Diggin’ Deep on UFC 213: Nunes vs. Shevchenko – Fight Pass preview

Get the inside scoop on UFC 213’s early contests on Fight Pass, featuring an exciting contest between bantamweight sluggers Rob Font and Douglas Silva da Andrade. Remember last year when UFC 200 featured the likes of Joe Lauzon, Jim Miller, and Gegard Mousasi on the Fight Pass prelims? I understand UFC 213 isn’t a nice round number like 200, but this is International Fight Week, traditionally one of the biggest PPV’s of the year. Instead of a series of recognizable names on Fight Pass – not even current or former contenders as we had last year — we’re getting contests thrown together at the last minute. You’d like to think you’re getting premium contests from time to time when you pay a monthly fee, especially on the bigger cards of the year. I guess not…
The Fight Pass prelims begin at 6:30 PM ET/3:30 PM PT on Saturday.
Rob Font (13-2) vs. Douglas Silva da Andrade (24-1, 1 NC), Bantamweight
Font has picked up a nice reputation among fans for his violent tendencies, picking up KO/TKO stoppages in each of his three UFC victories in a division not particularly noted for stoppages. A sprawl-and-brawl fighter, Font packs more power in his wide hooks than his lanky frame would indicate. His clinch has proven to be just as lethal, particularly his knees in the Thai clinch. Perhaps the biggest hole in Font’s game has been that he is one-dimensional, though he has been working hard to fix that, showing signs of an improved wrestling attack in his previous contest against Matt Schnell.
Given the infrequency in which he fights, it’s often easy to forget that Andrade is still on the roster. Before everyone rushes off to pick Font, keep in mind that Andrade has a feather in his cap that champion Cody Garbrandt is unable to make: he finished off Enrique Briones. That’s about as good of proof as you’ll find that Andrade is a very hard hitter himself. He’s perfectly capable of alternating between leading the dance and waiting for his opponent to come at him just as effectively one way or the other. Though he rarely looks to go to the ground himself, Andrade has a more proven track record than Font in that department.
Andrade is one of the more underrated bantamweights on the roster. He possesses a game similar to John Lineker, the lone loss in Font’s record during his UFC tenure. However, Andrade is not Lineker and Font has worked on the issues that led to that loss. It should be a hell of a contest between two hard hitters with granite chins, but I’m favoring the lankier Font to find a way to utilize his reach to his advantage to pick up a victory. Font via TKO, RD3
Cody Stamann (14-1) vs. Terrion Ware (17-5), Featherweight
Signed about a week before UFC 213 was to take place, Stamann and Ware have both been bouncing around the UFC’s radar for a few years at bantamweight. Not that they haven’t plied their trade at featherweight before, but don’t look for them to hang around at 145 after this contest.
Given his youth and more attractive record, Stamann will likely be the favorite. However, that also overlooks Ware’s level of opposition with three losses coming to UFC vets and a fourth to former LFA champion Leandro Higo. It’s a bit of a surprise Ware didn’t get a call sooner given that his willingness to stand in the pocket and trade punches is highly entertaining. It’s rare that Ware isn’t moving forward, but it also leads to a lot of damage being taken. His chin has held up thus far, never having suffered a KO in his career, but one wonders how much more damage it can take as Ware has spent many years plying this trade.
Stamann is more careful to pick his shots, darting in and out of the pocket with switch and leg kicks being his primary weapons. He does have fast hands when he lets loose with his short boxing combinations, but that has also been when opponents have been able to tag him. Stamann hasn’t shown much in terms of his grappling, rarely looking to take the fight to the ground while preferring ground-and-pound over advancing position.
There are reasons to pick against each fighter. Stamann is somewhat stiff in his movement and hasn’t shown as much versatility on the ground as Ware. On the flip side, Ware leaves his chin to be touched up and Stamann has a technical advantage in the striking. I have no particular reason for making my pick aside from a hunch, so don’t put much stock in it. Stamann via decision
Trevin Giles (9-0) vs. James Bochnovic (8-1), Light Heavyweight
Another pair of prospects signed about a week before the event, neither Giles nor Bochnovic are true light heavyweights. Given the short notice, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Giles is the more touted prospect, having picked up some wins over sound regional competition. A sound athlete, Giles has shown the ability to finish the contest on multiple fronts. His ground-and-pound is brutal, though he often uses it to soften up his opposition for a submission. Giles can be too tentative and let his opponent dictate the pace, but he has an awesome chin and a great killer instinct when he notices his opponent is hurt.
Bochnovic hasn’t faced the level of competition Giles has, making him a greater mystery. He does own a kickboxing background with a 6’4″ frame and 81″ reach. Those are long for light heavyweight much less at middleweight where Bochnovic is to likely drop to after this contest. His wrestling has a long way to go, but he is scrappy and knows how to survive on the ground. The odd thing is that despite his kickboxing background, all but one of his victories have come by submission. I can’t say for sure as film is limited, but all indications are that he’s a club-and-sub specialist as most of those submissions have been RNC’s.
Both have their flaws that can be exposed, making this a good matchup for a pair of newcomers. Given I haven’t seen Bochnovic make good use of his long reach – negating what is probably his biggest advantage – I’m going with the better athlete in Giles, though without a lot of confidence. Giles via submission, RD2

Source: bloody

UFC 213 & TUF Finale Care/Don’t Care Preview

Sorry cry babies! Eugene S. Robinson + John Nash are back with another infamous & patented installment of the Care/Don’t Care Preview for UFC 213 and The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption Finale It’s time for another of our infamous and patented Care/Don’t Care Previews with John Nash filling in for Kid Nate and co-host extraordinaire Eugene S. Robinson (who’s pushing OXBOW’s new record THIN BLACK DUKE) is here.
For the audio only version check us out on SoundCloud and be sure to subscribe to MMA NATION on iTunes and YouTube.
Source: bloody

Back to light heavyweight after ‘surprising’ UFC debut, Marcel Fortuna wants another KO

Marcel Fortuna wanted to become a UFC fighter, and his first opportunity inside the Octagon was better than everything he had ever dreamed.

Winning five in a row in the regional circuit between 2012 and 2015 earned the Brazilian light heavyweight a spot on the 23rd season of The Ultimate Fighter, but he came up short on the reality show. After that moment, he decided to take some time off.

“I stopped thinking about my fight career after I left the show,” Fortuna told MMA Fighting. “I had a few changes in my personal life, I moved to a different state and my son was just born, so I had to take some time off. I focused on my life for a year.”

Fortuna finally considered coming back earlier this year, and just a few weeks after signing with a new manager, Lucas Lutkus, he became a UFC fighter.

The 31-year-old fighter moved up to the heavyweight division to take on Anthony Hamilton on short notice at UFC Fight Night 104 in February, and it only lasted a round.

“My strategy was to fight smart,” said Fortuna, who scored the first knockout of his career. “Since he was bigger than me and I was faster, I wanted to get him tired a little so I could use my ground game later in the fight, but he was hunting me down and my hand landed. I saw that he felt my hand, so I thought ‘you know what, I’ll go with the hands anyway’. It was really surprising.”

Fortuna, who weighed in at 210 pounds for the heavyweight bout — 48 pounds lighter than his opponent a day after the bout — didn’t need to think twice about moving back to his original division after such an impressive debut.

“I guess they needed someone to step up and I took it,” he said. “I thought about it, I was a little worried because the guy is bigger and heavier, but I went for it. Now, I return to the light heavyweight division with more confidence because I’ve worked in my striking for a long time. The only difference is the weight, actually.”

Back in the Octagon at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale card in Las Vegas on Friday night, facing 7-0 light heavyweight Jordan Johnson, Fortuna believes other fighters will show him more respect from now on.

“He has these two aspects to consider now,” the Brazilian said. “I used my jiu-jitsu to win pretty much every fight, but now they have to take my hands in consideration. He might change his game plan a little after my last knockout, maybe he goes for more takedowns. I’ll pay attention because he might try to play it safe.

“I’m going there to use my hands again and go for the knockout. If that works, wonderful. If not, I’ll use my jiu-jitsu. If he takes me down, I’m at home.”

Source: mmafighting

Kolya-Kyrgyz: The mysterious crime boss who paid for a kickboxing champ’s surgery

Kyrgyzstan’s most influential gangster paid for a kickboxing champion’s eye surgery. Karim Zidan delves into the criminal leader’s past. Ulanbek Kasymbekov was about to lose his sight when Kyrgyzstan’s most recognizable crime boss, Kamchy Kolbaev, came to his aid.
Kasymbekov, a kickboxing champion and Master of Sports in kickboxing, was recently diagnosed with a detached retina, which could have led to blindness if left untreated. The surgery cost 205,000 rubles at the time (approx. $3000 USD), which was more than the fighter could afford. Despite approaching the Kyrgyzstan Ministry of Sports and various oligarchs for support, Kasymbekov was unable to gather any funding for the surgery…until the controversial Kolbaev offered his support.
The news was first announced by TV host and public personality Asole Moldokmatova, who also confirmed that the athlete successfully went under the knife after Kolbaev transferred the necessary funds.
“Kamchy Kolbaev, a thief in law, has paid most of the money, and I thank him! Because he could have remained silent, as did our oligarchs and the minister of sports, or more precisely the Kyrgyz Republic head of the State Agency for Sport. Who even needs athletes in the country? They quietly defend the honor of the country, gaining glory for it, before they get thrown out,” Moldokmatova wrote on Facebook (h/t CrimeRussia).
While the bizarre situation could be interpreted as a rare piece of positive publicity for a notorious gangster, it also offers an intriguing glimpse into the sports landscape in Kyrgyzstan and how criminals flourish within it. It also sheds light on one of the more influential members of Central Asia’s criminal underworld.
Kingpin Kolya-Kyrgyz
Born in 1974, Kamchibek Kolbaev quickly rose to become a close ally and protégé to Rysbek Akmatbaev, a politician and alleged criminal leader regarded as the most powerful man in the Kyrgyz underworld. However, their paths diverged in the 1990s and their friendship came to an abrupt end. In 2000, Kolbaev allegedly attempted to assassinate Akmatbaev, but only succeeded in wounding the criminal and killing two of his associates. As a result, Kolbaev was sentenced to 25 years for the murder.
However, Kolbaev’s sentence was never completed. In 2006, the criminal was transferred from prison to a low security penal colony in Kyrgyzstan, where he promptly escaped the following year, along with approximately 700 other prisoners. Kolbaev’s escape sparked an investigation by an appointed committee to determine if foul-play was involved, and why a dangerous criminal was transferred to a low-security facility in the first place.
The case was never resolved, though it is believed that Kolbaev fled to the United Arab Emirates, where he remained in hiding, biding his time.
In 2008, local Russian media reported that Kolbaev had been crowned a thief-in-law during a ceremony in Moscow’s Golden Elephant restaurant. The meeting was attended by Vyacheslav Ivankov – an influential Russian Mafia member known by his nom de guerre, Yaponchik (Little Japanese) – and 30 other criminal leaders, all there to anoint Kolbaev the first “kingpin” of Kyrgyz origin.
Those crowned thieves in law become elite members of the criminal underworld and hold authority over lower members. Kolbaev’s crowning was believed to bring stability to Kyrgyz organized crime following the chaotic period of violence that proceeded the 2005 Tullip Revolution and elections. Kyrgyz gangsters who were facing severe criminal charges took part in the uprising and were pivotal in helping overthrow the sitting government. However, the power struggle that occurred following the ousting of President Askar Akayev saw Kolbaev’s friend-turned-foe Akmatbaev, then an MP in parliament, assassinated outside a mosque in 2006. Kolbaev was supposed to put an end to the anarchy at play.
According to reports, Kolbaev wouldn’t return to Kyrgyzstan until after the Kyrgyz Revolution of 2010, and by 2011, he had been acquitted of all charges against him. He returned to Dubai that year, where he was arrested on July 10 for robbing a jewelry store. He was later released. However, by 2012, Kolbaev was extradited back to Kyrgyzstan and turned over to the special services. He was eventually charged with the creation of a criminal organization, kidnapping, and the use of violence against a government representative, among others. He was sentenced to 5-and-a-half years in prison in 2013.
In June 2016, Kolbaev was released two years early from prison. He remains a free man and continues to reside in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek.
Judo Underworld
Prior to Kolbaev’s extradition in 2012, the Kyrgyz Ministry of Internal Affairs detained the president of the Judo Federation, Azamat Bakasov, and accused him of being a “close associate” to the kingpin. Bakasov was “invited” to attend a discussion with the Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption Department of Internal Affairs of Bishkek.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Bakasov took the leading role in the Judo federation after threatening physical violence against the organization’s previous president. Bakasov responded by claiming he was being persecuted by law enforcement officials for criticizing the activities of the National Olympic Committee, which he referred to as corrupt. He was eventually released following the conversation with law enforcement. Yet while he profusely denied any association with Kolbaev, he decided to leave his elected position that same year. By 2016, Kolbaev’s brother, Zholdoshbek, had been elected as the new president of Kyrgyzstan’s Judo federation.
Zholdoshbek ran as the only candidate for the presidency and was elected with a unanimous vote. Despite being a thief-in-law’s younger brother, Zholdoshbek was no stranger to the sport. He graduated from the judo sports school, where he became a Master of Sports in Judo before going on to receive a higher education at a local branch of the Moscow Institute of Law and Entrepreneurship. He repeatedly headed the delegation of the Kyrgyz Republic in international competitions in judo and later served as the vice-president of the Judo federation.
While Zholdoshbek’s role as both a thief-in-law’s brother and president of the judo federation does not necessarily incriminate him, it does suggest that Kamchy Kolbaev could potentially have some control over the operations of several sports within Kyrgyzstan. Much like how sports have often helped statesmen achieve political gain – as regularly occurs in Ramzan Kadyrov’s Chechnya, among others – sports can also benefit criminal leaders.
Kolbaev’s own brother recently met with president of the International Judo Federation Marius Wieser, as well as with the leadership of the Judo Federation of Azerbaijan to discuss the development of youth sports in their respective countries. This sort of diplomatic approach could only have been in Kolbaev’s reach through sports.
By expanding his network within the local sports community, Kolbaev extends his influence over an essential aspect of his country’s international reputation. It helps legitimize his position as a reputable member of society instead of just a shady figure from its underworld.
Source: bloody

Gabi Garcia reveals upcoming RIZIN opponent

The Brazilian grappling phenom takes on a new challenge at the end of the month. Looks like Gabi Garcia is going to have her hands full.
After announcing her participation in this weekend’s Shoot Boxing Girl’s S-Cup 2017, Garcia has now revealed her opponent for the upcoming RIZIN event as Russian boxer Oksana Gagloeva. Garcia made the announcement earlier today via Instagram.

Press conference today! Gabi Garcia vs Osakana Gagloeva Shinju vs Sheenna Starr 4 Womans fight in july 30! Proud of this girls. Congrats @nobu_sakakibara @rizin_staff @rizin_pr @takada_nobuhiko #rizinff #rizin2017 #rizinfightingfederation #gabigarcia #teampossible #teamgabigarcia #mma #wmma #mmajp A post shared by Gabi Garcia RizinFF (@gabigarciaoficial) on Jul 5, 2017 at 4:20am PDT

Unlike her shoot boxing fight, Gagloeva is not going to be an undersized opponent. She is listed as 5’9” (or 5’10”, depending on the source) and is listed as being an armwrestling and boxing champion, competing in the 100kg weight class. At 23 years of age, she will be making her MMA debut and has competed in grappling competitions while training at the Gladiator Fighting Team. Gagloeva also is a teammate of Garcia’s second MMA opponent, Anna Maliukova.
Some footage of her grappling is available here (link available):

As for her striking, it looks something like this in training:

Oksana Gagloeva A post shared by Russian Womens MMA (@russia_women_mma) on Feb 6, 2017 at 6:11am PST

Gagloeva Oksana County: Russia Age: 23 Height: 177cm Weight: 100kg 2(x) Russian Champion in boxing 4(x) Greece Champion in boxing 3(x) Grappling Champion 2(x) Russian Champion in Armrestling @mma_gladiator_belgorod @riznff @rizin @gabigarciaoficial @nobu_sakakibara @wmma @ufc @bellator @fightinglab @ufc_rus_mma @union_mma_of_russia @fedorteamofficial A post shared by Russian Womens MMA (@russia_women_mma) on May 9, 2017 at 10:28am PDT

It certainly cannot be argued that this won’t be a fair fight, or at least closer to fair than some in the past. We will find out in a few weeks how this all plays out.
Gagloeva takes on Garcia at RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2017 1st Round on July 30th, live from the Saitama Super Arena. This card will be headlined by former UFC title challenger Kyoji Horiguchi and Hideo Tokoro.

Source: bloody

Dana White guarantees Michael Bisping will face the winner of Romero vs. Whittaker

Dana White confirms that Michael Bisping will be fighting the winner of UFC 213’s co-headliner between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker. In May, the UFC decided to scrap the supposed matchup between Michael Bisping and the returning Georges St-Pierre. But as of June, Bisping admitted that he is still “invested” in facing the former long-time welterweight champion, since a press conference for their fight had already taken place.
UFC president Dana White, however, has other plans for the shelved middleweight champion. In a sit-down interview with MMAJunkie, White confirmed that Bisping will be facing the winner of Saturday night’s UFC 213 co-main event feature between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker.
“(Bisping) is in line for the winner. Bisping’s never turned down a fight, this guy,” White said. “Me and Bisping go back a long way from his season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ and I’ve done a lot of things for Michael Bisping, and Michael Bisping’s done a lot of things for me.”
“We have a really good relationship and we communicate a lot, even when we’re both not really happy with the situation and what’s going on. Me and Michael will get this done.”
Bisping, who is currently healing from an injury, was never in agreement with the making of the interim title fight between Romero and Whittaker, saying it’s “a little premature”. But for White, it is the only logical move to make.
“I’m in this situation right now where Bisping’s hurt. This should be Bisping vs. Romero right now. Whittaker just destroyed Jacare and Romero has been beating everybody along the way, waiting for this title shot.”
“Bisping’s not ready yet,” White continued. “And if there was ever an interim title fight, how is this one not worthy? This fight’s going to be ridiculous.”
UFC 213 will be taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and will be headlined by the women’s bantamweight title fight between Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko.
Source: bloody