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October, 2017

CAGE WARRIORS 88!

FULL FIGHT CARD & DETAILS

CAGE WARRIORS 88

The Liverpool Echo arena will once again play host to an amazing night of bouts this Saturday October 28th, as Chris Fishgold looks to defend his Lightweight title for the third time and Lee Chadwick fights for the vacant Middleweight belt on home soil. Travelling fighters Alexander Jacobsen and Victor Cheng cross the continent to challenge the two Liverpudlians, and will no doubt be bringing the support of their countrymen with them to make this a European rivalry for the ages.

Chris Fishgold (17-1-1) boasts 11 submission wins, and is renowned as one of the most dangerous fighters on the European circuit in close quarters. Jacobsen (8-1) knows he'll have to stay out of Fishgold's grip to have any chance of taking the title out of Liverpool, but has serious power in his hands and can close the show with just one shot if he lands clean.

For Lee Chadwick (23-13), this event means everything. This is the pinnacle of his career and, as a veteran of over 30 fights, perhaps the last chance he'll have to get his hands on Middleweight gold. Standing in his way is Victor Cheng (11-2), who has taken out some of the best in the division and is riding a 4-fight win streak.

A packed professional and amateur undercard beneath our leading fights bills Cage Warriors 88 as the most exciting night of the Cage Warriors calendar. With appearances from Liverpool favourite Molly McCann and dangerous lightweights Martin Stapleton and Soren Bak, who clash in one of the most anticipated bouts of the year, and it all adds up to an unmissable night of fights in Liverpool on October 28th.

Cage Warriors Network MMA

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Cerrone V Till!

Live On Fight Network

Fight Network, the world’s premier 24/7 multi-platform channel dedicated to complete coverage of combat sports, presents an action-packed event from Gdansk, Poland this Saturday, Oct. 21 at 3:00 p.m. ET, as the main card for UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: Cerrone vs. Till emanates from Ergo Arena, headlined by a pivotal welterweight showdown pitting No. 6-ranked contender Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (32-9, 1NC) against highly touted undefeated British prospect Darren Till (15-0-1).

In addition to the main event clash between Cerrone and Till, Saturday’s live UFC FIGHT NIGHT® main card will feature a women’s strawweight tilt between No. 3-ranked former title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-2), a native of Poland, and American Jodie Esquibel (6-2), a light heavyweight bout between Poland’s Jan Blachowicz (19-7) and South Dakota native Devin Clark (8-1), and a middleweight matchup between undefeated Polish up-and-comer Oskar Piechota (9-0) and California’s Jonathan Wilson (7-2).

The main card for UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: Cerrone vs. Till will repeat in its entirety in primetime on Saturday night, Oct. 21, at 9:00 p.m. ET, and Sunday night, Oct. 22, at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Fight Network MMA

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Limited Edition Randy Couture Bobblehead!

To Be Released At Bellator 186

Bellator MMA will be giving away a free limited-edition Randy Couture bobblehead on Friday, Nov. 3 to the first 5,000 fans in attendance at Bryce Jordan Center on the campus of Penn State University for Bellator 186: Bader vs. Vassell. The bobblehead giveaway is limited to one per person and will only be available to ticketholders upon entry into the arena.

Additionally, Bellator MMA fans are invited to attend a unique opportunity to meet the MMA and wrestling great prior to Bellator 186: Bader vs. Vassell. The meet and greet will take place on the concourse of Bryce Jordan Center on Friday, Nov. 3, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. ET. Space is limited and fans are encouraged to arrive early to reserve their place in line.

***Bobblehead giveaway and meet and greet are exclusively for Bellator 186 ticketholders***

***Bobbleheads distributed at venue points of entry, only while supplies last at each entry***

Randy “The Natural” Couture made his mark in the sport of wrestling and later MMA, where he was a multiple-time world champion at both heavyweight and light heavyweight.

Over his 14-year career, Couture compiled 19 victories, while also competing in 15 title fights. Prior to his professional career in mixed martial arts, the retired United States Army Sergeant made an impact on the high school and collegiate wrestling community by earning a state championship while attending Lynnwood High School in Washington state and a historic collegiate career that saw him become a three-time NCAA DI All-American at Oklahoma State University.

Couture also serves as a coach for his son, Ryan Couture, who currently competes in Bellator MMA’s welterweight division.

Bellator MMA Promotions

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John Gotti III!

Carves His Own Legacy Through MMA

John Gotti III

When he used to rummage through his father's boxing memorabilia as a child, or sit next to him on the couch years later watching mixed martial arts, John Gotti III had no idea he'd one day step through those cage doors himself, alone, face-to-face with every fighter's biggest adversary.

The idea, at first, was to find a way to make up for lost time with his father after the elder Gotti returned home from prison in 2004, so the two would watch all the big fights together and even attend live shows in New Jersey, just a stone's throw from their home in Oyster Bay, N.Y.

Only 11 years old at the time, Gotti III took an immediate liking to the raw, unfiltered drama of mixed martial arts -- combat in its purest form, as he calls it.

Following a successful, three-year trial run on the New York amateur circuit, the 24-year-old Gotti III makes his long-awaited professional debut Friday, Oct. 27th, 2017 on the preliminary card of "CES MMA 46" at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., joining forces with the hottest promotion in the northeast.

Tickets for "CES MMA 46" are priced at $40.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and can be purchased online at www.cesboxing.com, www.twinriver.com, www.ticketmaster.com or www.cagetix.com/ces by phone at 401-724-2253/2254 or at the Twin River Casino Players Club. All fights and fighters are subject to change.

His father, John A. Gotti -- nicknamed "Junior" -- never envisioned his own son fighting professionally, but has since cast aside any reservations knowing this is more than just a passing interest for Gotti III, who has changed his life both in and out of the gym in anticipation of what he hopes is a long, successful career in a sport often unforgiving for young, up-and-comers.

"I think now as I have chosen this as a profession, although my father is proud of me, I think he regrets fostering my interest," Gotti III said. "I don't think he ever thought this would be the end result.

"What father wants to watch his son in this type of environment?"

Gotti III takes his pride in his craft. He doesn't drink or smoke. He's not a partier. He briefly boxed as a child, but eventually segued into more traditional team sports before falling in love with MMA. He even tried a stint at bodybuilding, walking around at a heavily-muscled 250 pounds before settling into a more comfortable lifestyle in the welterweight division, where he'll face Johnny Adams (0-1) of Rutland, Vt., on the 27th.

Naturally, Gotti III faces more than just the opponent standing across from him once the bell rings. He's a naturally-gifted 24-year-old amateur standout about to enter his prime while looking to carve his own legacy under the shadow of the Gotti name.

There's a certain pressure that comes with such a distinction -- not to mention the fact Oct. 27th is the birthdate of his late grandfather, John Gotti, which is part of the reason he chose to fight on this date -- but Gotti III is polished, wise beyond his years, and has cautiously climbed the ladder in anticipation of this day, from working more on his jiu-jitsu in recent months to hiring a strength coach. His last amateur fight was in February, so this will be the first time he steps back into the cage in six months with the hope that all the extra preparation and attention to detail will pay dividends on the 27th.

"I'm excited to be doing something I love," Gotti III said. "For me to possibly move forward and see what I'm capable of achieving, I need to be tested by the likes of Adams."

Choosing CES MMA as the destination for his first pro fight made perfect sense for Gotti III. The promotion is in its fourth year with AXS TV as its broadcast partner (the main card of "CES MMA 46" airs on the network beginning at 9 p.m. ET on the 27th) and has a reputation for paving a path to the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) for several prominent fighters, among them Rob Font, Andre Soukhamthath and Charles Rosa.

"I know several fighters who had fought for them and they said they were good guys to work with and they put on a great show," Gotti III said. "It was a natural."

CES MMA Promotions

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JACK SHORE!

SET TO RETURN AT CAGE WARRIORS 89 IN BELGIUM

CAGE WARRIORS

Fresh from his third-round knockout of Mattia Galbiata at Cage Warriors 87 in Newport last weekend, Welsh super-prospect Jack ‘Tank’ Shore has already signed his next bout agreement.

‘Tank’ will return to action on November 25 at the Lotto Arena in Antwerp, Belgium as the latest big-name addition to the Cage Warriors 89 fight card.

Shore (6-0) will face off against fellow undefeated prospect - and local favourite - Ayton De Paepe (7-0) in a featherweight contest that is sure to test the credentials of both men as they look to extend their perfect professional records.

Also added to the fight card for Belgium is a clash between unbeaten welterweight prospects Massai Sant'anna (2-0) and Artur Szczepaniak (3-0), plus another 170lb matchup, as Leon Jansen (1-0) takes on Jan Quaeyhaegens (4-3).

The preliminary card will also feature a bout between Chico Martinez and Ben Dandois at middleweight.

Dandois (6-3) joins his sister, former UFC and Invicta bantamweight Cindy Dandois, on the fight card as he fights on home soil against Martinez, who has 29 pro fights to his name (12-17).

The event will be headlined by a battle for the vacant Cage Warriors heavyweight title, as Irishman Karl Moore will look to add the heavyweight belt to his light-heavyweight title as he takes on 10-2 Italian contender Mauro ‘The Hammer’ Cerilli.

If Moore is successful, he’ll become the first two-weight Cage Warriors champion since then-Cage Warriors featherweight champion Conor McGregor achieved the feat in 2012, when he knocked out Ivan Buchinger to win the Cage Warriors lightweight title.

Cage Warriors MMA Promotions

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Dinis Paiva!

Reflects On Career Path With CES MMA

Dinis Paiva

As one of the founding fathers of the CES MMA brand, bantamweight Dinis Paiva has arguably grown more, both personally and professionally, than anyone who's stepped through those cage doors over the past seven years.

With a full-time job as a supervisor, a wife at home, and the desire to one day start a family of his own, Paiva is juggling more than just fight night strategy and sparring sessions. He doesn't need to fight -- he does it because he wants to -- yet he continues to make the sacrifices all fighters must make in order to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

"You have to find a way in order to succeed," said Paiva (9-6, 5 KOs), the East Providence, R.I., native who returns to the cage for the first time since January on the main card of "CES MMA 46" Friday, Oct. 27th, 2017from Twin River Casino.

"Between work, sparring, training, I put in close to 60 hours a week. My wife is the one who suffers the most, but it's part of the sacrifice. It's part of my story. It's part of who I am."

Tickets for "CES MMA 46" are priced at $40.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and can be purchased online at www.cesboxing.com, www.twinriver.com, www.ticketmaster.com or www.cagetix.com/ces by phone at 401-724-2253/2254 or at the Twin River Casino Players Club. All fights and fighters are subject to change.

The irony is Paiva, now 29, is a better fighter now than he was as a 23-year-old up-and-comer when he debuted with CES MMA on the promotion's sixth show in June of 2011. Making his 16th appearance with the promotion later this month in a nationally-televised bout against Brandon Seyler (7-5, 1 KO) on AXS TV, Paiva has endured almost every peak and valley that comes with being a professional fighter.

He lost three of his first four fights, including an unfortunate disqualification when he inadvertently kneed a grounded opponent, then won his next two to even his record, only to drop two more in 2013.

The following year, Paiva switched coaches, opting to work with veteran Mike Gresh from Cape Cod Fighting Alliance, won both of his fights and earned the award for New England's Most Improved Fighter, igniting a four-fight win streak that ultimately thrust him into the AXS TV in a win over Matt Doherty at "CES MMA 27."

A loss to Kody Nordby in 2015 broke Paiva's career-best win streak and, more importantly, brought him down a peg, teaching him to refrain from getting too ahead of himself either during unprecedented success or unexpected failure. Nordby actually helped Paiva prepare for Paiva's return bout at "CES MMA 40," a knockout win over Zane Behrend.

"It goes to show you that's how this sport brings people together," Paiva said.

"Every fighter in the world, we're all a work in progress. There's no such thing as a perfect fighter," he continued. "The sport is constantly changing. Guys like [UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson] are now turning a suplex into an armbar. That's just some of the mind-boggling stuff you see now, and now you're going to see every guy in camp trying to suplex guys into an armbar."

As much as Paiva has changed inside the cage, life outside the lines has been a whirlwind over the past few years. He got married in 2016, then returned to his old job at Morris Maintenance the day he and his wife got back from their honeymoon. Paiva started at the company years ago as a third-shift janitor and is now the Director of Warehousing and Maintenance, a position that requires him to travel throughout New England as a supervisor.

Much like his MMA career, the job has had its ups and downs through the years, but Paiva stuck with it, often sacrificing sleep and family time to continue chasing a greater goal.

"Work and MMA, they coexist," Paiva said. "I've accomplished a lot through the years in both. I haven't always been the top dog, but I know what I'm capable of and I know what I have to offer. I always want to be the best version of myself."

Hitting the gym after work and unloading on the heavy bag helps Paiva relieve some of the stress associated with his job, but the sport, despite all its flaws, continues to lure back into the spotlight. He's thought of retiring - he even contemplated it after losing to Nordby - but still can't walk away, not because he needs to the money, but because he genuinely loves the thrill of competition and wants to chase a title at 135 pounds.

"That's what sets me apart. I don't have to fight," said Paiva, who was supposed to fight in August, but suffered a fractured foot that postponed his appearance at "CES MMA 45."

As for making a run at a title, Paiva said, "It's time." He's fighting Seyler at 145, but has no problem committing to 135 in order to fight for a belt. Seyler is a tough opponent, coming off a big win over previously unbeaten Kris Moutinho at "CES MMA 45," but Paiva has struck that delicate balance between MMA and his full-time job, managing to successfully juggle both while preparing for yet another televised bout on MMA's biggest stage.

"Putting my foot on the gas pedal now is what will get me to where I eventually want to be," Paiva said. "This is a great matchup. I'm going in there throwing bombs. He's going to get the best version of me."

The main event of "CES MMA 46" features the return of former CES MMA Middleweight World Champion "Doomsday" John Howard (24-13, 9 KOs) of Boston, who faces submission specialist Roger Carroll (16-14) of Claremont, N.C.

"CES MMA 46" also features the return of rising welterweight prospect Gary Balletto Jr. (4-1, 2 KOs) of Cranston, R.I., who battles Philadelphia's Sharif Jones (3-2, 1 KO), plus the long-awaited professional debut of Oyster Bay, N.Y., welterweight John Gotti III in a three-round bout against Johnny Adams (0-1) of Rutland, Vt.

Lightweight Josh LaBerge (11-6, 5 KOs) of Fall River, Mass., returns to face Jonathan Lemke (6-8, 5 KOs) of Auburn, Maine, and bantamweight Rico DiSciullo (7-1, 3 KOs) of Peabody, Mass., faces Justin King (6-5) of Lawrence, Ind. Justin Sumter (3-1, 2 KOs) of New Haven, Conn., returns in a lightweight bout against Rahway, N.J., vet Shedrick Goodridge (6-9, 2 KOs).

Also returning Oct. 27th, Providence featherweight Marquis Brewster (3-0) battles Raymond Yanez (4-11, 1 KO) of Marion, Ohio, and featherweight Pat McCrohan (2-1, 1 KO) of Berkley, Mass., faces Buck Pineau (1-3) of Ashland, Maine.

CES MMA Promotions

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Geronimo Dos Santos V Sergei Kharitonov!

M-1 Challenge 81

M-1 Challenge 81 will be streamed live from Ingushetia, Russia in high definition on www.M1Global.TV. Viewers will be able to watch the preliminary fights and main card by logging on to register at www.M1Global.TV. Fans may watch all the action on their computers, as well as on Android and Apple smart phones and tablets.

M1 MMA Promotions

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Two Championship Bouts Headline!

Invicta FC 25

Invicta Fighting Championships heads west once again this summer, returning to California on Thursday, Aug. 31.

Invicta FC 25 will mark the promotion's first visit to Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino, a widely-recognized home for top mixed martial arts and boxing events.

On Monday, Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp appeared on MMA Fighting's "The MMA Hour," announcing two championship fights slated for the card.

Hawaii's Raquel "Lionheart" Pa'aluhi (6-5) looks to capture bantamweight gold in her first championship opportunity, facing recent title challenger Yana "Foxy" Kunitskaya (9-3, 1 NC) in the Invicta FC 25 main event.

Pa’aluhi and Kunitskaya were originally scheduled to meet at Invicta FC 24, but an injury pushed the match-up to August. Now the contenders were given an opportunity to compete for the belt vacated by former Invicta FC bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger.

Hawaiian-born and fighting out of Las Vegas, Pa’aluhi has shined lately, winning four of her last five fights, most recently submitting Pannie Kianzad in the first round at Invicta FC 21 in January. Kunitskaya is coming off back-to-back fights against Evinger, paving way for another crack at the bantamweight crown.

In the Invicta FC 25 co-main event, former strawweight champion Livia Renata Souza (10-1) attempts to reclaim her title when she battles New Mexico's Jodie Esquibel (6-2).

The Invicta FC strawweight championship was vacated by Angela Hill, who earned it by handing Souza her first career defeat. But the Brazilian bounced back impressively against Invicta FC atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki, winning by first-round knockout at Invicta FC 22. Esquibel was in action at the same event, besting contender DeAnna Bennett by decision.

The current fight card for Invicta FC 25 can be found below:

Bantamweight Title Bout: Raquel Pa'aluhi (6-5) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (9-3, 1 NC)

Strawweight Title Bout: Livia Renata Souza (10-1) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-2)

Invicta FC 25 streams live and exclusively via UFC FIGHT PASS at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT on Thursday, Aug. 31.

Tickets for Invicta FC 25, priced at $120, $60, $40, or $30, are on sale now via TachiPalace.com.

Invicta MMA Promotions

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CAGE WARRIORS & ELEVEN SPORTS!

JOIN FORCES FOR BELGIUM EVENT

CAGE WARRIORS

Cage Warriors is delighted to announce that it will partner with ELEVEN SPORTS to bring Cage Warriors 89 to Belgium on Saturday 25 November 2017.

The MMA event, which will be the first Cage Warriors event held outside the UK and Ireland in 2017, will take place in the Lotto Arena in Antwerp. Cage Warriors 89 will include a mix of local and European fighting talent, giving the Belgian MMA fans the opportunity to watch the best MMA action on the continent.

ELEVEN SPORTS will also carry the event exclusively live, not only in Belgium, but also in Luxembourg, Poland, Singapore and Taiwan after a multi-year agreement was struck at the start of 2017 to ensure every Cage Warriors match would be shown across all of ELEVEN’s markets in Europe and Asia.

“This is a great opportunity for Belgian MMA fans to watch the international stars of Cage Warriors”, says Danny Menken, Group Managing Director, ELEVEN SPORTS. “The agreement shows our desire to invest in and promote the MMA scene. It is also perfectly aligned to our strategy to work together with rightsholders with a view to organising events in our markets, bringing fans to the heart of the action.”

“We’re delighted to take our broadcast partnership with ELEVEN SPORTS to a new level with our debut event in Belgium”, says Casimir Knight, CEO of Warriors Development Agency, parent company of Cage Warriors. “We always deliver great MMA action and top production values, wherever we host our events, and can’t wait to give the Belgian fight fans their first taste of live MMA, Cage Warriors-style.”

Cage Warriors MMA Promotions

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Megan Anderson V Helena Kolesnyk!

INVICTA FC 24

Featherweight champion Megan Anderson (8-2) will make the first defense of her title when Invicta Fighting Championships returns to the historic Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City on Saturday, July 15.

Her opponent for the summer showdown at Invicta FC 24 is Helena "Pretty" Kolesnyk (5-0, 1 NC), who joins the promotion after building her unblemished resume in China, Russia and Ukraine.

"Megan has been on quite a roll over the last two years, establishing herself as a dominant featherweight and building a passionate fanbase here in Kansas City," said Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp. "We're only looking to book competitive match-ups in this division, so being able to bring in an accomplished striker like Helena is very exciting."

Anderson looks to continue her ascent at 145 pounds, dominating the division with four knockouts in a row dating back to the beginning of 2016. The 27-year-old defeated veteran Charmaine Tweet to capture the Invicta FC interim featherweight title in January and became undisputed Invicta FC featherweight champion after Cristiane Justino vacated the belt in March.

Born in Ukraine and training out of Moscow, the challenger Kolesnyk has finished all five of her professional wins, including three first-round knockouts and a first-round submission to punches. She is an experienced Muay Thai practitioner, taking bronze at the IFMA World Muaythai Championships in 2015.

Additional bouts for Invicta FC 24: Anderson vs Kolesnyk will be announced soon.

Invicta FC 24: Anderson vs Kolesnyk streams live and exclusively via UFC FIGHT PASS on Saturday, July 15 at 7 p.m. CT.

Tickets for Invicta FC 24: Anderson vs Kolesnyk, priced at $50, $35, or $25, go on sale this Saturday, June 3 at 10 a.m. CT via Ticketfly.com.

For more information about Invicta Fight Championships, visit invictafc.com.

Invicta MMA Promotions

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ANDREY KORESHKOV V CHIDI NJOKUANI!

BELLATOR 182

BELLATOR 182

Following Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden, Bellator MMA returns to the Empire State to make its Upstate New York debut set to invade Turning Stone ResortCasino in Verona, N.Y. with a welterweight main event pitting former Bellator champ Andrey Koreshkov (19-2) against Chidi Njokuani (17-4, 1 NC) on Friday, August 25for Bellator 182.

In addition, a second welterweight bout will serve as the evening’s co-main showdown when Brennan Ward (14-5) meets Fernando Gonzalez (26-14) in a bout sure to produce fireworks, while featherweight A.J. McKee returns to the cage fresh off anESPN "SportsCenter" Top-Ten finish of Dominic Mazzotta in his last outing.

Bellator 182: Koreshkov vs. Njokuani will be broadcast live and free on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com and the Bellator Mobile App. Tickets for Bellator 182 go on sale Friday, June 2 at 10:00 a.m. ET for $85, $65, $47 and $37 and can be purchased in person at the Turning Stone Box Office, by calling 877.833.SHOW, or online at Ticketmaster.com.

Additional main and preliminary card bouts will be announced in the coming weeks.

The 26-year-old Russian phenom Koreshkov has been ascendant since his very first professional fight, claiming 19 career victories over 21 bouts, including wins in each of his first 13 contests. Fighting out of Omsk, Russia, “Spartan” will be making his 13th career appearance under the Bellator MMA banner and his first of 2017. Under the direction of Bellator MMA, Koreshkov has accrued a total of 10 victories over a four-year run, highlighted by a welterweight world title triumph over current champion Douglas Lima and a successful title defense over Benson Henderson at Bellator 153. Since making his professional debut in 2010, Koreshkov has collected 13 finishes, including 10 knockouts, eight of which came in the first round, making him one of the most dangerous 170-pounders in the game.

Fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev., Njokuani enters the cage riding momentum of an impressive streak that has seen him win eight consecutive bouts and 12 of his last 13. Since joining the Bellator MMA fray in 2015, the 28-year-old Njokuani has collected four victories, including a pair of knockout finishes. Most recently, “Chidi Bang Bang” defeated Melvin Guillard at Bellator 171 in January, adding to his current run of success.

The 28-year-old Ward enters the contest as one of the most feared fighters in Bellator MMA’s stacked 170-pound class. With 13 finishes over his 14 career victories, including nine knockouts, “Irish” possesses the perfect combination of pure strength and fearlessness. A 14-fight veteran of Bellator MMA, the Waterford, Conn. native will look to earn his 10th win under the direction of the Scott Coker-led promotion. Since joining Bellator MMA in 2012, Ward has yet to see a bout enter the third frame and has finished six of his nine opponents in the opening round. Fans can expect to see fireworks when Ward is inside the Bellator cage on August 25.

Hailing from Menifee, Calif., the 33-year-old Gonzalez will enter the Bellator cage for the eighth time in his 14-year professional career. Gonzalez has seen a great deal of success since joining forces with Bellator MMA; collecting six victories over a seven-fight, three-year span, highlighted by a first round knockout of Karo Parisyan.Gonzalez has come on strong as of late, tallying nine wins over his last 12 bouts, including a pair of first round knockouts and a five-fight winning streak from 2014-16. With 16 of his 26 career victories coming by way of knockout or submission, the 40-fight veteran will look to add to that total as he prepares to go toe-to-toe with one of the most unshakable talents the welterweight division has to offer.

The son of respected MMA veteran Antonio McKee, A.J. McKee spent his entire childhood in the gym soaking up every bit of knowledge and experience available to him. The 22-year-old prodigy has applied that knowledge inside the Bellator cage and has made quite a splash in his first eight fights as an MMA professional, racking up six finishes in eight outings. The Long Beach, Calif. native heads to the East Coast looking to stay undefeated with another impressive finish.

Nationally-recognized for hosting legendary, fight-of-the-year-level boxing events, rivaling venues in major cities such as Las Vegas, Miami and New York City, Turning Stone was one of the first venues in New York to host professional MMA after it was legalized by the State last year, further distinguishing it as the premier destination for live combat sports. The August 25 Bellator MMA event will mark Turning Stone’s third professional MMA event in less than a year.

Bellator MMA Promotions

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Kyrgyzstan Dominates Competition!

Wins WMMAA Team Title At 2017 Asian Championships

WMMAA

Host team Kyrgyzstan captured top team honors at the recent third annual World Mixed Martial Arts Association (WMMAA) Asian Championships, recently held at Suyumbaev Stadium, Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

The wonderful host city of Osh is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country, often referred to as the "capital of the south". It is the oldest city in the country, estimated to be more than 3000 years old, and it has served as the administrative center of Osh Region since 1939. The city has an ethnically mixed population of approximately 255,800, according to 2012 reports, comprised of Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Russians, Tajiks, and other smaller ethnic groups.

Ulukbek Omurzakov, the president of Kyrgyzstan MMA Federation, deserved kudos for insuring that the 2017 WMMAA Asian Championships would be held at the highest level in all respects.

In addition to Omurzakov, numerous highly-ranked guests were also present at the arena during competitions, including the Kyrgyzstan Republic President's advisor, Ikramzhan Ilmiyanov, Vice Prime-Minister Zhenish Razzakov, Osh city Mayor Aitmamat Kadyrbaev, Minister of Interior Suyunbek Omurzakov, MP's Aaly Karashev, Iskender Matraimov, WMMAA president Vadim Finkelchtein and many others.

WMMA Asian team champion Kyrgyzstan had seven individual male winners out of eight weight classes: bantamweight Ryskulbek Ibraimov, featherweight Nursultan Rakhmanberdi Uulu, lightweight Kubanychbek Turatbek Uulu, welterweight Tologon Rakhmatov, middleweight Olzhobai Kudaiberdi Uulu, light heavyweight Osman Abdulazizov and heavyweight Maksat Musabaev. The only non-Kyrgyzstan individual winner in the men's competition was flyweight Zheng Xiao Liang, of China.

China and defending team champion Kazakhstan, respectively, finished second and third in the final team standings. Other teams represented at the WMMAA Asian Championships included Uzbekistan, South Korea, Afghanistan and Tajikistan

The 2017 WMMAA Asian Championships were held in 10 weight divisions, eight for male fighters, as well as two brand new divisions for female fighters, in which China won both weight classes.

More than 60 fighters represented seven different countries during the competition.

Individual team competition was held in accordance with the "Official Rules of Mixed Martial Arts Competition, subject to WMMAA approval. Including revisions, additions and clarifications of certain clauses. Matches were held in accordance with the Olympic system including two third-places in each of the 10 weight divisions.

WMMAA MMA Promotions

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CAGE WARRIORS 82!

NINE FIGHTS CONFIRMED

CAGE WARRIORS 82

Cage Warriors’ return to Wales will feature a host of Welsh talent, plus the debut of highly-rated Danish lightweight star Søren Bak.

Bak (7-1) will take on veteran Scott ‘The Priest’ Clist (11-3) in a tough test on his maiden outing under the Cage Warriors banner.

And he’ll be joined on the card by popular Welsh prospect Josh ‘Crazy Horse’ Reed.

The Tillery Combat trained bantamweight has made a perfect start to life as a professional, racking up six wins without defeat, including back-to-back victories in Cage Warriors contests. He'll take on the Irishman Gavin Kelly who makes his fourth CW appearance in Newport.

Also scheduled for action is former welterweight title challenger Mohsen Bahari. The Norwegian takes on rising Italian prospect Giovanni Melillo, who arrives in Cage Warriors with a 6-1 career record, with five finishes. Melillo’s only defeat came to the current Cage Warriors 170lb champion, Karl Amoussou.

And a teammate of Amoussou’s, fellow Frenchman Konmon Deh (9-3) will look to follow up on his impressive stoppage win at Cage Warriors 82 when he lined up against local favourite Jack ‘The Tank’ Shore.

Shore racked up a perfect 12-0 amateur record before turning pro, and has impressed with four stoppage victories in his four professional contests to date, while Deh has won each of his six career bouts in the UK and is riding a six-fight win streak.

As previously announced, the main event of the evening will feature a battle between two of the UK’s premier welterweights as Che Mills goes head to head with Lewis Long.

These five main card bouts will also be joined by a fistful of pro prelim bouts as the Cage Warriors card starts to take shape ahead of the May 6 event.

A very limited number of Cage Warriors 83 tickets are available

Cage Warriors MMA Promotions

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M-1 Global!

Has Busy May & June Planned

M-1 Global president Vadim Finkelchtein has announced five M-1 Challenge events to be held this May and June.

Below is a Q & A with the veteran MMA promoter:

Can you tell us about plans for upcoming M-1 Global events?

VF: "In the next 2-3 months we will promote an extremely full schedule of events. Through the middle of June, we will promote five - I'm not afraid to use these words - grandiose tournaments. April 22nd there's an event being held in Nazran, which was arranged with the support of the local government, and dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Ingushetia. On May 19th, in collaboration with Rostec and Rosoboronexport corporations, we will hold a truly spectacular event in Sochi. Our traditional tournament in Orenburg is set for May 26th, which regularly takes place at the highest level with a crowded venue. On June 1st, we will hold another event in St. Petersburg as part of the International Economic Forum program. And already on June 15 - A major tournament will be held June 15th in Harbin, China, during the program of the Russian-Chinese Expo. Both in St. Petersburg and China, we are included in the official program, so we will be participating in truly large-scale events."

Fans are interested in fighters whose performances will decorate these tournaments. Can you reveal some of the competing fighters?

VF: "We will really surprise the audience at these events. A lot of negotiations are ongoing, including those with fighters who are the TopP-20 ranked fighters in the world. There will also be fights involving new fighters. Of course, we intend to make fights that fans have been waiting for a long time. One is the is the Idrisov vs. Buchinger rematch and, of course, probably the most anticipated fight in Russian MMA today, Shlemenko vs Emeev."

The fight between Alexander Shlemenko and Ramazan Emeev had already been postponed twice. What prevents this fight from being canceled for the third time?

VF: "The desire of the two fighters can play the major role here. Everything has been done on our side. Alexander Shlemenko is ready for this fight. We're waiting word back from Ramazan Emeev. This fight is interesting for fans and we will try to make it happen. People are starting to understand more and more about MMA and we are making fights that our fans want to happen. Not only does this apply to Shlemenko and Emeev. but for other popular fighters as well, including undefeated M-1 welterweight champion Alexey Kunchenko, top lightweight Artiom Damkovsky, Damir Ismagulov, Sergey Romanov and many others. We try to sign contracts with only fighters who want to be in spectacular fights. Look at the last events in Moscow. Were any of the 11 fights boring? No! Even in undercard matches we have fighters who deliver exciting fights and often early finishes. This is the hallmark of our promotion. We do not hold uninteresting events or boring fights."

Today, many promotions sign fighters who were fired from UFC. Why are you not doing this?

VF: "Certainly in that way. If fighters are interesting to the Russian public and well known, we will sign him. Otherwise, I believe that it is wrong to sign, so to speak, cast-off fighters. This will not add credibility and strengthen our organization in the MMA world. We do that a different way. We build stars that UFC chases. It may be more difficult but M-1 is more respected by the West for doing it this way. Look, those fighters who leave M-1 for the UFC leave because they've been developed through serious schooling, as we do not feed them "tomato cans" opponents. We do not make easy fights for anybody. Marcin Tybura, Rashid Magomedov, Mairbek Taisumov, Alexey Oleinik, Islam Makhachev, Alexander Volkov, etc. All of them are our former fighters. They were not known at the beginning of their careers but now they are all doing excellent. Fighters of the other promoters who moved in UFC are often fired after a while because, here in Russia, they did not face tough opposition."

How do you fight the departure of your fighters to the West?

VF: "Here, I disagree with you. It used to be that way. Now, to the contrary, many fighters want to perform in M-1 because it is no less prestigious than performing for Bellator, where the emphasis is on the show. Example of this are Alexander Shlemenko, Sergei Kharitonov, and others. These warriors gladly come to us and agree to fight here because the opposition in M-1 is not weak. Of course, regarding the departure of the fighters to the West, money plays a great role. But there are fighters who are grateful to M-1 for fame they gained. We paved the road to a greatness for them and, consequently, they do not rush to leave M-1 anywhere."

M1 Warriors MMA Promotions

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LIVERPOOL FAVOURITE SET FOR ACTION!

CAGE WARRIORS 82

Liverpool’s Molly McCann now has a confirmed opponent for her hometown bout at Cage Warriors 82, in what will be the biggest night in the promotion’s history.

McCann will take on Lacey Schuckman in a 125lb flyweight contest at Liverpool’s Echo Arena in a fight that’s sure to deliver plenty of action.

‘Meatball’ McCann splits her training between Ippon gym, Bournemouth and NextGen in Liverpool that has produced Cage Warriors world champions Paddy Pimblett and Chris Fishgold. She’ll line up with Pimblett for the April 1 card looking to add another win to her pro record.

The proud Evertonian has a record of four wins, one defeat, with three wins coming by way of TKO, but her opponent will provide a stern test.

Colorado native Schuckman is a 20-fight veteran of the sport with a record of 11 wins and nine losses, with six submission finishes and two TKO victories to her name.

She’s competed against former UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza, and took rising UFC contender Michelle Waterson all the way to a split decision early in her career.

The 28-year-old has competed under the HOOKnSHOOT, Strikeforce and Invicta banners, and will be making her Cage Warriors debut against McCann on April 1.

Speaking ahead of the bout, Schuckman said: “I am very excited for this opportunity, I look forward to putting on an exciting fight against a very talented opponent.”

McCann, meanwhile, promised a quickfire finish on home soil, saying: “I cannot wait to perform in our city on such an amazing promotion. This will be a night to remember! KO first round! How bout dat!”

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VAUGHAN LEE V NATHANIEL WOOD!

ADDED TO STACKED CW82

VAUGHAN LEE V NATHANIEL WOOD

The much-anticipated bantamweight bout between Vaughan Lee and Nathaniel Wood is back on, and has been added to the fight card for Cage Warriors’ spectacular show in Liverpool, Cage Warriors 82.

The pair were originally scheduled to face off at Indigo at The O2 at Cage Warriors 80, but medial issues forced Wood out of the contest as the bout was postponed pending medical clearance.

Wood has since received that clearance and is free to compete again, and Cage Warriors has wasted no time in adding the bout to the April 1 show at the Echo Arena.

The fight pits two of the UK’s premier 135-pounders against each other, with former UFC veteran Lee taking on ‘The Prospect’ Wood in a fascinating clash that is sure to deliver action aplenty.

Cage Warriors president Graham Boylan said: “I was gutted for both Vaughan and Nathaniel when their fight had to be postponed, but fighter safety is our number-one priority at all times.

“We were excited to learn of Nathaniel’s medical clearance and, once we received full confirmation of that, were delighted to rebook this matchup and add it to our Liverpool show, which just gets better and better as the fight card grows.”

The bout joins a growing card that already boasts two world title fights, as Liverpool’s Paddy Pimblett and Chris Fishgold put their featherweight and lightweight titles on the line.

Pimblett takes on Nad Narimani in the main event, while Fishgold bids to win the lightweight belt outright with a third straight title defence when he faces Jani Salmi.

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CAGE WARRIORS!

BOLSTER ROSTER WITH 12 NEW SIGNINGS

Cage Warriors

Cage Warriors’ roster of fighters has expanded with 12 new arrivals confirmed to the promotion’s lineup.

The new crop of signings includes six lightweight additions: Donovan Desmae (9-3), Soren Bak (7-1), Perry Goodwin (6-4), Aleksi Mantykivi (10-4), Ellis Hampson (6-3-1) and Alexander Jacobsen (7-1).

Joining them are bantamweights Gavin Kelly (8-3) and Brian Bouand (5-1), welterweights Dylan McLoughlin (3-0) and Craig White (11-4), light-heavyweight Norman Paraisy (15-4-2, 1nc) and heavyweight Shawn Kenny (2-0).

Announcing the signings, Cage Warriors president Graham Boylan said: “I’m delighted to welcome this exciting crop of fighters to the Cage Warriors family.

“We’re a handful of events into our biggest year ever, and bringing these talented fighters onto our roster helps give our matchmaker Ian Dean even more options as we look to deliver exciting fights and spectacular events for our fans.”

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CHRIS FISHGOLD!

RETURNS HOME TO DEFEND LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE AT CAGE WARRIORS 82

CHRIS FISHGOLD

Liverpool lightweight and Cage Warriors world champion Chris Fishgold will return to his home city as he bids to make history at Cage Warriors 81.

Fishgold (16-1-1) will look to make a third successful defence of his 155lb world title when he takes on fellow submission specialist Jani Salmi (9-2) in the co-main event at the Echo Arena on April 1.

If Fishgold is successful, he’ll become the first Cage Warriors champion to make three consecutive world title defences and he’ll get to keep his Cage Warriors belt as a result.

Fishgold captured the vacant lightweight belt in July 2016 with a first-round submission of Adam Boussif at Cage Warriors 77.

And the NextGen-trained lightweight rounded out the year with back-to-back title defences, submitting Jason Ponet at Cage Warriors 79 in Liverpool in September, then outpointing Nic Herron-Webb at Cage Warriors Unplugged at the BT Sport studios in London in November.

He’ll take on in-form Finn Salmi, who comes into this matchup riding an eight-fight win streak, a run that includes six finishes, with five coming by submission.

Cage Warriors is renowned for delivering a production line of talent to the highest level of the sport, with dozens of former Cage Warriors stars going on to ply their trade in the UFC’s octagon.

All eyes will be on the Echo Arena as two of Cage Warriors current stars - Fishgold and featherweight champion teammate Paddy Pimblett - take centre stage in their home city.

Fishgold said that home town advantage will help fire him to victory on April 1.

“Stepping into the Cage Warriors cage is always special, but the chance to defend my world title at home means the world,” he said.

“Being the first fighter to win a Cage Warriors title outright would be a huge honour for me, and nobody’s going to take this belt from me in my home town.”

Cage Warriors president Graham Boylan said: “It’s great to announce our second world title fight for Liverpool.

“It’s great to have both of our Liverpool world champions at the top of this fight card. April 1 is going to be spectacular. Our biggest show ever.”

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MERSEYSIDE!

SET TO UNITE FOR BIGGEST SHOW IN CAGE WARRIORS HISTORY

Cage Warriors

Just hours after the Merseyside Derby decides the City’s footballing bragging rights at Anfield, the red and blue halves of Liverpool will reunite once more to support their local heroes at the Echo Arena on April 1st for Cage Warriors 82.

The event is headlined by Liverpool’s own world champion, featherweight king Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett who takes on Nad Narimani in his latest title defence. Cage Warriors other Merseyside champion, Chris Fishgold, will also be in action in the night’s co-main attraction, defending his lightweight belt.

The two world champions will be backed up by another SEVEN of Liverpool’s finest fighters - including popular Evertonian flyweight Molly McCann - as Cage Warriors stack the deck with local stars ahead of the event.

Confirmed for the event is a middleweight bout between Liverpool’s Lee ‘The Butcher’ Chadwick (21-13-1) and Irish veteran Tommy Quinn (6-3).

Another Liverpool fighter, Ellis Hampson (6-3, 1NC), will also feature on the card in a 160lb catchweight bout against Perry Goodwin (6-4).

And new Cage Warriors signing Dean Trueman (7-3) will look to follow up his spectacular 12-second KO win at CW79 with another impressive victory when he takes on undefeated Swede Frantz Slioa (4-0) in a featherweight contest.

“We’ve already sold more tickets for this event than we did when more than 3,000 people watched Paddy win the belt at the Echo last year,” said Cage Warriors president Graham Boylan.

“This show is all set to showcase the very best of Liverpool’s fighting talent, and no city supports their own more passionately than the city of Liverpool.

“This is shaping up to be the biggest show we’ve ever done, and I’m expecting a special atmosphere in the Echo Arena on April 1.”

Tickets are available via the Echo Arena http://bit.ly/CW82tickets from £33.50. Tickets are selling fast, so make sure you get yours and be a part of Cage Warriors’ biggest ever show.

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Amber Brown V Ashley Cummins!

Invicta FC 22

Invicta Fighting Championships today announced two bouts – one at atomweight and one at featherweight – completing the eight-fight card for Invicta FC 22: Evinger vs. Kunitskaya, which takes place Saturday, March 25 from the historic Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Mo.

After moving up to strawweight in her last bout, former atomweight title challenger Amber "The Bully" Brown (6-3) drops back down to 105 pounds, looking to get back on the winning track against local Missouri product Ashley "Smashley" Cummins (4-3).

Florida's Felicia "Fee-Nom" Spencer (1-0) and California's Madison "Baby Hulk" McElhaney (1-0) battle at featherweight. Both successful in their professional debuts, Spencer earned a first-round stoppage over Rachel Wiley at Invicta FC 14, while McElhaney picked up a unanimous decision in December prior to joining Invicta.

Invicta FC 22 is headlined by the rematch between Invicta FC bantamweight champion Tonya "Triple Threat" Evinger (18-5, 1 NC) and Russian challenger Yana "Foxy" Kunitskaya (9-2, 1 NC).

The completed eight-fight card for Invicta FC 22: Evinger vs. Kunitskaya 2 can be found below:

Bantamweight Title: Tonya Evinger (18-5, 1 NC) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (9-2, 1 NC)

Strawweight: Ayaka Hamasaki (14-1) vs. Livia Renata Souza (9-1)

Strawweight: DeAnna Bennett (8-2) vs. Jodie Esquibel (5-2)

Atomweight: Jinh Yu Frey (5-2) vs. Janaisa Morandin (9-0)

Atomweight: Amber Brown (6-3) vs. Ashley Cummins (4-3)

Strawweight: Sunna Rannveig Davidsdottir (1-0) vs. Mallory Martin (1-0)

Strawweight: Kal Holliday (1-0) vs. Miranda Maverick (1-0)

Featherweight: Felicia Spencer (1-0) vs. Madison McElhaney (1-0)

Invicta FC 22: Evinger vs. Kunitskaya 2 streams live and exclusively via UFC FIGHT PASS at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday, March 25.

Tickets for Invicta FC 22: Evinger vs. Kunitskaya 2, priced at $50, $35, or $25, are on sale now via Ticketfly.com.

Invicta MMA Promotions

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IMPACT Wrestling!

Announces New U.K. TV Deal With Spike UK

IMPACT Wrestling

Anthem Sports & Entertainment Corp. announced today a new broadcast deal for IMPACT Wrestling to be televised exclusively on Spike UK, making its flagship weekly show available throughout the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

From Spring 2017, IMPACT Wrestling, TNA pay-per-views, including One Night Only specials will be available on Spike UK, and TNA Xplosion exclusive to My5, which is part of the Channel 5 stable available on Sky TV (160), Freeview (31), Freesat (141), Virgin Media (154) and other DTT platforms.

New episodes of IMPACT Wrestling will premiere on Friday nights, quenching the appetite of U.K. fans to view IMPACT Wrestling within hours of the US premiere broadcast.

“Since our acquisition of IMPACT Wrestling, growing the brand in the UK has been one of our most important initiatives,” said Ed Nordholm, president of IMPACT Wrestling. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Spike UK to fill this important spot in their programme schedule and look forward to rebuilding our presence in the UK market. As one of the hottest wrestling scenes in the world right now, we look forward to taking an active role in the market, both on television and with live events.”

Anna-Belen Dunlop and Kris Graham, Acquisitions and Channel Managers of Spike UK, added: “We are excited that Spike will be the new exclusive home of IMPACT Wrestling in the UK With Anthem’s new leadership and founder Jeff Jarrett back, this is a watershed moment for the franchise, which is a perfect fit for our Spike audience.”

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JOHN GOODEN!

SHARES HIS IRISH FIGHT NIGHT MEMORIES

JOHN GOODEN

Before he started calling fights for the UFC, British play-by-play man John Gooden was the voice of Cage Warriors.

And nobody knows the passion of the Irish fight fans quite like John who, during the now-famous rise to prominence of Conor McGregor, ended up right in the thick of it with the legendary Irish fight fans during both of ‘The Notorious’ one’s Cage Warriors championship victories.

We chatted to Gooden at CW80 in London where he shared his memories of his Irish fight night experiences ahead of our return to Dublin this weekend for Cage Warriors 81.

"I think my first taste was the Helix when Conor won his first world title,” he began.

"I got injured - Conor kneed me in the face! But I stayed here to live to tell the tale!

"He jumped the fence. His fans were going absolutely bonkers, and I think if he didn’t go out, they were coming in. So strategically he did the right thing, although he sort of ran through me to get to them!

"But Josh (Palmer, Cage Warriors co-commentator) and I were covered in beer and it was just this melee of craziness. So that was really cool, because I can say I took a knee from Conor McGregor - which he apologised for, as well!

"The Helix was an interesting venue. It was on different levels and the last time I was there the Irish were having mixed results. Then Conor came out and, as he does, rouses everyone and came away with the victory in the fashion that he did. That just put the capstone on the night and just made it celebratory.”

After that fight both McGregor and Gooden were UFC bound, where they would reunite in Dublin at the 3Arena for UFC Fight Night: McGregor v Brandao, an event that has gone down in folklore as one of the most raucous in UFC history.

"I’ve been over to Dublin twice (with the UFC) but the first time in 2014 - McGregor-Brandao - it’s gonna be difficult to top that,” Gooden smiled.

"The fans were SO good. The Irish fighters went 100%. They won, they won, they won and the crowd loved it. They got behind every single one and it was just a big celebration.

"Going back there, it was a sensory overload and I’m gonna take that to the grave with me.”

That event has been held up as the standard by which all fight night atmospheres are now judged, but there have been plenty of examples of the Irish fans’ passion since then, whether it’s at home for a host of different events, or on the road supporting their heroes overseas.

And on Saturday night the Irish fight fans have the opportunity to cheer on their boys on home soil once again at Cage Warriors 81. With a host of Irish fighting talent set for action, including Karl Moore bidding to capture the vacant Cage Warriors light-heavyweight title against American Josh Clark, we’re expecting another party atmosphere at the 3Arena.

Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.ie, priced €98, €38 and €24, with ticket holders also able to attend a special meet and greet session with our special guest fighters Neil Seery, Nicolas Dalby and the newly crowned Cage Warriors Welterweight Champion Karl Amoussou.

Cage Warriors MMA Promotions

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CAGE WARRIORS 81!

CARD FILLING UP

CAGE WARRIORS 81

Cage Warriors’ homecoming event at the 3Arena, Dublin is shaping up to be a huge night of Irish MMA, with a stacked card of professional and amateur bouts supported by the country’s biggest and best gyms.

Headlining the event on March 4 is a light-heavyweight title battle, as Ireland’s Karl Moore takes on former TUF veteran Josh Clarke for the vacant 205lb belt.

Also on the main card, popular Irish atomweight Catherine Costigan will seek to build on her 5-2 record against Wendy McKenna, while Joe McColgan will look to back up his notable win over Peter Queally with victory over heavy-handed Frenchman Arnold Quero.

The pro card has been bolstered by a host of bouts, including the rearranged welterweight bout between Håkon Foss and Martyn Harris and a battle between two promising pro debutants Eric Nolan and Marcin Zembala.

Backing up a strong pro lineup will be a host of amateur bouts featuring some of the most promising up-and-coming amateur fighters in the country, including a matchup that will see lightweight brothers Francis and Stephen Treacy going head to head in a battle of sibling rivalry.

In addition to a packed card of fights at the 3Arena, CW81 ticket holders will also have access to a special meet and greet session with some of the Cage Warriors stars of the past who have gone on to fight with distinction in the UFC.

Tickets for the event are on sale now via CageWarriors.com starting at only €25. - http://bit.ly/CW81tkts

“I can’t wait to return home to Ireland for Cage Warriors 81,” said Cage Warriors President Graham Boylan.

“A stacked pro and amateur card will give fans the chance to see the next generation of Irish MMA stars.”

“It’s shaping up to be one hell of a party at the 3Arena on the 4th March.”

The bout will be televised live on eirSPORT in Ireland, BT Sport in UK and Ireland, and streamed worldwide on UFC Fight Pass.

CAGE WARRIORS 81: CONFIRMED BOUTS

Bout order TBC

PRO CARD

Karl Moore (7-1) v Josh Clarke (10-3) - Cage Warriors light-heavyweight title (205lbs)

Catherine Costigan (5-2) v Wendy McKenna (1-0) - atomweight bout (105lbs)

Joe McColgan (3-0) v Arnold Quero (13-5, 1 NC) - lightweight bout (155lbs)

Darren O’Gorman (4-1) v Blaine O’Driscoll (3-1) - bantamweight bout (135lbs)

Hughie O’Rourke (pro debut) v Arann Maguire (0-1) - bantamweight bout (135lbs)

Håkon Foss (7-3) v Martyn Harris (4-2) - welterweight bout (170lbs)

Lloyd Manning (2-0) v Paul McBain (2-0) - featherweight bout (145lbs)

Eric Nolan (pro debut) v Marcin Zembala (pro debut) - catchweight bout (150lbs)

AMATEUR CARD

Bill Farrell v David Piotrowicz - light-heavyweight bout (205lbs)

Richie Stack v Pawel Politylo - featherweight bout (145lbs)

Mark Gallivan v Makinde Adeyemi - welterweight bout (170lbs)

Francis Treacy v Stephen Treacy - lightweight bout (155lbs)

Austin Lynch v Alex Brophy - bantamweight bout (135lbs)

Colm O’Regan v Mateusz Kopyto - catchweight bout (161lbs)

Ivan Blanita v Gary Coffey - welterweight bout (170lbs)

Gary Wallace v Darren Sarsfield - catchweight bout (161lbs)

David Whelan v Brandon Myers - bantamweight bout (135lbs)

Adam Darby v Leon Hill - lightweight bout (155lbs)

Barry Hanna v Matthew Whyte - catchweight bout (132.2lbs)

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KARL AMOUSSOU & MATT INMAN!

Q&A

KARL AMOUSSOU & MATT INMANRTIN

WHAT DOES WINNING THAT BELT MEAN TO YOU?

Karl Amoussou: That belt is my entry ticket to the UFC. I am bringing it back to France.

Matt Inman: This belt is my path, I’ve been with Cage Warriors a long time. This is my eighth fight with the promotion and I feel like I’ve been on this path along time. I’m ready.

Karl Amoussou: So am I.

DO YOU FEEL ANY PRESSURE GOING INTO THIS FIGHT?

MI: The only pressure I feel is the pressure I put upon myself to put in the best performance I can.

KA: Pressure is always present during a fight, I know I’m going to have the best version of Matt Inman facing me and he’s going to be ready for the best version of Karl Amoussou. No problem with the pressure, I’ll deal with it.

IS THIS A CAREER-DEFINING FIGHT FOR YOU?

KA: Yes this is definitely a career-defining fight. Now I have to be in the UFC. I belong in the UFC, I should be in the UFC already and after this fight I will definitely be there, no doubt.

MI: Without a doubt, this is the biggest fight of my career against the highest-profile opponent.

ARE YOU EXCITED TO BE HEADLINING AT INDIGO AT THE O2?

MI: I’m excited to be headlining at Indigo at The O2. I’ve waited a long time for this opportunity and I’m just extremely excited to get in there.

KA: I’m very excited to be fighting at The O2 and headline the show, 10 years after my first fight with Cage Warriors. It’s proof of big improvements and I’m going to show where the improvements are now.

DESCRIBE YOUR OPPONENT IN THREE WORDS

KA: Well-dressed, tough and well-rounded.

MI: Powerful, aggressive and experienced.

DOES YOUR OPPONENT DESERVE TO BE FIGHTING IN THE UFC ALREADY? AND IF SO, WHY?

MI: I think this is a fight where both of us should have been fighting in the UFC a long time ago, there’s no question of that. This is a fight that could be on any main card, on any UFC event.

KA: Just like Matt I think exactly the same. We both have our place in the UFC and after this fight there is only going to be space for one but we definitely both deserve to be there.

THERE’S NOT MUCH ANIMOSITY BETWEEN THE PAIR OF YOU. DOES THAT MAKE THE FIGHT ANY HARDER TO GET UP FOR IF YOU DON’T HATE THE PERSON IN FRONT OF YOU?

KA: There is no need for me to have any animosity against an opponent, I think it’s a waste of energy. I know what my goal is, I’m pretty sure Matt knows what his goal is and I think we have the same. We are both going to do our job and, on my part, I know exactly what I’m going to do. So there’s no need for animosity.

MI: I never require animosity when facing an opponent. My focus is on performing the best I can and that would be the same whatever way I felt about my opponent and that’s what I guarantee I’ll do come fight night.

FINALLY, HOW WILL THE FIGHT END?

MI: I’m not going to make predictions for how this fight will end. I’m expecting a tough fight and a real challenge, but I’m ready to come out the winner.

KA: I’m going to make a prediction. This fight is going to end either by KO or submission. I’ll be ready for five rounds and I’ll be ready for a submission or a KO in every single round, so be ready for it, too.

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MARTIN STAPLETON!

FOCUSED ON A FINISH AT CAGE WARRIORS 80

MARTIN STAPLETON

With designs on world titles and a future shot in the UFC, Martin Stapleton says he's ready to make a statement at Cage Warriors 80 this weekend.

Stapleton (18-4) was a coveted free-agent who fielded multiple contract offers from around the world, but it was ultimately Cage Warriors that made the most sense to him as he looks to rise all the way to the top.

"I had a lot of offers, and some really lucrative offers, too,” he said.

"But when I weighed it all up, Cage Warriors was the best route for me.

"That’s because of the amount of guys that have come through, been a Cage Warriors world champion, gone on to the UFC and now they’re now kicking arse. And there’s a couple of guys who have won UFC world titles through that route.

“And with the fights being shown on BT Sport and UFC Fight Pass, it gives me the best platform to get into the UFC.

“They were all massive factors in signing with Cage Warriors rather than one of the other organisations.”

Stapleton will take on Anthony Dizy in a 150lb catchweight at Indigo at The O2 on Saturday night at Cage Warriors 80 as he sets his sights on world championship glory later in the year.

"I want that featherweight belt,” he said.

"I can fight at 145, 155 and even go up as high as 170. But right now, I’ve got my sights on that 145lb title. That’s the biggest fight, and I want big fights.

"I’ve got 100% belief in myself. I know I’m battle tested. I know I’m ready to go in there with anyone.

"You can put me in with anyone in the world right now and I’ll hold my own. Right now I’d beat 95% of them, and in a couple of years I’ll be at the point where I'll beat 100% of them.”

And speaking about this weekend’s fight in London, Stapleton said his focus is on one thing - claiming a decisive stoppage win.

"I never expect anything in my opponents, he said.

"I go in there with a clear mind, ready for anything that happens in the cage. I don’t watch my opponents’ fights either. I know his name. All I have to do is train my arse off, get in the cage and do it.

"I wanna get in there and finish this guy. From the minute the bell goes to the 15th minute of the fight I’ll be trying to finish him."

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Rory MacDonald V Paul Daley!

May 19 In London

Rory MacDonald V Paul Daley

Paul “Semtex” Daley (39-14-2) is getting what he asked for. On May 19, the explosive fighter from Nottingham, England will meet Rory MacDonald (18-4) in the main event of Bellator 179: Daley vs. MacDonald at The SSE Arena, Wembley.

Rising undefeated British sensation, Michael “Venom” Page (12-0), better known to Bellator fans as “MVP,” is also expected to make his in-cage return in front of a hometown crowd.

Bellator 179: Daley vs. MacDonald will be broadcast on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT. Tickets for the event will be available Friday, March 3 at The SSE Arena, Wembley Box Office (0844 815 0815), ssearena.co.uk and axs.com. A special SSE pre-sale will take place Wednesday, March 1 through Thursday, March 2. A pre-sale for The SSE Arena, Wembley will be available Thursday, March 2.

Immediately following his flying-knee knockout of Brennan Ward at Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen, Daley took the microphone during his post-fight interview and made the most of his time, emphatically calling for his May 19 opponent by name. Now, a little more than 100 miles from his home, “Semtex” will attempt to spoil the Bellator MMA debut of MacDonald. A 55-fight veteran of the sport, with six appearances under the direction of the Scott Coker-led promotion, the British heavy hitter has recorded victories in 10 of his last 12 bouts with 31 of his 39 victories coming via finish.

After signing MacDonald to an exclusive, multi-year, multi-fight contract in 2016, the must-see talent returned to the gym where he carefully honed his craft and readied himself for an eagerly-anticipated return to MMA. The former No. 1 contender to the UFC welterweight crown now sets his sights on the always-exciting Daley, looking to add to a list of strong career wins, which includes current UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, B.J. Penn, Demian Maia and Nate Diaz. “The Red King” is clearly the most popular active Canadian mixed martial artist since Georges St-Pierre, whom MacDonald has trained under for years at the world-renowned TriStar Gym in Montreal. At only 27-years-old, MacDonald joins Bellator’s welterweight fray poised to immediately make an impact in the division, as he looks to defeat Daley and shock the London crowd.

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KARL MOORE V JOSH CLARKE!

CAGE WARRIORS 81

Cage Warriors returns home to Dublin with a world title main event as Ireland’s Karl Moore bids to capture the vacant light-heavyweight championship against former TUF competitor Josh Clarke at the 3Arena.

Moore enters the bout with an impressive 7-1 record, picking up an impressive first-round knockout of Paco Estevez at Cage Warriors Unplugged at the BT Sport studios last November.

He’ll face ‘The Hillbilly Heartthrob’ Clarke, who is also coming into the March 4 bout off the back of a knockout win, having stopped Brent Knopp at SFL 51 in Tacoma, Washington last October. The American boasts a 10-3 record, and was the second pick for Team Penn in the 19th season of The Ultimate Fighter.

The winner of the belt will become the first fighter to win the Cage Warriors light-heavyweight title since Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping, who has since gone on to capture the undisputed world middleweight title in the UFC.

"Karl has the chance to become the latest Irish CW Champion - and we've had some great ones - but this could go either way, all the way. It's an exciting fight" said Cage Warriors president Graham Boylan.

The March 4 fight card in Dublin also features a battle between featherweight prospects Lloyd Manning and Paul McBain.

Ireland’s Manning has made a blistering start to his pro career, winning both his professional bouts by knockout inside the opening minute, while Scotland’s McBain also comes into the fight with two first-round finishes on his pro record.

The Irish fans will be out in force for ‘The Alpha Female’ Catherine Costigan, who makes her return to Cage Warriors after two-and-a-half years away. She’s set to face England’s Wendy McKenna in an atomweight (105lbs) contest.

In addition to a packed card of fights at the 3Arena, CW81 ticket holders will also have access to a special meet and greet session with some of the Cage Warriors stars of the past who have gone on to fight with distinction in the UFC.

Tickets for the event are on sale now via Ticketmaster.ie, priced at €98, €38 and €24, but if you secure your €24 tickets before midnight on Friday February 10 you can claim your seats for just €15 courtesy of our special early bird offer.

The bout will be televised live on eirSPORT in Ireland, BT Sport in UK and Ireland, Viasat in Scandinavia and streamed worldwide on UFC Fight Pass.

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INVICTA FC 22!

TAKES SHAPE

Invicta Fighting Championships will showcase its deep roster of strawweight talent next month, today adding four 115-pound bouts and one 105-pound bout to the fight card for Invicta FC 22: Evinger vs Kunitskaya, which takes place Saturday, March 25 from the historic Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Mo.

In the Invicta FC 22 co-main event, reigning atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki (14-1) will step outside the division she has dominated, moving up to strawweight to challenge Livia Renata Souza (9-1), a former champion of that weight class.

Since dropping to atomweight after an initial run at strawweight, Hamasaki's record has remained unblemished en route to five victories in a row. The Japanese champion captured Invicta gold at Invicta FC 13, a decision win over Hérica Tibúrcio, and defended the belt twice in 2016, finishing both Jinh Yu Frey and Amber Brown. Souza bounces back after suffering the first defeat of her career, a decision loss to Invicta FC strawweight champion Angela Hill in May of last year.

Previously scheduled to square off at Invicta FC 21 last month, veterans DeAnna "The Argentine Assassin" Bennett (8-2) and Jodie Esquibel (5-2) have been rebooked for their strawweight scrap at Invicta FC 22. Bennett is coming off a back-and-forth battle with flyweight title challenger Roxanne Modafferi in March, while Esquibel headlined Invicta FC 18 against UFC strawweight contender Alexa Grasso in July.

Also contested at strawweight, Iceland's Sunna "Tsunami" Rannveig Davidsdottir (1-0) meets Mallory Martin (1-0), training and fighting out of Thailand for her Invicta debut, while Kal ".50 Kal" Holliday (1-0) looks to build momentum following her submission victory over Tiffany Van Soest when she takes on 19-year-old Miranda "Fear The" Maverick (1-0).

Jinh Yu Frey (5-2), who last competed for the Invicta FC atomweight championship, welcomes undefeated Brazilian atomweight Janaisa "Evil Princess" Morandin (9-0) to the organization.

Invicta FC 22 is headlined by the rematch between Invicta FC bantamweight champion Tonya "Triple Threat" Evinger (18-5, 1 NC) and Russian challenger Yana "Foxy" Kunitskaya (9-2, 1 NC). Initially ruled a submission victory for Kunitskaya, the result of their first meeting was overturned and deemed a no-contest following a ruling by the Missouri Office of Athletics.

The current card for Invicta FC 22: Evinger vs Kunitskaya 2 can be found below:

Bantamweight Title: Tonya Evinger (18-5, 1 NC) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (9-2, 1 NC)

Strawweight: Ayaka Hamasaki (14-1) vs. Livia Renata Souza (9-1)

Strawweight: DeAnna Bennett (8-2) vs. Jodie Esquibel (5-2)

Atomweight: Jinh Yu Frey (5-2) vs. Janaisa Morandin (9-0)

Strawweight: Sunna Rannveig Davidsdottir (1-0) vs. Mallory Martin (1-0)

Strawweight: Kal Holliday (1-0) vs. Miranda Maverick (1-0)

Additional bouts for Invicta FC 22: Evinger vs Kunitskaya 2 will be announced soon.

Invicta FC 22: Evinger vs Kunitskaya 2 streams live and exclusively via UFC FIGHT PASS at 7 p.m. CT.

Tickets for Invicta FC 22: Evinger vs Kunitskaya 2, priced at $50, $35, or $25, go on sale this Saturday, Feb. 11 at 10 a.m. CT via Ticketfly.com.

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Bellator Returns To Budapest!

Bellator 177 On Friday, April 14

Bellator

Bellator is returning to Hungary with a bantamweight world title fight pitting Eduardo “Dudu” Dantas (19-4) against Darrion “The Wolf” Caldwell (10-1) serving as the main event of Bellator 177: Dantas vs. Caldwell from the Budapest Sports Arena on April 14. The MMA portion of the evening will also feature a featherweight bout between Hungarian-born Adam “The Kid” Borics (5-0) and Anthony “Pretty Boy” Taylor (1-2).

In addition, Bellator Kickboxing 6 will be headlined by a welterweight world title rematch featuring Zoltan Laszak (11-2) against Karim Ghajji (97-13-1). Additional bouts for both events will be announced in the coming weeks.

Bellator 177: Dantas vs. Caldwell will be broadcast on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, while Bellator Kickboxing 6 will air immediately following the MMA portion of the event, beginning at 11pm ET/10pm CT.

Dantas made his presence felt during his last outing, successfully defending his bantamweight championship belt in a five-round victory over Joe Warren. A 10-fight veteran of Bellator MMA, “Dudu” has recorded victories in 12 of his last 14 bouts, including nine under the direction of the Scott Coker-led promotion. Hailing from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, the flashy 27-year-old is widely known as one of the most dynamic competitors in the division, tallying four knockouts and six submissions over his 23-fight career. A two-time Bellator MMA bantamweight world champion, Dantas will look to defend his title for the second time since winning the belt in a victory over former champion Marcos Galvao, and for the fourth time overall.

The 29-year-old Caldwell will be competing for division gold for the first time in his career and is coming off of a crucial victory over Joe Taimanglo at Bellator 167. “The Wolf” was able to avenge his earlier loss to Taimanglo, earning his 10th career victory and seventh under the Bellator MMA banner. Caldwell has collected five wins by way of first round knockout or submission, making him one of the most dangerous compeititors in the 135-pound class. Hailing from Rahway, N.J., the 11-fight veteran has quickly put together an impressive professional resume inside the cage, highlighted by a remarkable first round finish over former multi-division champion Joe Warren, a man whom Caldwell idolized coming into the sport. The Alliance MMA product now has the opportunity of a lifetime, as he prepares for the next chapter of his career and a shot at championship glory.

After winning the welterweight kickboxing championship at Bellator’s inaugural kickboxing show in Turin, Italy in 2016, Ghajji dropped his belt to world-renowned Hungarian champion Laszak when the pair met during Bellator’s first visit to Budapest last year. Now, fresh off an impressive win in Florence, Ghajji hopes to reclaim the belt that he feels is his.

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Bellator Returns To Torino Italy!

April 8 With MMA & Kickboxing Action

Bellator

Bellator President Scott Coker today announced that his fast-rising promotion will be revisiting Torino, Italy for Bellator 176, which will be immediately followed by Bellator Kickboxing 5 at the Pala Alpitour on Saturday, April 8.

Less than one year ago, Bellator hosted it’s first-ever international event at the Pala Alpitour in front of a sold-out crowd of over 15,000 fans. Since that show, the company has rapidly and successfully expanded across the globe under the direction of Coker, visiting London, Dublin, Budapest, Israel, Florence and has an event booked in Belfast later this month.

The highly-anticipated return to Torino will feature MMA action starting with Carrington “Jetsetter” Banks (6-0) vs. Mihail Nica (5-0) in welterweight action as well as Djamal Chan (12-3) vs. Valeriu Mircea (13-4) in a lightweight affair. Additional bouts, including a main event will be announced shortly.

In kickboxing action, Bellator’s female flyweight World Champion Denise Kielholtz (46-3) defends her strap for the first time against ISKA and WKU World Champion Martine Michieletto (34-12-5) in the main event while Giorgio Petrosyan (83-2-2, 1NC) takes on Amansio Paraschiv (23-5-1)

Bellator 176 and Bellator Kickboxing 5 will be aired on SPIKE in America and further broadcast details will be announced shortly.

Tickets for the event are available now at www.oktagon.it and include access to an Oktagon Kickboxing event in addition to the Bellator 176 and Bellator Kickboxing 5 events.

“We are thrilled to be returning to the amazing city of Torino and once again working with my friend Carlo Di Blasi and his team,” said Coker. “Carlo is a great partner, and we look forward to replicating the success we had in this sold-out arena last year.”

"Oktagon is fortunate to be based in Italy, which is home to the most loyal and passionate sports fans in the world,” said Oktagon President Di Blasi. "The past two co-promotions with Scott and Bellator have been incredibly successful, and I know that this show will be no different.”

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PADDY PIMBLETT V NAD NARIMANI!

Cage Warriors 82

PADDY PIMBLETT V NAD NARIMANI

The fighting pride of Liverpool Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett will make his eagerly-awaited return to action in the main event at Cage Warriors 82.

Defending CW featherweight world champion Pimblett will take on fellow Brit Nad Narimani as he bids to further cement his position as one of the UK’s fastest-rising MMA stars.

Pimblett captured Cage Warriors gold when he knocked out French veteran Johnny Frachey for the vacant title at CW 78 in Liverpool last September.

He followed up his title win with a successful defence of his belt, edging out The Ultimate Fighter semi-finalist Julian Erosa at Cage Warriors Unplugged at the BT Sport studios last November.

Aged just 22, Pimblett returns to his stomping ground at the Echo Arena looking to continue his remarkable rise as one of the MMA world’s hottest young prospects.

He’ll face a stern test against Narimani, who enters the bout with a 9-2 pro record and took the previous Cage Warriors featherweight champ Alex Enlund all the way to the scorecards in a closely-contested battle at Cage Warriors 73, with just one point separating the two after five hard-fought rounds.

Narimani comes into the bout with Pimblett riding a two-fight win streak, with victories over Jeremy Petley (first-round KO) and Daniel Requeijo (third-round submission) setting up his April 1 clash with ‘The Baddy’.

Speaking ahead of his hometown return, Pimblett said: “I won the title in Liverpool, so there’s absolutely no way I’m going to lose it here.”

“This is my city, my arena and my title. Expect another huge party - and another huge win - when I come back home to defend my belt.”

Cage Warriors President Graham Boylan said: “Paddy’s the hottest prospect in the sport on this side of the pond and the prospect of seeing him defending his featherweight world title in front of his hometown fans is a mouth-watering prospect for MMA fans.

“Nad will take him to the limit, just as he did with our previous featherweight champ Alex Enlund, so expect a tough test and a great matchup.”

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Matt Inman V Karl Amoussou!

For The Vacant Cage Warriors Welterweight Title

Matt Inman

In the lead-up to Cage Warriors 80 we sat down with welterweight title challenger Matt Inman during a promotional video shoot to get his thoughts on his upcoming title bout with Frenchman Karl Amoussou.

HOW HAS YOUR TRAINING GONE FOR THIS FIGHT?

Training so far has been going really well. I’ve had a lot of footage of my opponent to look at and we’ve been working through his strategies and the specific techniques I need to use. Between now and the fight everything we want is in place and its just a matter of sharpening things up, making sure everything is ready for the fight.

HAVE YOU DONE ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY IN PREPARATION FOR THIS BOUT?

I’m constantly looking to add things to my skillset. I’m not a fighter who has a static amount of skills, there’s nothing I’m afraid to try out. I’m constantly looking to improve in that fashion. Every time there’s a new opponent and new challenges posed by that opponent I’m looking to do different things in my training. This time has been no different. Karl as an opponent provides a lot of unique challenges and that’s what we’ve been working on in the gym.

ARE YOU THE HARDEST TRAINER YOU KNOW?

I don’t know if I’m the hardest trainer I know, but I think a lot of the guys I train with will tell you I’m fairly hard-working. I more or less live in the gym and never find myself short of motivation to train for any occasion.

HOW WOULD WINNING THE CAGE WARRIORS TITLE CHANGE YOUR CAREER?

Winning the Cage Warriors title would be huge in my career. I think Cage Warriors has become a really big platform and there’s a lot of exposure through TV and other ways. Winning that belt and being up there with other guys who have been Cage Warriors champions before is exactly the step forward I’m looking for in my career.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT FORMER CAGE WARRIORS FIGHTERS WHO ARE NOW IN THE UFC, HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?

I believe I belong in the UFC, you look at my record and the fights I’ve had, the people I’ve beaten, there isn’t a UFC card I’d look out of place on anywhere. That’s motivation to keep pushing towards that and it will come in good time. The main thing is I’m constantly performing and improving.

HOW DOES TRAINING AFFECT YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE?

I find my day-to-day life is built around training, from waking up in the morning it’s the first thing I’m doing. What I’m eating, when I’m resting, life really has to take a back seat to training. Training always comes first but that’s what I love to do, so I never find that difficult.

AFTER YOUR LAST FIGHT YOU SAID: “I DON’T WANT TO BE THE BEST, I JUST WANT TO BE THE BEST I CAN BE.” WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY THAT?

That’s kind of my mindset really. I’ve never been the greatest natural athlete, people come into MMA with different attributes and I think I’ve had to work a lot harder than most to bring myself up to this level. It just means my skill, my technique, my dedication and my focus has to be 100%. I’ve come up against guys who are naturally faster, stronger and more powerful than me but I generally win through because of this mindset. I’m always looking to push myself to those levels.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU? IS IT TO GET TO THE UFC, OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I think all the motivation I have is intrinsic, I’m not kind of looking on to the next thing because there’s always going to be one thing after the next. I do have goals about where I want to fight - I’d love to win the Cage Warriors title and of course every fighter wants to fight in the UFC. But my main motivation goes beyond that. I’m more interested in being the best fighter I can be, the best mixed martial artist, the most technical, the most skilled, the toughest I can possibly be. If that means I don’t make it to the UFC eventually or for whatever reason I never own one of these major titles, providing I’m looking to work towards that goal then that’s really what motivates me.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING AN MMA FIGHTER?

The best thing about being an MMA fighter is getting to do MMA everyday. This is what I do, this is full time. I’m fortunate really. I turned my hobby into a job and that’s all I have to focus on. I’m one of a genuine few people in the world who can wake up every morning and say I’m excited to get into work and I love what I do.

WHAT’S THE WORST THING ABOUT BEING AN MMA FIGHTER?

The worst thing is dieting, keeping the weight down. I think most real fighters will agree with me, the process of restricting your body to make your weight class is by far the least enjoyable part, but that’s part of the job. Some people can go to work and eat pizza and it won’t affect the way they do their job but if I eat pizza and ice cream it will affect the way I do my job, so that’s something I just have to sacrifice.

KARL AMOUSSOU IS ON A SIX-FIGHT WIN STREAK, WITH ALL SIX COMING INSIDE THE DISTANCE. HOW DO YOU ENSURE YOU’RE NOT NUMBER SEVEN?

He’s a strong opponent, he’s won his last six - five I think inside the distance - so you can tell he starts strong early. I think in those fights I don’t think he’s fought an opponent who brings what I bring. I don’t think they have the experience, the skillset or the toughness. I’m going to be ready. I understand the guy’s an aggressive fighter and we’re going to be straight into the fire. Come February 18 I’ll be completely ready for that and I’ll be ready to dig deep and do what it takes. I’ve finished a lot of people early too - don’t count out the fact I might be able to do that - it wont be all one-way traffic early. Out of 19 wins I’ve finished 17 of those and I’m going to be looking to finish, early or late.

IS THIS THE TOUGHEST FIGHT OF YOUR CAREER? IF NOT, IS IT THE MOST IMPORTANT?

It’s certainly the most important fight to date. The old adage that styles makes fights is true, you can never really be sure looking at an opponent on paper or on footage, exactly how he’s going to match up with you until you get in and you’re facing him across from the cage. I won’t say it’s going to be my toughest test to date, I’ve been through tough tests already but this is the biggest fight and I’m certain it will be one with no room whatsoever to make mistakes in. I’ve got to perform and I know that.

IS IT DIFFICULT TO GET YOUR FIGHT HEAD ON WHEN THERE’S NO NEEDLE?

I don’t think there’s much animosity between me and Karl personally, I don’t need that. When I’m focused on my own performance that’s going to be the same whoever the opponent is. Sometimes opponents might talk, they might say things, but I think if you’re relying on that to get yourself up for a fight, then your mindset is not necessarily in the right place to begin with. I’m focused on my performance and I’m sure Karl’s the same. We can expect us both at the top of our games and a great fight.

IS EARNING A SPOT IN THE UFC THE ULTIMATE GOAL FOR YOU?

Earning graduation to the ranks of the UFC is a goal, but I wouldn’t call it the ultimate goal because once I get to the UFC I believe I can perform there as well. Naturally I’d be disappointed if I didn’t make it into the UFC, most serious MMA fighters would tell you the same thing. It’s not the end of the road I don’t think, when I get there I’d still want to push on further. You just keep moving the goalposts every time you achieve a little goal and you’ll push further on to the next.

WILL YOU BE BRINGING BIG SUPPORT DOWN TO LONDON FROM MANCHESTER FOR THIS FIGHT?

I’m looking forward to fighting in the capital again, it was the scene of my last fight in Cage Warriors Unplugged. This time we’re not in a TV studio, so I’m looking forward to bringing a lot of support down from Manchester. I’ve been fortunate in the way people have got behind me and believed in me going into this fight.

DOES THAT ADD PRESSURE OR DOES THE SUPPORT HELP YOU?

It’s great to have support. It’s always nice to have people behind you. In all honesty I’m going to perform whatever the case. If I’m in an empty room and a cage or I’ve got a few thousand people screaming me on, that won’t affect my mindset because I’ve got to be ready to fight anywhere, anytime. So I’m not relying on a crowd or support to give a boost in a fight, that’s all in there already.

THERE’S A SPECIAL GUEST DJ AT THIS EVENT. DO YOU NOTICE THE TUNES BETWEEN ROUNDS AND WHAT WOULD YOUR REQUEST BE?

I never really notice much of what is going on around me during a fight outside of the fight itself. A little bit of a pick-me-up between rounds might be good. Sling on a bit of the Rocky theme song. That could be good!

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN THREE WORDS?

Technical, tough and I’ve got an engine.

WHO HAS THE ADVANTAGE WHEN THE FIGHT GOES TO THE FLOOR?

If the fight goes to the floor I think it’s an interesting one, Karl’s won a lot of his fights by submission - to me he appears a very explosive grappler. If he gets hold of a heel or an arm he’ll take that home with him. He’s strong and powerful and he can lock onto those submissions. I think all-round my grappling is going to be stronger though. I think I have a greater understanding of those positions, I know exactly what I should be looking for at any point and I know by those terms exactly how to keep myself out of danger as well.

Limited tickets for Cage Warriors 80 are available via the AXS website, priced from just £20. Included in the ticket price is a free meet and greet with UFC stars including Dan Hardy.

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M-1 Challenge 74!

Adds MMA Fighters & Fans Of Rival Russian Soccer Teams

The February 18th M-1 Challenge 74 card in St. Petersburg got even more interesting with M-1Global's announcement that a fight between fans of arch-rival Russian soccer (non-American football) teams will square-off in full team colors.

In the main event, undefeated M-1 Challenge light heavyweight champion Rashid Yusupov (6-0-0, M-1: 4-0-0), of Russia, defends his title against former titlist Stephan "T-800" Puetz (15-2-0, M-1: 6-1-0), of Germany.

M-1 Challenge lightweight champion Alexander "Iron Capture" Butenko (42-11-2, M-1: 9-1-0) faces challenger Abukar Yandiev (8-1-0, M-1: 2-1-0) in the M-1 Challenge 74 co-feature.

Billed as the first MMA fight part of a major event to feature MMA fighters who are also fans of two of the top soccer clubs in Russia, CSKA and Spartak, battling between the ropes to determine the strongest soccer fan under MMA rules, not in the street.

Light heavyweight Dmitry Tebekin (4-2-0, M-1: 0-0-0), representing CSKA, will throw-down against Spartak fan Arthur Reig Tjul'parov (1-0-0, M-1: 1-0-0). Tebekin was the St. Petersburg Cup winner and vice-champion of St. Petersburg, while Tjul'parov was also vice-champion of St. Petersburg as well as the third-place finisher in the All-Russian Grand Prix

M-1 Challenge 74 will be streamed live from St. Petersburg in high definition on www.M1Global.TV. Viewers will be able to watch the preliminary fights and main card by logging on to register at www.M1Global.TV. Fans may watch all of the action on their computers, as well as on Android and Apple smart phones and tablets.

Also fighting on the M-1 Challenge 74 main card, in addition to Yusupov-Puetz and Butenko-Yandiev, is former M-1 Challenge bantamweight champion Vitaly Branchuk (21-6-0, M-1: 1-2-0), of Ukraine, vs. Frenchman Moktar "Le Kabyle" Benkaci (13-7-0); two-time M-1 Challenge lightweight title challenger Artiom Damkovsky (22-10-1, M-1: 12-7-0), of Belarus, vs. undefeated Brazilian Pablo "Negao" Pereira (7-0-0, M-1: 0-0-0), and Ukrainian welterweight Vyacheslav "Bison" Bogomol (9-3-0, M-1: 0-1-0) vs. unbeaten Pablo Ortmann (6-0-0, M-1: 0-0-0), of Switzerland.

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DAN HARDY!

MEET AND GREET AT CW80

We’re just three weeks away from Cage Warriors’ first world title fight of 2017 as England’s Matt Inman and France’s Karl Amoussou get set to do battle for the vacant welterweight title at Cage Warriors 80.

The headlining title fight tops a packed card of action at Cage Warriors’ new home at Indigo at The O2 on February 18, but fight fans will also get a rare opportunity to catch up with some Cage Warriors’ stars of yesteryear ahead of the event.

We’re delighted to announce that we’ll also be hosting a special meet and greet session with a host of former Cage Warriors stars who have all gone on to further their respective careers in the UFC.

Heading the lineup is Dan ‘The Outlaw’ Hardy, the popular welterweight who became the first British fighter to compete for a UFC world title when he battled the great Georges St-Pierre all the way to the scorecards at UFC 111 back in 2010.

Dan has since forged a successful career on the other side of the fence as a colour commentator and one of the most astute, respected MMA analysts in the game.

Dan will be joined by fellow former Cage Warriors stars Jack Hermansson, Darren Stewart, Alex Enlund and Tom Breese for a special meet and greet session, which is open to all fans attending the event on February 18. No additional ticket is required.

Limited tickets for Cage Warriors 80 are available via the AXS website, priced from just £20. Secure yours today and make sure you’re a part of the latest exciting chapter in Cage Warriors’ history.

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JOSH KOSCHECK V MAURICIO ALONSO!

Bellator 172

JOSH KOSCHECK V MAURICIO ALONSO

A welterweight bout pitting Josh Koscheck (17-10) against Mauricio Alonso(12-7, 1 NC) has been added to the Spike-televised main card of Bellator 172: Fedor vs. Mitrione at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. on February 18, 2017.

In addition, recently signed Russian star Anatoly Tokov (24-2) is set to square off against Francisco France (13-4-1) in a middleweight clash that will be featured on the Bellator.com-streamed undercard, while a previously announced main card bout between Adam Piccolotti and Brent Primus has been cancelled after Piccolotti has been forced to withdraw due to an undisclosed injury.

Bellator 172: Fedor vs. Mitrione will be broadcast live and free on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com and the Bellator Mobile App. Tickets for the event are on sale now at the SAP Center Box Office as well as Ticketmaster.com.

Koscheck will be making his highly anticipated Bellator MMA debut after signing with the Viacom-owned promotion in 2015. Prior to the signing, “Kos” competed under the UFC banner for nearly a decade, compiling 15 wins and nine finishes. Now, the 39-year-old Dethrone Base Camp product hopes to soar to the top of Bellator MMA’s stacked welterweight class and add to his impressive resume of 17 career victories. Never one to mince words, Koscheck has made it clear that he hopes to once again meet Paul Daley inside the cage, but first, the Fresno, Calif. native must get through Alonso on Feb. 18 when he returns to action on Spike.

Hailing from Parana, Brazil, Alonso will be making his second appearance under the direction of Bellator MMA and first in the welterweight division since 2014. The 36-year-old enters the bout riding a recent string of success, earning victories in each of his last two contests and seven of his last 10 dating back to 2010. Of his 12 career wins, Alonso has finished his opponent five times, including four knockouts. Alonso will look to build off of an undefeated 2016 campaign when he competes on Feb 18.

Under the tutelage of the legendary Fedor Emilianenko, Tokov has strung together an impressive resume of his own, where from 2012 to 2016, the prospect was riding a streak of 17 consecutive wins. The 26-year-old Russian is known to end fights early and often, finishing his opponent in 19 of his 24 career wins, including nine first round finishes. If Tokov is going to continue to blossom on the Bellator roster, he will have to defeat his opponent on Feb. 18 first.

Hailing from Gilbert, Arizona, 18-fight veteran France enters the bout having won six of his last eight contests, including one draw and five finishes. The 33-year-old submission specialist will be making his third appearance under the Bellator MMA banner and first in nearly a year at Bellator 172. “Kiko” brings with him one of the most dynamic ground games in the division, finishing 12 of his 13 victims via submission; displaying a wide array of devastating techniques, including rear-naked and arm-triangle chokes, arm bars, and kimuras.

Bellator MMA Promotions

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CAGE WARRIORS!

SET TO COME HOME TO DUBLIN

CAGE WARRIORS

CAGE WARRIORS are delighted to announce that we’re coming home to Ireland for our first show on the Emerald Isle since 2014.

The promotion has forged a well-deserved reputation as the key proving ground for Irish fighting talent, with the likes of Neil Seery, Cathal Pendred and ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor all capturing Cage Warriors world championship gold en route to the world stage with the UFC.

Cage Warriors 81 will take place at the Mecca for Irish MMA - the 3Arena - on Saturday March 4 for what promises to be a spectacular homecoming in Dublin.

We’re working on putting together an action-packed fight card for the event, but can already confirm Northern Ireland’s Karl Moore will fight for the vacant Cage Warriors light-heavyweight world title against an opponent to be announced in the near future.

Moore will be looking to follow up on his first-round knockout of Paco Estevez at Cage Warriors Unplugged last November as he bids to capture the title that was last held by the current UFC middleweight champion of the world, Michael Bisping.

Moore’s fellow countryman, lightweight prospect Joe McColgan, is also scheduled for action in Dublin, while Scottish featherweight prospect Paul McBain will make his Cage Warriors debut against Lloyd Manning.

Tickets go on sale from Wednesday February 1st and are priced at 90, 40 and 25 Euros.

However, fans who purchase their 25 Euro tickets before Thursday February 9th can secure their spots for just 15 Euros, thanks to our special early bird ticket offer.

“I’m both proud and excited to be heading back to Ireland for Cage Warriors 81,” said Cage Warriors president Graham Boylan.

“As a proud Irishman myself I’ve always been committed to the growth of mixed martial arts in Ireland, and CW 81 represents the latest opportunity for Irish MMA to shine on the big stage.

“The Dublin fans are renowned for producing the most electric atmosphere anywhere in the MMA world and I’m sure they’ll deliver yet again on March 4.

“We’ll bring the fights, you bring the noise and we’ll have one hell of a night at the 3Arena.”

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Paul Bradley V Alexander Shlemenko!

M-1 Challenge 75

Paul Bradley V Alexander Shlemenko

Russia (January 27, 2017) - American MMA veteran Paul "The Gentleman" Bradley has stepped up to meet the awesome challenge presented by 2016 M-1 Grand Prix middleweight champion Alexander "Storm" Shlemenko in the March 3rd M-1 Challenge 75 main event in Moscow.

M-1 Challenge 75 will be streamed live from Moscow in high definition on www.M1Global.TV. Viewers will be able to watch the preliminary fights and main card by logging on to register at www.M1Global.TV. Fans may watch all the action on their computers, as well as on Android and Apple smart phones and tablets.

A three-time Bellator champion, Shlemenko (54-9-0. 1 NC, M-1: 4-0-0) defeated former M-1 Challenge champion Vyacheslav Vasilevsky last year in the M-1 Grand Prix Middleweight Championship semifinals and championship final, respectively, by three-round majority decision and third-round submission (choke). Shlemenko vs. Vasilevsky I & II were also the M-1 Challenge 68 & 64 Fights of the Night.

Former Ring of Combat champion Bradley (23-7-0, M-1: 0-0-0) will be making his M-1 Challenge debut, however, he's a seasoned MMA veteran having fought in the UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator and World Series of Fighting.

The 33-year-old Bradley, fighting out of San Diego (California), was a standout wrestler at the powerhouse University of Iowa. He is known for his physical strength, tremendous endurance, and balanced stand-up and ground skills.

Undefeated M-1 Challenge welterweight champion Alexey Kunchenko (15-0-0, M-1: 7-0-0), of Russia, will defend his title in the co-feature against Maksin Grabovich (5-2-0, M-1: 4-0-0), of Russia, who replaced injured Kazakh challenger Shavkat Rakhmonov (7-0-0, M-1: 4-0-0).

Russian welterweight prospect Sergey "Streetfighter" Romanov (10-1-0, M-1: 3-0-0) meets Russian veteran Magomed "The White Wolf" Sultanakhmedov (18-5-0, M-1: 10-1-0), while another American fighter, lightweight Keon "The Black Assassin" Caldwell (11-3-0, M-1: 0-0-0), will make his M-1 Global debut against former M-1 Challenge lightweight champion Maxim Divnich (12-2-0, M-1: 6-2-0), of Ukraine.

Rounding out a loaded M-1 Challenge 75 main card is a middleweight clash between Russian favorite Valery "The Russian Hammer" Myasinikov (10-1-2, M-1: 1-1-2) and Spaniard Enoc Solves Torres (19-9-1, M-1: 5-6-1).

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JIMMY JOHNSTONE!

JOINS CAGE WARRIORS

CAGE WARRIORS’ continued growth into 2017 continues with the announcement of Jimmy Johnstone’s arrival on the team to head up the promotion’s Southern England operations.

Johnstone joins Cage Warriors with a wealth of experience in the mixed martial arts sphere, both in promotion and instruction, from his time managing Bournemouth-based Phoenix MMA and Phoenix Fight Night.

And one of his first jobs as part of the Cage Warriors family will be to work with president Graham Boylan to head up the planning and organisation for a Cage Warriors event in Bournemouth on Saturday June 24.

A Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt, Johnstone has competed in MMA at both amateur and professional level, and is currently the head coach for the UK national youth BJJ team.

He is also the BJJ coach for the Royal Marines, continuing Cage Warriors’ strong connection with MMA and the armed forces that has seen servicemen including Jack Marshman rise to prominence under the Cage Warriors banner and go on to fight in the UFC.

“I’m absolutely delighted with this partnership,” said Johnstone.

“We have worked tirelessly for the last eight years to establish Phoenix Fight Night as the No.1 fight show in the south, constantly reinvesting and pushing ourselves to improve our standards time after time.

“This announcement shows that the sacrifice was well worth it. Partnering with Cage Warriors is creating a massive platform for southern-based fighters to shine on the biggest stage in the UK and Europe.

“It’s great news for MMA in the south.”

Cage Warriors President, Graham Boylan, said “We’re delighted to be working with Jimmy.

“His culture is our culture: teamwork, hard work, and a true love of the sport.

“He strengthens our team significantly; and Bournemouth on 24th June is going to be a huge party.”

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TITO ORTIZ V CHAEL SONNEN!

GET 1.85 MILLION VIEWERS

1.85 million viewers tuned in for the final fight in Tito Ortiz's storied career, a first round submission victory over Chael Sonnen. This marks the most watched Bellator fight on Spike since last February and the most watched MMA fight on television in 2017.

*these are preliminary numbers as the more accurate viewership total factoring in DVR +3 will be released Thursday.

In the co-feature, 1.7 million viewers witnessed Paul Daley's devastating flying knee KO over Brennan Ward.

Overall, Bellator 170 delivered 1.4 million viewers - making it the 3rd most watched card in the franchise's history. The 3-hour Spike telecast was also ranked #1 in cable with Men 18-49 in the timeslot.

Bellator 170 was also a digital and social success as well.

The Bellator 170 prelims drew the second most viewers on Bellator.com and Bellator mobile app in franchise history (only behind Bellator 149).

The post-fight press conference streamed exclusively on YouTube saw the most concurrent viewers in Bellator history.

#Bellator170 was the #1 trending topic on Twitter during the event and Tito Ortiz, Chael Sonnen and Bellator MMA trended #1 on Google Trends.

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BELLATOR 173 & BAMMA 28!

AT THE SSE ARENA IN BELFAST

BELLATOR 173 & BAMMA 28

Bellator & BAMMA combine forces once more to bring Belfast a show of Titanic proportions as they present their second co-promoted event on Friday February 24th 2017 from the SSE Arena, Belfast. With huge main events and supporting undercards, it will be a historic and groundbreaking night to remember for MMA fans of Belfast and around the world.

Tickets for the joint-event start at just £35 and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.ie, SSEArenaBelfast.com, or the SSE Arena box office.

"We had a great time working with David and the BAMMA team in December for what was an incredibly successful Bellator debut in Dublin. We're looking forward to heading north with them to Belfast for another amazing co-promotion that will feature some of the world's best fighters.” - Scott Coker, Bellator CEO

“The addition of Bellator to the show in Dublin was a great experience and the perfect end to a year of great events for BAMMA. We are therefore very pleased to welcome them back as part of the package for what will be an exciting night of MMA for the fans in Belfast in February" - David Green, BAMMA CEO

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Greg Rebello!

Rolls With The Punches

He got knocked out on national television and instantly became a trending topic on Twitter.

Others (see: Ronda Rousey) might've gone into hiding out of sheer embarrassment. Greg Rebello joined in on the fun, even if it was at his own expense.

"I feel like they should've outlined my body in chalk and just left it there," Rebello said of his knockout loss to Ashley Gooch in August.

"It's part of the game. Look at every champion in the [Ultimate Fighting Championships] right now. Every one of them has either been finished or knocked out within their last five fights. It happens. You've got to know how to handle it."

This is the seventh time in Rebello's career he's had to deal with a loss. His ability to sweep it under the rug and clear the next hurdle is part of what drives the Providence, R.I., heavyweight as he returns to the cage Friday night to face Minnesota's Danyelle Williams (8-4-1, 5 KOs) on the main card of "CES MMA 41" at Twin River Casino on AXS TV.

The loss to Gooch, via third-round knockout in their scheduled five-round title bout six months ago on AXS TV, became a must-see highlight on social media and spawned the phrase, "Gooched," another way of saying "knocked out." Even Rebello himself has used it.

"I laugh about it with people all the time," he said. "You've got have fun with it."

Rebello (20-7, 12 KOs), who turns 35 this summer, has learned to role with the punches, even those from the opponent. The loss to Gooch, he says, was one of the best performances of his career. It just didn't go his way. Rebello hit him with everything but the kitchen sink, and the 41-year-old Tennessee heavyweight absorbed it all before scoring the come-from-behind win.

"With those small, four-ounce gloves, anything can happen in this sport. It's not boxing. MMA is different," Rebello said. "There are so many ways to lose. I'm not one of those guys who's going to fire all of his coaches. It'd be one thing if I was getting my ass kicked, but, honestly, it was one of the best fights I ever had. I couldn't miss with my punches. I made one lazy, stupid mistake. I'm going to keep doing exactly what I'm doing except now I'm going to be more disciplined.

"Everything from my training to my work in the gym, I'm the best I've ever been," he continued. "I know a lot of people say that all the time, but I'm at the best point in my career. I'm in my prime as far as I'm concerned. I thought I had Gooch knocked out a few times, but he's a pretty tough dude. I had him hurt numerous times. It is what it is."

Williams presents a similar challenge. The 6-foot-2 striker has won four of his last five dating back to 2013, three by knockout, and faces one of the toughest challenges of his career in his first fight in more than two and a half years.

"He's tough," Rebello said. "He's faced some tough competition. He hasn't faced anyone like me, but I won't take anything away from him.

"I'm in the toughest fight on the card," he joked. "What else is new?"

Staying true to his promise he made upon his comeback in 2013, Rebello continues to approach MMA on a fight-by-fight basis, though he admits the idea of a rematch with Gooch sometime down the road has crossed his mind.

"Anyone who tells you they don't want to avenge one of their losses is a liar," he said. "If it happens, it happens. I just look at what's in front of me, but everyone who says they've moved on or whatever, they're lying. Anytime you lose, it stinks."

What's helped Rebello remain relevant in his mid-30s is his ability to put the losses behind him without dwelling too much on the past. He might get that rematch one day, but first he must handle another tall task Friday night and perhaps trend on Twitter this weekend for the right reasons.

Tickets for "CES MMA 41" are priced at $40.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and can be purchased online at www.cesboxing.com, www.twinriver.com, www.ticketmaster.com or www.cagetix.com/ces by phone at 401-724-2253/2254 or at the Twin River Casino Players Club. All fights and fighters are subject to change.

The main event of "CES MMA 41" features reigning CES MMA Featherweight World Champion Matt Bessette (20-7, 5 KOs) of Stafford, Conn., defending his title against Missouri native Kevin Croom in a five-round. Massachusetts native Tyler King (12-4, 3 KOs) faces two-time CES MMA vet Keith Bell (6-8, 4 KOs) of Newport News, Va., and Pat Walsh (8-2, 3 KOs) of Stoughton, Mass., battles New Hampshire's Kevin Haley (6-3, 2 KOs) in an intriguing regional showdown.

The main card also features a flyweight bout between undefeated New Britain, Conn., vet Carlos Candelario (4-0, 1 KO) and fellow unbeaten Miguel Restrepo (4-0, 2 KOs) of Queens, N.Y., plus a bantamweight battle between Kody Nordby (7-4) of Woonsocket, R.I., and Illinois vet David Garcia (4-1, 2 KOs).

Nordby looks to continue his climb back to the top of the division following his loss to Andre Soukhamthath against the dangerous Garcia, who recently handed Rico DiSciullo his first career loss in September via submission at "CES MMA 38." Candelario makes his fourth appearance with CES MMA and first since "CES MMA 36" in June when submitted Roosevelt Archie via guillotine in the opening round of a scheduled three-round bout.

Fresh off his comeback win at "CES MMA 40" in November, East Providence, R.I., bantamweight Dinis Paiva (8-6, 5 KOs) faces Findlay, Ohio, vet Jordan Espinosa (8-4, 1 KO). Paiva ended a 13-month layoff in his last bout with a first-round knockout win over Zane Behrend and returns to the network television stage for the first time since his loss to Nordby in October of 2015.

The six-fight preliminary card includes a female flyweight bout between Bourne, Mass., native Sarah Click (1-1) and newcomer Maria Rivera of Framingham, Mass., plus a bantamweight bout between unbeaten Kris Moutinho (2-0) of Milford, Mass., and Fredericktown, Ohio, native Jason Rine (0-1). Fellow Ohio native Raymond Yanez (4-8, 1 KO) of Columbus battles Milford's Richie Santiago (2-0) and lightweight Connor Barry (2-0) of Stoughton faces New Jersey's Travis Foster (0-2).

In the flyweight division, David Baxter (3-1, 1 KO) of Bellingham, Mass., battles Pawtucket, R.I., vet Dan Cormier (4-6, 1 KO) and Quincy, Mass., light heavyweight Mike Rodriguez (5-2, 3 KOs) returns to face 16-fight Woonsocket, R.I., vet Hector Sanchez.

CES MMA Promotions

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Maksim Grabovich V Alexey Kunchenko!

M-1 Challenge 75

Maksim Grabovich V Alexey Kunchenko

Russia (January 23, 2017) - Undefeated M-1 Challenge welterweight champion Alexey Kunchenko will now be challenged by fellow Russian Maksim Grabovich, who has replaced injured Shavkat Rakhmonov, March 3, at M-1 Challenge 75 in Moscow.

M-1 Grand Prix middleweight champion Alexander "Storm" Shlemenko (54-9-0. 1 NC, M-1: 4-0-0),the three-time Bellator champion, will headline M-1 Challenge 75 against an opponent to soon be announced.

Kunchenko (15-0-0, M-1: 7-0), fighting out of Tyumen, Russia, is a Muay Thai specialist who captured his M-1 Challenge welterweight title belt last April at M-1 Challenge 65, when defending titlist Murad Abdulaev retired during the fourth round.

In a non-title fight, Kunchenko won a three-round unanimous decision over Eduardo Ramon at M-1 Challenge at M-1 Challenge 70 last September. His first title defense was December 5 at M-1 Challenge 72, in which Kunchenko won a 5-round unanimous decision over Abdulaev in a rematch.

Grabovich (5-2-0, M-1: 4-0-0), fighting out of famed Stary Oskol in Russia, has won his last three fights in addition to being undefeated in four M-1 Global matches. His signature victory to date was last June at M-1 Challenge 68, in which Grabovich won a three-round unanimous decision in the Fight of the Night.

In other announced main card fights, American lightweight Keon "The Black Assassin" Caldwell (11-3-0, M-1: 0-0-0) makes his M-1 Global debut against former M-1 Challenge lightweight champion Maxim Divnich (12-2-0 (M-1: 6-2-0), while Russian welterweight prospect Sergey "Streetfighter" Romanov (10-1-0, M-1: 3-0-0) faces Russian veteran Magomed "The White Wolf" Sultanakhmedov (18-5-0, M-1: 10-1-0).

M-1 Challenge 75 will be streamed live from Moscow in high definition on www.M1Global.TV. Viewers will be able to watch the preliminary fights and main card by logging on to register at www.M1Global.TV. Fans may watch all the action on their computers, as well as on Android and Apple smart phones and tablets.

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WEIGH IN ALERT!

BELLATOR 169 WEIGHTS

Ishii V Lawal

The official weigh-ins for both “Bellator 169: King Mo vs. Ishii” and “BAMMA 27” took place this afternoon at the 1878 club inside 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland. The competitors are now ready for action tomorrow at 3Arena, with the event airing on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.

The Spike-televised main card will be highlighted by a heavyweight main event pitting “King Mo” (19-5, 1 NC) against Olympic Judo Gold Medalist Satoshi Ishii (14-6-1). In addition, Anthony Taylor (1-1) will look to quite the crowd as he enters enemy territory to challenge Northern Ireland’s own James Gallagher (4-0) in a featherweight co-main clash.

In addition to a full card of Bellator action, ticketholders will also have the unique opportunity to experience an additional fight card from Europe’s leading mixed martial arts promotion, BAMMA. The bantamweight belt will be on the line at “BAMMA 27,” as Tom Duquesnoy (13-1, 1 NC) and Alan Philpott (16-8) prepare to duke it out for the division gold.

“Bellator 169: King Mo vs. Ishii” takes place inside 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland, and will air free on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.

Satoshi Ishii (236.6 lbs.) vs. Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal (213 lbs.)

Anthony Taylor (145.8 lbs.) vs. James Gallagher (145.6 lbs.)

Brian Moore (146 lbs.) vs. Daniel Weichel (145.6 lbs.)

Elina Kallionidou (135.8 lbs.) vs. Sinead Kavanagh (135.2 lbs.)

Cameron Else (145.2 lbs.) vs. Dylan Tuke (144.6 lbs.)

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BELLATOR 170!

PRELIMINARY CARD ADDITIONS

BELLATOR 170

The stacked main card of “Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen” now has an equally enticing preliminary offering, with the news that Chinzo Machida (4-2), Henry Corrales (12-3), and Guilherme “Bomba” (8-3) will all compete on January 21, 2017 inside The Forum in Los Angeles, Calif.

In addition, the event will also feature Kevin Casey (9-5-1, 2 NC), Jack May (8-3), and Cody Bollinger (19-6) during the “Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen” undercard, which will stream live on Bellator.com and the Bellator Mobile App beginning at 6:50 p.m. ET / 3:50 p.m. PT.

Tickets for this monumental event start at $36 and are on sale now at Bellator.com, as well as Ticketmaster.com -- Additional bouts will be announced soon.

On the heels of his spectacular first-round TKO of Mario Navarro during his promotional debut at “Bellator 160: Henderson vs. ‘Pitbull,’” the elder brother of Lyoto Machida returns to action close to where he calls home. A winner of his last three contests, Machida will now meet undefeated Jamar Ocampo (2-0).

Since signing with Bellator as an undefeated King of the Cage Champion in 2015, Corrales has faced Patricio “Pitbull,” a former Bellator Featherweight titlist, as well as Daniel Straus, the current 145-pound kingpin. Add in the fact that “OK” also fought Emmanuel Sanchez and you have a murder’s row in the division. Now, the 30-year-old sets his sights on Bollinger, who returns to the Scott Coker-led promotion following one fight in 2012 against Shahbulat Shamhalaev.

“Bomba” will step back into the Bellator MMA-fray after a rear-naked choke submission at “Bellator MMA: Dynamite 2” this past June. Briefly linked to Demi Lovato romantically, the Brazilian native trains alongside Jay Glazer at the top notch “Unbreakable - Performance Center” in Los Angeles. Standing opposite of “Bomba” will be John Mercurio (8-7), who hails from Huntington Beach, Calif.

“King” Casey, a Los Angeles native who’s the son-in-law of Muhammad Ali, will meet 28-fight veteran Keith Berry (15-13) at middleweight. A Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Casey is a UFC and Strikeforce veteran and was featured on “The Ultimate Fighter” where he was coached by fellow “Bellator 170” fighter, Chael Sonnen.

Competing at heavyweight against Dave Cryer (11-2), May comes into Jan. 21 with six stoppages in eight victories as a professional. Also a UFC veteran, “The Outlaw” has competed against the likes of Derrick Lewis and Bellator MMA veteran Carl Seumanutafa since beginning his career in 2011.

The fights join a main card that is headlined by a legendary clash between veterans Tito Ortiz (18-12-1) and Chael Sonnen (28-14-1). In addition, Ralek Gracie (3-0) against Hisaki Kato (7-2) and Georgi Karakhanyan (26-6-1) versus Emmanuel Sanchez (13-3) will also be featured on the main card, as will what promises to be an absolute slugfest, when Paul Daley (38-14-2) meets Brennan Ward (14-4) in the co-main event of the evening. The event will be broadcast live and free on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8

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BELLATOR 169!

ADDS WOMEN’S FEATHERWEIGHT FIGHT

BELLATOR 169

After an incredible year that saw Bellator MMA host events in international territories all around the globe, it is only fitting that the promotion’s year-ending event, “Bellator 169: King Mo vs. Ishii,” takes place this Friday, December 16 at the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland.

Shortly after her fight against Helen Harper (4-1) was announced, Bruna Vargas (2-1) has withdrawn from the bout due to injury. Harper will be paid her show money and a new women’s featherweight bout has been added to the SPIKE-televised card between undefeated fighters Sinead Kavanagh (3-0) and Elina Kallionidou (5-0).

The Spike-televised main card will be highlighted by a heavyweight main event pitting “King Mo” (19-5, 1 NC) against Olympic Judo Gold Medalist Satoshi Ishii (14-6-1). In addition, a pair of anticipated featherweight scraps will see Anthony Taylor (1-1) look to quiet the crowd as he enters enemy territory to challenge Northern Ireland’s James Gallagher (4-0) and, Ireland’s Brian Moore (9-4) take on the always-game Daniel Weichel (37-9).

Tickets for “Bellator 169: King Mo vs. Ishii” are on sale now and start at 35€ at Bellator.com, Ticketmaster.ie and the 3Arena Box Office. The event can be seen free on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, and will be immediately followed by “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence.”

Fighting out of Straight Blast Gym (SBG) in Dublin, “KO” Kavanagh has fought all three of her professional bouts with BAMMA, and has earned her nickname bye scoring two knockouts in her first three fights. Kavanagh fought in BAMMA’s first-ever women’s fight, and ended her opponent’s night in just 17 seconds. Originally slated to compete in a bantamweight fight against Eeva Siiskonen (5-4-2) on the BAMMA portion of this co-promoted night of fights, Kavanagh now moves up in weight to face Kallionidou under the Bellator banner.

At only 18 years of age, Kallionidou has already made a name for herself in her home country Greece, where she holds the Cage Survivor women’s featherweight title. Incredibly, “Gunner” started her professional career off with a bang, scoring a first-round TKO just a month after her 16th birthday. Since then, the Greek fighter has gone 5-0, with three knockouts. The fight this Friday night, will be her first fight outside of Greece.

In addition to a full card of Bellator action, ticketholders will also have the unique opportunity to experience an additional fight card from Europe’s leading mixed martial arts promotion, BAMMA. The bantamweight belt will be on the line at “BAMMA 27,” as Tom Duquesnoy (13-1, 1 NC) and Alan Philpott (16-8) prepare to duke it out for the division gold. Lastly, the stacked event features a featherweight world title fight pitting former Bellator competitors Ronnie Mann (25-8-1) against Martin Stapleton (18-4).

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M-1 Challenge 73!

OFFICIAL RESULTS

M-1 Challenge 73

Rising Russian MMA star Magomed Idriosov knocked out Ivan "Buki" Buchinger in the opening round of tonight's M-1 Challenge 73: Battle of Narts main event to become M-1 Challenge bantamweight champion.

In the co-feature, M-1 Challenge middleweight champion Ramazan Emeev won a hard fought three-round split decision over Anatoly Tokov in Ingushetia, Russia.

Feared as a striker, Idrisov ((7-0-0, M-1: 4-0-0) lived up to his reputation and remained undefeated as a professional, putting Buchinger to sleep with a devastating punch in round one. In his 2013 MMA debut, Idrisov knocked out current M-1 Challenge lightweight champion Alexander Butenko in a non-M-1 Global fight. The Russian is now undefeated in four M-1 Global fights having previously defeated Yuri Maia (KO1 - punches) in the M-1 Challenge 49 Knockout of the Night, Max Coga (DEC3) and Sergej Grecicho (DEC3) in his last fight September 20, 2015 at M-1 Challenge 51.

Buchinger (31-5-0, M-1: 6-1-0), fighting out of Slovakia, rode a 10-fight win streak into M-1 Challenge 73, losing for the first time since 2012 to Conor McGregor. Buchinger stopped Tural Ragimov to capture the vacant M-1 Challenge title October 17, 2014 at M-1 Challenge 52.

Two of the best middleweight fighters in the world, Emeev (15-3-0, M-1: 9-1-0) and Tokov (24-3-0, M-1: 8-2-0), battled from to start to finish as Emeev won a three-round split decision for his fourth consecutive victory.

Undefeated Russian Moysar Evoloev remained undefeated (6-0-0, M-1: 6-0-0) by taking a three-round unanimous decision over American Lee "American Bulldog" Morrison (15-8-0, M-1: 2-5-0) at a 140-pound (63.5 kilograms) catchweight.

Russian lightweight Khamzat Dalgiev (8-1-0, M-1: 5-1-0), fighting at home in Ingushetia, chocked British-invader Christian "The Animal" Holley (10-3-0, M-1: 0-1-0) into a submission in the second round.

Closing out the Main Card, American bantamweight "The Punisher" Josh Rettinghouse (14-4-0, M-1: 2-0-0) stopped his Kazakh opponent, Sergey Morozov (6-2-0, M-1: 3-2-0), in the first round.

Brazilian bantamweight Diego "The Pride" Davella (16-5-0, M-1: 1-0-0) won his M-1 debut, choking Zalimbeg Omarov (7-2-1, M-1: 4-2-1) in a second-round submission on the Over Card.

On the preliminary card, Kurban Ibragimov (6-2-0, M-1: 3-2-0) submitted fellow Russian heavyweight Denis Polekhin in the first round, Russian featherweight Alexey Nevzorov (12-2-0, M-1: 6-1-0) registered a second-round TKO of Ukrainian Andrey "Iron" Lezhnov (8-7-0, M-1: 3-3-0), Russian lightweight Pavel Gordeav (4-0-0, M-1: 1-0-0) cruised to a second-round victory by submission choke of Kyrgyzstan's Erlan Ulukbekov (2-1-0, M-1: 0-1-0), Russian welterweight Akhmed-Khan Ozdoev (1-1-0, M-1: 1-1-0) stopped previously undefeated Ukrainian Andrew Bilyk (4-1-0, M-1: 0-1-0), and Akhmad-Khan Bokov (2-0-0, M-1: 2-0-0) submitted Elmar Mamedov (2-1-0, M-1: 1-1-0) in the first round of a battle of Russian featherweights.

M1 MMA Promotions

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WEIGH IN ALERT!

OFFICIAL BELLATOR 168 WEIGHTS

Beltran V Sakara

Following weigh-ins on Friday morning from Grand Hotel Mediterraneo in the capital city of Tuscany, all 10 competitors fighting during the main card of "Bellator 168: Sakara vs. Beltran" are now ready to compete tomorrow night at 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT, LIVE and FREE on SPIKE.

The mixed martial arts portion of action is headlined by a light heavyweight main event contest featuring Italy's own Alessio Sakara (18-11, 2 NC), who will take on Joey Beltran (17-13, 1 NC). In addition, John Salter (12-3) meets Claudio Annicchiarico (1-4) in a middleweight bout, Philipe Lins (10-1) competes against Kleber Raimundo Silva (12-7), Goiti Yamauchi (20-3) returns to lightweight action against Valeriu Mircea (12-3), and Ed Ruth (1-0) looks to remain undefeated in 2016 on short notice against Emanuele Palombi (5-2)

Joey Beltran (205.2) vs. Alessio Sakara (203.6)

Kleber Raimundo Silva (205.9) vs. Philipe Lins (205.8)

Claudio Annicchiarico (185.2) vs. John Salter (185.2)

Valeriu Mircea (154.5) vs. Goiti Yamauchi (156)

Ed Ruth (189.2) vs. Emanuele Palombi (187.2)

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Invicta FC 21!

Four More Bouts Added

Invicta Fighting Championships has announced four new match-ups for Invicta FC 21: Anderson vs. Tweet. The historic Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Mo. once again hosts the leader in women's mixed martial arts for the organization's first event of the new year on Saturday, Jan. 14.

Swedish bantamweight Pannie "Sexy Scramble" Kianzad (8-1) returns to the Invicta cage to take on Hawaii's Raquel "Lionheart" Pa'aluhi (5-5).

Kianzad bounces back after facing Invicta FC bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger at Invicta FC 14 last year. Pa'aluhi has won three of her last four bouts, including victories over seasoned bantamweight Ediane Gomes and Kaitlin Young.

Also at bantamweight, undefeated prospect Aspen Ladd (4-0) meets grappling ace Sijara "Sarj" Eubanks (2-1).

The 21-year-old Ladd has picked up wins over Jessica Hoy and Kelly McGill since moving to bantamweight. Eubanks, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, has displayed her striking since turning pro, earning her second career victory via first-round TKO in July over Amberlynn Orr.

Invicta FC veterans DeAnna "The Argentine Assassin" Bennett (8-2) and Jodie Esquibel (5-2) square off at strawweight. Bennett is coming off a back-and-forth battle with flyweight contender Roxanne Modafferi in March, while Esquibel headlined Invicta FC 18 against Alexa Grasso in July.

Two recently signed flyweights will make their professional mixed martial arts debuts when boxing world champion Heather "The Heat" Hardy (18-0 as a boxer) faces fellow newcomer Brieta "Tank Girl" Carpenter (8-2 as an amateur).

Hardy currently holds the WBC international female featherweight and super bantamweight titles. Carpenter signed with the promotion following a 10-second knockout in her most recent amateur outing.

The main event of Invicta FC 21 pits 26-year-old featherweight contender Megan Anderson (7-2) up against Canadian veteran Charmaine "Not So Sweet" Tweet (9-5).

Invicta FC 21: Anderson vs. Tweet will stream live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS and a current fight card can be found below:

Featherweight: Megan Anderson (7-2) vs. Charmaine Tweet (9-5)

Bantamweight: Pannie Kianzad (8-1) vs. Raquel Pa'aluhi (5-5)

Strawweight: DeAnna Bennett (8-2) vs. Jodie Esquibel (5-2)

Bantamweight: Aspen Ladd (4-0) vs. Sijara Eubanks (2-1)

Flyweight: Heather Hardy (0-0) vs. Brieta Carpenter (0-0)

Tickets for Invicta FC 21 go on sale this Saturday, Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. CT via Ticketfly.com.

Invicta MMA Promotions

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GEORGI KARAKHANYAN V EMMANUEL SANCHEZ!

BELLATOR 170

GEORGI KARAKHANYAN V EMMANUEL SANCHEZ

A featherweight showdown pitting Georgi Karakhanyan (26-6-1) against Emmanuel Sanchez (13-3) has been added to the main card of “Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen” on January 21, 2017 inside The Forum in Los Angeles, Calif.

Tickets for this monumental event start at $36 and are on sale now at Bellator.com, as well as Ticketmaster.com. Additional bouts will be announced in the coming weeks.

Karakhanyan delivered one of the most spectacular performances of his 10-year career at “Bellator 160: Henderson vs. Pitbull,” when he knocked out Bubba Jenkins just 53 seconds into the contest. Karakhanyan then followed that victory up with another early stoppage, ending Kirill Medvedovsky’s evening via TKO just 3:40 into the first frame at “Bellator 164: Koreshkov vs. Lima 2.” With 20 of his 26 career wins coming by way of stoppage, “Insane” looks to add to that total and finish “El Matador,” something nobody has been able to accomplish.

Watch Georgi Karakhanyan stop Bubba Jenkins at “Bellator 160”

“El Matador” will be making his eighth appearance under the Bellator MMA banner, a promotion with which the 26-year-old has had much success to date. A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he trains at the famed Roufusport gym, Sanchez is riding a recent string of success, having won nine of his last 11 contests, including three of the past four. Six of Sanchez’s 13 career victories have come by way of knockout or submission, with five of the finishes ending in the opening frame. Sanchez was supposed to compete against A.J. McKee at “Bellator 167: Caldwell vs. Taimanglo 2,” but was forced out of the bout after suffering multiple muscle strains during training. Since signing with Bellator MMA, “El Matador” has competed against a who’s who of talent, facing names the likes of: Pat Curran, Justin Lawrence, Henry Corrales, and Daniel Weichel.

Watch Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Henry Corrales at “Bellator 143”

The fight joins a main card that is headlined by a legendary clash between veterans Tito Ortiz (18-12-1) and Chael Sonnen (28-14-1). In addition, Ralek Gracie (3-0) against Hisaki Kato (7-2) will also be featured on the main card, as will what promises to be an absolute slugfest, when Paul Daley (38-14-2) meets Brennan Ward (14-4). The event will be broadcast live and free on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com and the Bellator Mobile App.

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ED RUTH!

JOINS BELLATOR 168 CARD

ED RUTH

It was announced today that one of MMA’s hottest prospects, Ed Ruth (1-0), will waste no time continuing to build his resume, as he fights Emanuele Palombi (5-2) for his second fight in as many months. The bout takes place this Friday at “Bellator 168: Sakara vs. Beltran,” on Dec. 10 from the Mandela Forum in Florence and will air LIVE and FREE on SPIKE at 4pm ET/PT.

At only 26 years old, Ruth is looking to pave the way for the other members of “The New Breed,” a group of highly accomplished wrestlers who have all signed to fight under the Bellator MMA banner including: Joey Davis (1-0), Tyrell Fortune (1-0), Jarod Trice (1-0) as well as Aaron Pico and Romero Cotton – the last of which have yet to make their highly anticipated professional debuts. Before he was a three-time National Champion and four-time All-American wrestler at Penn State University, Ruth attended the world-renown Blair Academy in Susquehanna Township, PA, where he was the top-ranked recruit in the nation for his weight class. Having achieved great success at every stage of competition throughout his life, Ruth aspires to have the Bellator middleweight gold around his waist before long. After making the move across the country to Fresno, Calif., where he now trains at Dethrone Basecamp with other Bellator MMA fighters like Josh Koscheck and Chris Honeycutt, Ruth made his professional MMA debut just last month on Nov. 4, when he finished Dustin Collins-Miles with strikes at 3:19 into the first round.

Ruth now faces Rome’s Palombi, a seven-fight veteran with five victories including three KO’s and one submission. Ruth, who is taking the fight on less than a week’s notice, must quickly learn how to tune out a hometown crowd, who will certainly be heavily in favor of the Italian fighter.

The evening is highlighted by a main event featuring Italy’s most renowned mixed martial artist Alessio Sakara (18-11, 2 NC), who will duke it out with Joey “The Mexicutioner” Beltran (17-13, 1 NC) in a light heavyweight main event. Other Bellator MMA competitors will also be in action, including John Salter (12-3), Goiti Yamauchi (31-9) and Philipe Lins (10-1).

The Bellator Kickboxing brand will also be on display in Italy with a card that features a female flyweight rematch between Denise Kielholtz (45-3) and Gloria Peritore (11-1-1), but this time, a world title will be on the line. “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence” will also include a lightweight clash between Giorgio Petrosyan (82-2-2, 1 NC) and British kickboxing champion Jordan Watson (48-11-2), a middleweight matchup pitting Joe Schilling (19-9) against Victorio Lermano (30-7), a welterweight contest pairing Luca Novello (22-4-2) with Karim Ghajji (96-13-1), and Kevin Ross (31-9) will meet Alessio Arduini (26-14-2) in a lightweight fight. “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence” airs Friday, Dec. 16 at 11:15 pm ET, immediately following “Bellator 169: King Mo vs. Ishii.”

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Rashid Yusupov V Stephan Puetz!

M-1 Challenge 74

Rashid Yusupov V Stephan Puetz

M-1 Global has announced a blockbuster match-up to kick-off its 2017 season as undefeated M-1 Challenge light heavyweight champion Rashid Yusupov takes on former titlist Stephan "T-800" Puetz in the M-1 Challenge 74 main event, February 18, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

M-1 Challenge 74 will be streamed live from St. Petersburg in high definition on www.M1Global.TV. Viewers will be able to watch the preliminary fights and main card by logging on to register at www.M1Global.TV. Fans may watch all of the action on their computers, as well as on Android and Apple smart phones and tablets.

The 24-year-old Yusupov (6-0-0, M-1: 4-0-0), fighting out of Dagestan, Russia, will be making his first title defense having captured his coveted belt this past May at M-1 Challenge 66, by way of a 5-round unanimous decision over defending champion Viktor Nemkov.

Yusupov (2 KO/TKO, 1 SUB), representing Gorets fight club (Highlander), has three other victories in M-1 Challenge competition over Martin Zawada (DEC3), Mitry Madvedev (KO/TKO1 - Punch) and Charles Andrade (DEC3).

Puetz, 29, has won six of seven M-1 Challenge fights going into fifth title fight. The talented German (5 KO/TKO, 5 SUB) from Team Spirit burst upon the M-1 Global scene 2 ½ years ago, at M-1 Challenge 46, when he challenged M-1 Challenge light heavyweight champion Nemkov that ended in a 5-round split decision in favor of the new champion, Puetz.

Puetz successfully defended his title, in order, against Luis Fernando (SUB2 - Choke) and Valery Myasnikov (KO2 - Punches), followed with a Super Fight knockout (nose injury) of M-1 Challenge heavyweight champion Marcin Tybura in the third round of their May 2, 2015 non-title fight at M-1 Challenge 72. Puetz then lost his title to Nemkov by way of a 5-round majority decision in the M-1 Challenge 63 Fight of the Night.

To get back into title contention, Puetz won his last two fights against Andrey Seledtsov (DEC3) and Marcus Vinicius (SUB3 - Choke) this past October at M-1 Challenge 71.

M1 MMA Promotions

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Bellator 167!

Official Results

Bellator 167

In the evening’s bantamweight main event, Darrion Caldwell (10-1) redeemed himself with a decisive unanimous decision (30-27 x3) win over Joe Taimanglo (23-7-1). The three-round battle capped off Bellator MMA’s massive doubleheader at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, OK.

With the win, Caldwell improves his record in the Bellator MMA cage to 7-1 and opens the door for a bantamweight world title clash with current division champion Eduardo Dantas. "Dudu," of course, protected his belt just last night with a one-sided affair against Joe Warren in the first night of the promotion’s epic doubleheader.

After the fight, Caldwell and Dantas exchanged words inside the cage, as “The Wolf” announced his desire for the belt: “I look forward to fighting you. It’s been a long time coming.”

It took 15 minutes to determine a winner, but in the end John Teixeira (21-1-2) notched a unanimous decision victory (29-28, 30-27 x2) over Justin Lawrence (9-4) on Saturday night. The Brazilian veteran peppered away with a combination of jabs and kicks that severely damaged Lawrence’s lead leg throughout the bout. “Macapa” continues to dominate the featherweight division, earning victories in nine of his last 10 contests, including one draw. Since joining the Scott Coker-led promotion in 2014, Teixeira has won each of his four fights, maintaining his position among the 145-pound elite.

Following three hard-fought rounds inside WinStar World Casino, Ilima-Lei MacFarlane (5-0) emerged victorious with a (30-27, 29-28 x2) win over Emily Ducote (4-2). McFarlane was able to withstand an early barrage of strikes from Ducote, preserving her unblemished professional mark. “The Ilimanator” relied heavily on her accurate striking, as the 26-year-old Californian landed a remarkable 68% of her punches thrown. For the budding star Ducote, the loss is just her first of the year, following four consecutive victories to begin her campaign.

In the first Spike-televised bout of the evening, Chidi Njokuani (16-4, 1 NC) delivered a brutal first round knockout against Andre Fialho (7-1) that came just 21 seconds into the contest. A flurry of Njokuani punches sent Fialho to the canvas and the 27-year-old took care of the rest. Dating back to 2012, “Chidi Bang Bang” has recorded wins in 11of his last 12 bouts and extends his current winning streak to seven. Of Njokuani’s 16 career victories, 10 have come by way of knockout, making him one of the most feared strikers in the stacked welterweight division. The young Portuguese star Fialho tastes defeat for the first time in his career and will look to redeem himself at the start of the new year.

Preliminary Card Results:

Jarod Trice (1-0) defeated Tommie Britton (0-1) via majority decision (28-28, 30-25, 30-26)

Jonathan Gary (12-7-2) defeated Aaron Roberson (5-5) via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Justin Patterson (8-1) defeated Codale Ford (11-9) via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Fernando Gonzalez (1-0) defeated Chris Hicks (3-9) via knockout at :15 of round one

Bronson St. Romaine (1-0) defeated Joey Soto (0-2) via unanimous decision (28-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Bellator MMA Promotions

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Bellator 166!

Official Results

Bellator 166

Despite receiving a point-deduction for a low kick in the fifth and final round, Eduardo Dantas (19-4) was impeccable on the feet during his rematch with Joe Warren (14-6) at "Bellator 166" on Friday, peppering Warren with jabs for 25-minutes and earning a majority decision (47-47, 49-44, 48-46) in front of a packed house at WinStar Resort and Casino.

With the loss, Warren's bid for a third Bellator MMA title reign ended, as he was unable to secure a takedown throughout the main event bout. "The World's Baddest Man" had never lost a fight that went to the judges' scorecards until Friday, while "Dudu" rectified the defeat he took against Warren at "Bellator 128."

After the fight, Dantas dedicated his victory to the families of those affected by the deadly plane crash suffered by the Chapecoense Soccer Team in Brazil last week. The victory now sets the stage for tomorrow night's "Bellator 167" event, which pits Joe Taimanglo against Darrion Caldwell.

In the evening’s featherweight co-main event, A.J. McKee (6-0) came from behind to defeat Ray Wood (7-3) with a unanimous decision triumph (29-27, 30-25, 30-27). McKee was tested early in the opening round, as Wood landed multiple blows that sent McKee flying to the canvas. However, McKee was able to stay the course and answered the bell, convincingly dominating Wood during the final two frames. Wood becomes just the first of McKee’s six victims to make it out of the first round, forcing the 21-year-old “Mercenary” into his first-ever decision. Fighting out of Long Beach, Calif., McKee proclaimed his desire to compete on the upcoming “Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen” super-card after the win, calling out his previously scheduled opponent Emmanuel Sanchez.

In a night highlighted by a pair of phenomenal bantamweight matchups, Marcos Galvao (18-7-1) was able to squeak out a tightly fought contest with L.C. Davis (23-8), emerging victorious with a split decision win (29-28 x2, 28-29). A 12-fight veteran of Bellator MMA, Galvao earned his eighth victory under the promotion's direction and first of his 2016 campaign. “Loro” seems to be finding his groove, tallying victories in five of his past six contests. For Davis, the loss is just his second since joining the Scott Coker-led promotion in 2014.

In the opening bout of "Bellator 166," Chris Honeycutt (9-1, 1 NC) brought a rowdy Thackerville crowd to their feet throughout the course of a one-sided middleweight affair, defeating Ben Reiter (17-2-1) via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-25 x2). An early knee, coupled with a ruthless combination of blows opened a sizeable gash on the side of Reiter’s head, forcing the 29-year-old New Yorker to take some chances. The win is Honeycutt’s second consecutive victory at 185-pounds, opening the door in what is currently a wide open division. For Reiter, the loss is just the second of his career, the first of which also came at WinStar Resort and Casino.

Bellator MMA Promotions

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2016 World MMA Championship!

Dominated By Russia

World MMA Championship

Team Russia parlayed its recent European Championship domination into a repeat performance at this past weekend's World MMA Championship, by sweeping all seven weight classes in Studio City, Macau, China.

Close to 100 fighters competed, representing 23 countries including Russia, Kazakhstan, Spain, Australia, Belgian, China, Colombia, France, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Tajikistan, Germany, Hungary, Macao, Nepal, India, South Korea, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Chinese Taipei and Italy.

Russian middleweight Gamzat Hiramagomedov and light heavyweight Magomed Ankalayev are repeat world champions.

In team scoring, Asian team champion Kazakhstan won two Silver and four Bronze medals, Ukraine two Silver and two Bronze, Czech Republic one Silver and two Bronze, Chinas one Silver and two Bronze, Kyrgyzstan two Bronze, and one Bronze for France, India, Spain and Moldova.

"I would like to thank each athlete of our National MMA Team, our coaches, doctors and all the Russian MMA Union employees," said MMA living legend Fedor Emelianenko, WMMAA honorary president and president of the Russian MMA Union. "The fighters had a long way, put in a lot of effort, and made it to the top. Despite an ever-growing competition level, our athletes achieved 100-percent of the set goals thanks to a great training camp, fight strategy and their spirit.

"We are proud to have two-time world champions in Magomed Ankalayev and Gamzat Hiramagomedov. It's a pleasure to follow the fighters' personal evolution from fight to fight. The world champions will receive their accolades of Sports Master of International Level."

WMMAA MMA Promotions

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WEIGH IN ALERT!

BELLATOR 166 WEIGHTS

BELLATOR 166

The official weigh-ins for “Bellator 166:Dantas vs. Warren 2” took place this evening inside of the MIST nightclub at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, OK. The competitors are now ready for action tomorrow at the WinStar World Casino, with the event airing LIVE and FREE on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.

The Spike-televised main card is headlined by a bantamweight world title rematch pitting current belt holder Eduardo Dantas (18-4) against “The Baddest Man on the Planet” Joe Warren (14-5). In addition, Ray Wood (7-2) will take a short-notice bout to challenge undefeated prospect A.J. McKee (5-0) in the co-main event. Lastly, Marcos Galvao (17-7-1) and L.C. Davis (23-7) will square off in a bantamweight feature fight, while Chris Honeycutt (8-1, 1 NC) challenges Ben Reiter (17-1-1) in a 195-pound catchweight bout.

“Bellator 166: Dantas vs. Warren 2” takes place at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, OK., and airs live and free Friday on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT., while “Bellator 167: Caldwell vs. Taimanglo 2” airs live and free Saturday on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT. Preliminary bouts for both events will stream live on Bellator.com and The Bellator Mobile App.

Eduardo Dantas (134.6) vs. Joe Warren (133.7)

A.J. McKee (145.8) vs. Ray Wood (145.8)

Marcos Galvao (137.6) vs. L.C. Davis (136)

Chris Honeycutt (194) vs. Ben Reiter (194.1)

Treston Thomison (155.4) vs. Dawond Pickney (159)

Chris Jones (163.7) vs. Derrick Adkins (161.9)

Gregory Babene (185.7) vs. Emiliano Sordi (185.5)

Kinny Spotwood (208) vs. John King (207.7)

Bellator MMA Promotions

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Tonya Evinger & Yana Kunitskaya!

Title Fight Ruled No-Contest By Missouri Office Of Athletics

Invicta Fighting Championships has been informed by the Missouri Office of Athletics that the result of its bantamweight championship bout between Tonya Evinger and Yana Kunitskaya at Invicta FC 20 has been overturned.

Following the event held on Nov. 18 in Kansas City, Evinger filed an appeal with the Missouri Office of Athletics and today the result of that appeal was decided. Ruled on fight night as a submission victory for Kunitskaya, the bout result has now been declared a No-Contest.

As a result, Evinger will remain the Invicta FC bantamweight champion.

Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp added that the promotion is "working on scheduling a potential rematch" of the bantamweight championship bout between Evinger and Kunitskaya as soon as possible.

Invicta MMA Promotions

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GOITI YAMAUCHI V VALERIU MIRCEA!

ADDED TO BELLATOR 168

A lightweight bout pitting Goiti Yamauchi (20-3) against Valeriu Mircea (12-3) completes the MMA portion of “Bellator 168: Carvalho vs. Manhoef 2,” on a night which will feature both Bellator MMA and Bellator Kickboxing brands inside the Mandela Forum in Florence.

In addition, due to an injury suffered by Pietro Cappelli, Philipe Lins (10-1) will now meet Kleber Raimundo Silva (12-7) in light heavyweight action on Dec. 10.

The mixed martial arts portion of action on Dec. 10is headlined by a middleweight world title fight featuring a rematch between Rafael Carvalho (13-1) and Melvin Manhoef (30-13-1, 2 NC), while Italy’s own Alessio Sakara (18-11, 2 NC) will take on Joey Beltran (17-13, 1 NC) at 205-pounds, and John Salter (12-3) meets Claudio Annicchiarico (1-4) in a middleweight bout. “Bellator 168: Carvalho vs. Manhoef 2” will air LIVE and FREE on SPIKE at 4pm ET/PT.

The Bellator Kickboxing card features a female flyweight rematch between Denise Kielholtz (45-3) and Gloria Peritore (11-1-1), but this time, a world title will be on the line. “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence” will also feature a lightweight clash between Giorgio Petrosyan (82-2-2, 1 NC) and British kickboxing champion Jordan Watson (48-11-2), a middleweight matchup pitting Joe Schilling (19-9) against Victorio Lermano (30-7), a welterweight contest pairing Luca Novello (22-4-2) with Karim Ghajji (96-13-1), and Kevin Ross (31-9) will meet Alessio Arduini (26-14-2) in a lightweight fight. “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence” airs Friday, Dec. 16 at 11:15 pm ET, immediately following “Bellator 169: King Mo vs. Ishii.”

An 8-fight veteran of Bellator MMA, Yamauchi enters the cage in search of his 21st career win and seventh under the Scott Coker-led promotion. You would be hard-pressed to find a fighter with more promise than the 23-year-old top prospect, who has already taken down proven veterans the likes of Martin Stapleton, Isao Kobayashi, and most recently Ryan Couture. The former featherweight returned to the lightweight division to face the aforementioned Couture earlier in the year at “Bellator 162: Shlemenko vs. Grove,” a fight in which Yamauchi dominated from the get-go, earning yet another first round submission victory. Yamauchi has finished his opponent in 17 of his 20 career wins, including 14 in the opening round of action. The Japanese-Brazilian submission specialist continues to make great strides in the sport, consistently displaying the flawless Brazilian jiu-jitsu technique that has given opponents many nightmares year after year.

Challenging Yamauchi will be Valeriu Mircea, a Moldova-born competitor that has also seen a great deal of success early on in his MMA career. The 23-year-old knockout artist will be making his Bellator MMA debut following three consecutive victories, including a pair of first round knockouts. Dating back to 2015, Mircea has collected wins in nine of his last 10 bouts and has already tallied six victories over his 2016 campaign. With three of his last four wins coming by way of first round knockout, you can expect an early array of attack in this pairing of two top prospects.

Taking on Lins will now be Raimundo Silva, a 28-year-old striker who will be making both his 2016 and Bellator MMA debut. Dating back to 2011, “Orgulho” has won seven of his last 11 contests, highlighted by his most recent knockout victory over Claudio Rocha, which came just 3:25 into the first round.

Bellator MMA Promotions

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PAUL DALEY V BRENNAN WARD!

JAN. 21 AT THE FORUM IN LOS ANGELES

PAUL DALEY V BRENNAN WARD

A welterweight showdown pitting Paul Daley (38-14-2) against Brennan Ward (14-4) has been added to the main card of “Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen” on January 21, 2017 inside The Forum in Los Angeles, Calif.

The fight joins a main card that is headlined by a legendary clash between veterans Tito Ortiz (18-12-1) and Chael Sonnen (28-14-1). In addition, Ralek Gracie (3-0) against Hisaki Kato (7-2) will also be featured on the main card. The event will be broadcast live and free on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com and the Bellator Mobile App.

Tickets for this monumental event start at $36 and are on sale now at Bellator.com, as well as Ticketmaster.com. Additional bouts will be announced in the coming weeks.

A 54-fight veteran of MMA Daley will now prepare to take on surging superstar Brennan Ward. A former member of the British Army, the 33-year-old “Semtex” competed for multiple promotions including Strikeforce and UFC before joining the Bellator MMA fray in 2012. Since then, Daley has made five appearances under the direction of the Scott Coker-led promotion, tallying four wins and a trio of fantastic knockouts. Hailing from Nottingham, England, the British phenom has recorded victories in nine of his last 11 bouts, and took current welterweight champion Douglas Lima to the limit in their last meeting. The former Cage Rage Welterweight Champion is known for his ruthless power and innate ability to end fights early, as 30 of his 38 career wins have resulted in a finish.

Ward enters the contest following a brutal knockout blow that he delivered just 1:26 into his bout with Saad Awad at “Bellator 163: McGeary vs. Davis.” The win was Ward’s ninth under the direction of Bellator MMA and fifth of his last six fights, dating back to 2015. A native of New London, Conn., “Irish” Ward seems to always deliver in front of his hometown fans at Mohegan Sun Arena, collecting five victories inside the venue, including four knockouts. Now, Ward takes his talents out West. The former NCAA All-American is widely regarded as one of the most feared brawlers in the welterweight division, as the 28-year-old has finished his opponent in 13 of his 14 career victories. Ward is now slated to tangle with another feared striker in Daley in a bout that hardcore fight fans won’t want to miss.

Bellator MMA Promotions

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Megan Anderson V Charmaine Tweet!

Invicta FC 21

Invicta Fighting Championships begins its 2017 season at home. Historic Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Mo. once again hosts the leader in women's mixed martial arts, serving as the site of Invicta FC 21 on Saturday, Jan. 14.

Announced during the broadcast of Invicta FC 20 (available to watch any time via UFC FIGHT PASS) on Saturday, 26-year-old featherweight prospect Megan Anderson (7-2) will face Canadian veteran Charmaine "Not So Sweet" Tweet (9-5) in the main event of Invicta FC 21.

Anderson, a native of Australia's Gold Coast, now calls the Kansas City metro area home, training out of Glory MMA & Fitness in Lee's Summit, Mo. She enters the bout on a three-fight winning streak, all three coming by way of knockout.

Tweet, also having won three-in-a-row, last competed at Invicta FC 17 in May, impressively knocking out then-undefeated Latoya Walker via spinning backfist.

Recently signed boxing world champion Heather "The Heat" Hardy will make her professional mixed martial arts debut at Invicta FC 21 in a flyweight contest.

The Brooklyn-born Hardy enters the cage with an unblemished record of 18-0 inside the boxing ring and currently holds the WBC international female featherweight and super bantamweight titles.

Additional bouts and ticketing information for Invicta FC 21, which streams live and exclusively via UFC FIGHT PASS on Saturday, Jan. 14, will be announced shortly.

Invicta MMA Promotions

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