertaining brawlers on the roster. Employing far more caution in recent years, Jouban has successfully transitioned himself into a patient counter striker with plus power – did you see his short-range KO of Richard Walsh? — and sound distance management. There are indications his athleticism is fading as Niko Price overwhelmed him in a matter of minutes. Nonetheless, Jouban has shown signs of a wrestling game at times, indicating he may have a method to effectively utilize his often-mentioned but rarely-seen grappling arsenal.
About the only thing I feel comfortable predicting is this contest isn’t going the distance. Jouban’s last two appearances are largely indicative of a fighter who has gone over a cliff for their career as he used to be noted for his durability. Saunders never has been. Though a Jouban win won’t be surprising in the least, I’m going with Saunders as he still looks like the guy we all thought he was. The same can’t be said for Jouban. Saunders via TKO of RD2
Source: bloody

Irene Aldana reflects on first UFC win, hopes to fight Bethe Correia next

Irene Aldana started 2018 with her right foot forward.

The Mexican bantamweight fighter picked up her first win since switching to the UFC banner after a 4-1 run in Invicta FC that had her challenging for the bantamweight belt. It was a decision win over Talita Bernardo at last month’s UFC St. Louis that marked Aldana’s first victory inside the Octagon. The win at UFC St. Louis snapped a two-fight losing streak that plagued Aldana’s career in the UFC.

“I felt super happy,” Aldana told MMA Fighting regarding her first victory in the UFC. “It’s another step forward and I realized a very important goal of mine. I was able to put those previous fights behind, where I didn’t do that well, so I was very happy. I was very satisfied with my performance, but either way, there are things I need to improve on. But overall, I was pretty happy and it motivated me to want to fight again.”

Aldana entered the fight with Bernardo with back-to-back loses to veterans Leslie Smith and Katlyn Chookagian. The bout with Smith was a competitive contest that earned Fight of the Night awards, and the fight with Chookagiann ended in a close, and to some controversial, split decision.

But despite being 0-2 in the UFC entering her fight with the Bernardo, the Guadalajara native never doubted into thinking that she wasn’t UFC caliber.

“No, because of the types of fights that I had, I understood that I really belonged there because they were really good and close fights, so I never doubted or thought that maybe it was too soon for me to be in the UFC.

“It mas more of a mental thing for me. I might have lost a little bit of concentration during my fights, which caused me to abandon some technical aspects in the fight. So it was just things that I needed to work on in camp, and more than anything, in that area, but I never doubted.”

With a UFC win under her belt, Aldana has resumed her training at Lobo Gym in Guadalajara, Mexico, and hopes to return to competition around May or April. Aldana is open to fight anyone the UFC puts in front of her, but she would like to fight the opponent she was originally scheduled to meet at UFC St. Louis.

“Honestly, whoever the UFC offers me, but I would like to fight against Bethe Correia,” Aldana said. “She was the one I was originally supposed to fight in this last event (UFC St Louis). It was a fight that excited me a lot, so if it goes down, that’d be super cool. But if not and they offer me someone else, then that’s okay too just as long as it keeps me climbing.”

The 29-year-old bantamweight believes fighting a former title challenger in Correia would be beneficial to her career, as well as an entertaining contest for the fans.

“It would be a very good opportunity and a great fight,” Aldana explained. “She’s a very exciting fighter and very well known in the industry, so I think it would be a very good fight.

“It would be a clash of physical attributes more than anything. She’s short so I would maybe have an advantage in reach. But even though she’s short, she hits very hard and I’ve seen her boxing – I know she has power in her hands. She also handles her strategy well, she’s tough and aggressive. So anything can happen, but I think this would mainly be a boxing match, unless she changes something in her game.”

Ideally, Aldana would like to return for the UFC event that’s rumored to take place in Chile sometime this May.

“Wherever they place me is fine, but personally I think Chile would be a very good option since it’s a Latin American market,” Aldana said. “Chicago would also be cool, the people that live there are very nice and they support me a lot. Argentina could also be an option, I like to fight in Las Vegas too, so I don’t have a place specifically in mind, but I would like to fight in those places.”

Source: mmafighting

Sage Northcutt produced UFC Austin’s peak viewing audience

UFC Austin produced more than respectable ratings on Sunday night, with Sage Northcutt’s main card opener drawing the most viewers. If there’s one thing we can gather from last Sunday’s UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs. Medeiros card, it’s that there’s still plenty of interest in Sage Northcutt.
Average viewership for the FS1 main card clocked in at 893,000 viewers, with a 0.32 rating in the 18-49 demographic. It’s a pretty good number when you consider it was going up against the NBA All-Star Game and the Winter Olympics, but the peak viewership may (or may not!) surprise you.
Approximately 1,078,000 watched the opening bout between Sage Northcutt and Thibault Gouti, per MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer. Northcutt prevailed by unanimous decision, giving him consecutive wins for the first time since he began his career 7-0. When Northcutt last appeared on a UFC main card, he was part of the “Paige and Sage” show that was UFC on FOX 22, which averaged nearly 3.2 million viewers and peaked with 4.8 million for Paige VanZant vs. Michelle Waterson.
The 21-year-old Northcutt’s most recent reported payout was $120,000 ($60,000 + $60,000 win bonus) for his preliminary card bout vs. Michel Quinones back in November. Northcutt has clearly been given the promotional push by the UFC, and so far he’s at least someone fans want to watch on TV. I imagine that will mean more main card appearances for him, whether he wins or loses, and right now he’s two for his last two.
In stark contrast, Friday’s Bellator 194 card was a flop. The heavyweight tournament quarterfinal bout between Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione headlined the card, and despite both men being notable UFC names, the ratings were not good. Just 476,000 viewers tuned in for the main card on Paramount Network, and the broadcast peaked at 775,000 for Mitrone vs. Nelson, with DVR numbers factored in. That’s only 6,000 more viewers than the January event headlined by Lorenz Larkin and Fernando Gonzalez, and the 18-49 demo rating was a paltry 0.16, which ranked 72nd among all cable television programming in the US for that evening.
Nine of Bellator’s last 25 events have averaged under 500,000 viewers, including two of the three shows they’ve staged in 2018. It should be noted that Paramount Network, aka the channel formerly known as Spike, is in about 10 million fewer households than it was in 2015, but nevertheless the ratings decline for Bellator MMA is noticeable.
Source: bloody

Breakdown: Callum Smith vs. Nieky Holzken

This weekend is the final World Boxing Super Series semi-final, as Callum Smith takes on late replacement Nieky Holzken. This weekend, we wrap up the semifinal round of the WBSS Super Middleweight (168 lbs.) bracket. George Groves is in the finals, and here, we find out his opponent as Callum Smith (23-0; 17 KOs) faces Nieky Holzken (13-0; 10 KOs). Holzken is stepping in as a late replacement for the ill Jurgen Braehmer. Smith is ranked #3 in the division by Ring Magazine while Holzken is understandably unranked. The fight takes place this Saturday, February 24 with a fight time of 2:00 p.m. ET. The fight is in Germany and there will be a live stream with live coverage here at Bloody Elbow.
How do these two stack up?
Smith: 27 years old | 6’3” | 78″ reach | orthodox stanceHolzken: 34 years old | 6’0″ | 74″ reach | orthodox stance
What have these two done recently?
Smith: W – Erik Skoglund (UD) | W – Luke Blackledge (KO) | W – Norbert Nemesapati (RTD)Holzken: W – Viktor Polyakov (TKO) | W – Cagri Ermis (KO) | W – Kindele Matingu (Dec)
How did these two get here?
Callum Smith is the youngest of the UK Smith boxing family, and is undefeated in his 5 year pro career. He’s won some lower-tier titles, though not yet a major world belt. Smith has so far had decent competition, but lacks a single major win on his resume. His quarter-final victory came over Erik Skoglund. That was a telling fight, as Smith dominated early, let Skoglund back in the fight, and then had to rally to turn him back. So on the one hand, he showed he could overcome adversity, but on the other hand, he probably shouldn’t have had to show that against Skoglund at all.
Nieky Holzken is only 13 fights into his boxing career. He’s boxed off and on since 2013, but it’s primarily been a sideline to his main job as a kickboxer. There, he was arguably the sport’s #1 fighter two years ago, as he held the Glory Welterweight title and was on an incredible 17-1 run. He dropped that title in December 2016 and is on a surprising 0-3 run in kickboxing since. His last fight was in boxing just a few weeks ago on February 3 where he scored a 2nd round KO win. He’s obviously still developing as a boxer, taking a huge step here – this is his first ever 12 rounder.
What can fans expect?
Look, as a kickboxing fan, I’m incredibly excited to see Holzken here. And I do think he has shown some good skills in his boxing career so far, translating some of his kickboxing skills (like his gorgeous body hooks) nicely. And Smith has yet to really show a level of serious greatness. But this is not going to be an easy fight for Holzken. Smith is just the better, more experienced boxer, plain and simple. I expect Holzken to try to overwhelm Smith early, but Smith should have little trouble using his technical superiority to take the win. Holzken could make it fun though.Prediction: Callum Smith, TKO late
Who should watch?
The WBSS tournaments have been really good so far, but the Super Middleweight one is in danger of falling apart here, with Braehmer’s injury and a possible George Groves injury. That said, this is Nieky Holzken getting his highest profile boxing fight to date. I’m 100% in.
Source: bloody