UFC TUF China Finale / Fight Night 37 Preview

Print

Saturday 1st March, Macau, China

Despite the likelihood that almost nobody in the Western World watched TUF China or can name even one Chinese mixed martial artist off the top of their head (no, Cung Le is Vietnamese) this is actually quite a tidy little card, and the fact that it’s showing during the middle of the day in the UK (yes, I paid for Fight Pass) makes a nice change.

Headlining the event is Korea’s Dong Hyun Kim (18-2-1) who has rallied from a 1-2 streak in 2011-12 to assemble a 3-0 run over some quality opposition and reassert himself as a challenger in the UFC’s welterweight division.

Always extremely durable and a stifling grappler, ‘Stun Gun’ showed his striking power in his knockout victory of Erick Silva back in October. Almost impossible to finish, hard to score points against and only too happy to embrace the grind, Kim is a real challenger for anyone at 170lbs.

I guess that counts double if you’ve been inactive for almost a year and a half like his opponent John Hathaway (17-1) has been.

Despite the layoff, Hathaway is also riding a 3-0 streak for a total UFC record of 7-1 with the only blemish coming against the ever-game Mike Pyle back in 2010.

Atypically for a British fighter, Hathaway is a noted grappler with some explosive takedowns and perfectly capable of grinding out decision victories – in fact he’s not been involved in a stoppage since his UFC debut against the outmatched Tom Egan in 2009.

As such, these two fighters make for an interesting battle with neither with a glaring advantage in any area and the probability of their grappling cancelling out means it could be surprisingly entertaining. The winner will have the second best active streak in the division, and that kind of thing counts for a lot.

With one of the TUF tournament finals scrapped, we are left with Wang Sai (6-4-1) vs. Lipeng Zhang (6-7-1) as the real attraction for the local fans. Sai has the better record, more international experience and is the larger fighter, so I’ve got to pick him as the winner here.

Also on the main card we have heavy hitting heavyweights Shawn Jordan (15-5) and Matt Mitrione (6-3), and a pair of exceedingly technical lighter weight matches as Hatsu Hioki (26-7-2) and Ivan Menjivar (25-11) at featherweight and Nam Phan (18-12) and Vaughan Lee (13-9-1) at bantamweight. Neither of those matches are going to suck, I guarantee you that.

The pick of the undercard matches is Zak Cummings (16-3) against the undefeated Alberto Mina (10-0) with Cummings riding a three fight win streak and promotional debutant Mina having never even gone the distance in his perfect career to date.

Main card
8am EST / 1pm GMT on Fight Pass, 9.45pm on BT Sport

John Hathaway vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Zhang Lipeng vs. Wang Sai – “TUF: China” welterweight tourney final
Shawn Jordan vs. Matt Mitrione
Vaughan Lee vs. Nam Phan
Hatsu Hioki vs. Ivan Menjivar

Preliminary Card
UFC Fight Pass, 6:15 am EST / 11.15 am GMT

Yui Chul Nam vs. Kazuki Tokudome
Zak Cummings vs. Alberto Mina
Albert Cheng vs. Anying Wang
Mark Eddiva vs. Jumabieke Tuerxun

Advertisements

Cage Warriors 65 – Maguire vs. Rogers Preview

65_News_Main

Saturday 1st March, Dublin, Ireland

CWFC return to Dublin for the first time in 2014 with a card that is packed with fun fights, even if it lacks the title bouts we’ve come to expect from CWFC’s outings at the Helix.

Topping the card is UFC veteran John Maguire (19-6) looking to build on his December victory over Phillip Mulpeter and put himself in line for a shot at the CWFC Lightweight title.

Standing in his way is a fighter who gets his submission victories by stunning opponents on the feet first, Saul Rogers (7-1) who is also looking to build on a victory, in his case over Jason Colledge way back in June.

Maguire has the clear edge in experience, but both guys are exciting fighters, especially when their ground games come into play and this should be a compelling fight, with the victor surely very much in the conversation for a crack at Ivan Buchinger’s 155lb belt.

The co-main event sees CWFC mainstay Jack Mason (26-12) welcome Australian UFC alumnus Benny Alloway (12-5) to the Cage Warriors. Both well rounded and experienced fighters, Mason has home field advantage (well as much as an Englishman can have in Ireland) and form on his side, but Alloway surely has something to prove following his losing streak and release from the UFC.

Rounding off the main card are two excellent candidates for fight of the night with Alex Enlund (9-2) vs. Artem Lobov (8-7) and Bryan Creighton (5-1) vs. Damien Rooney (9-3-1) both sure to be fast paced, technical affairs.

Throw in a bundle of CWFC regulars, some new names (to me at least) that must have impressed Ian Dean somehow, another women’s match featuring Ireland’s Catherine Costigan (3-0) vs. Irene Cabello (1-1) and the ever-hot Dublin crowd and this promises to be a top night of MMA.

I’d like to point out that CWFC’s previous card currently stands as my favourite event of the year so far, edging out several UFC events, so I urge you to check it out via the outlets below, depending on where you are in the world.

Live Streaming

MMAjunkie.com | USA and Canada only
http://www.IrishMMA.tv | Ireland only
Viaplay | Scandinavia only
CageWarriors.tv | Rest of the world (excluding the UK)

Live TV

Premier Sports | United Kingdom
Setanta Sports 1 | Ireland (free-to-air; no Setanta subscription required)
Fight Now TV | USA
The Fight Network | Canada, Belgium, Portugal, Turkey, Middle East
Fight Klub | Poland
TV3 Sport, Sport 2 | Denmark
Setanta Action | Africa
ESPN | Oceania, Caribbean

Main Card

John Maguire vs. Saul Rogers
Ben Alloway vs. Jack Mason
Alex Enlund vs. Artem Lobov
Bryan Creighton vs. Damien Rooney
Damien Brown vs. Paul Redmond
Aldric Cassata vs. Philip Mulpeter

Facebook Prelims

Lee Caers vs. Merv Mulholland
Irene Cabello vs. Catherine Costigan
Paddy Pimblett vs. Martin Sheridan

Unaired Prelims

Shane Gunfield vs. Konrad Iwanowski
Gavin Kelly vs. Neil Ward

Rousey vs. Cyborg – The Road to Judgement

1653279_793918273957279_1287907912_n

Between Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino announcing on Friday that she intends to drop to 135lbs and retire Ronda Rousey and the UFC champion retaining her belt on Saturday only to be faced with a diminishing list of fresh contenders, it seems like the Rousey-Cyborg fight that has been teased on and off for two years could have found it’s moment.

However, there are quite a few obstacles in the way and a few questions to answer.

Firstly, how does this go down?

Well, it seems the first steps would happen in Invicta FC as Dana White has already said that Cyborg would need to prove she can make the weight and win before the UFC would even look at her.

Cyborg herself said her first goal would be to win the Invicta 135lb belt and a bout between her and Lauren Murphy would certainly be one of the most compelling Bantamweight bouts Invicta could put on at this time. Let’s say that could happen in three or four months, so by the end of June.

With White saying she’d need to make the weight ‘a couple of times elsewhere’ Cyborg might need to defend that belt in Invicta (should she win it, of course) before a date could be set for Rousey.

Therefore a defence in September or October against someone like (thinking of top 135lbers not under UFC contract) Rin Nakai, Tonya Evinger or Carina Damm could be a likely destination.

Assuming weight was made, the fights won and the likely drug tests passed (we’ll come back to that) the way would be (injury-permitting) clear for a December clash with Rousey.

Of course, Rousey has a waiting list of UFC challengers in the meantime. With White saying she’ll likely fight three times in 2014, a rough timeframe of a mid-summer defence and a match in December sounds feasible.

At the moment, the mid-summer defence is likely to be against Cat Zingano if she is recovered from injury and personal tragedy in time and if she is not, then Alexis Davis is riding a 3-0 streak in the UFC (5-0 in total) and would be a worthy contender.

Thereby, if Cyborg surmounts all the obstacles (and Rousey wins her summer defence) she would be in pole position for the December shot at Rousey and if she stumbles along the way, either Zingano, Davis or whoever else puts a steak together in the division could ably fill in, so it’s not like these plans require the UFC to do much more than pick a contender in December as the timescales all line up.

One major obstacle to all such supposition is the concept that deals may not be brokered between the UFC and either Invicta or Cyborg’s management to make all this happen.

However, it’s well known that relations between Invicta and the UFC are cordial and that now Cyborg has parted ways with Tito Ortiz (who as we all know is NOT Dana White’s favourite person) the chances of a deal are much higher.

So that’s the how dealt with, the second is the probably thornier question of SHOULD this happen.

A lot of folks get a lot of mileage out of the fact that Cyborg had failed a drugs test in the past and have intimated that she should never get a chance to compete in the UFC with this in her history.

Can I just say… Josh Barnett, Alistair Overeem, Vitor Belfort, Rafael Cavalcante, Dennis Hallman, Chris Leben, Nate Marquardt, Rousimar Palhares, Sean Sherk, Antonio Silva, Tim Sylvia and Thiago Alves all got shots / were allowed back in the UFC after failing tests for steroids.

Is Cyborg any different, just cause she’s a girl?

I come down pretty hard against the use of PEDS but it’s a sad truth that they have been a fact of life in this sport for the longest time.

I’m all in favour of lengthy bans, stripped titles etc. but once you’ve served your time and are passing all the tests, you should have the chance to work your way back up the ladder… especially when the bout in question is clearly the biggest match possible for the division, perhaps even your entire gender in the sport.

That’s what Rousey-Cyborg is. In the still developing arena that is WMMA it’s what GSP-Silva would have been if it had happened in 2012.

In the scenario we’ve set out, Ronda would be 10-0 with only one or two fresh contenders aside from Cyborg in her weight class, while Cyborg would be 14-1, 1NC with the sole loss coming in her first match

If you can make that match, if deals can be brokered and drugs tests passed then it just NEEDS to happen.

Lastly, how does it play out on the night?

Rousey’s well documented judo skills and near infallible armbar are almost beyond discussion at this point as so many words have been dedicated to them, but her developing striking, first in evidence against Miesha Tate and more to the fore in her first ever win via striking against Sara McMann shows her evolution as a mixed martial artist.

Cyborg is best known as a muay thai wrecking machine in the greatest tradition of Chute Boxe. Like Wanderlei Silva in his prime, her highlight reel is full of examples of her overwhelming her opponents with the volume, variety and power of her strikes.

However, she is also a decorated jiujitsu practitioner with a brown belt under Andre Galvao and several medals at prestigious international tournaments.

This is NOT textbook grappler vs. striker match, as both girls surely have something for the other in all areas, even if the greatest advantages are clear.

Cyborg has the advantage in sheer size, while Rousey might have an advantage in speed & cardio, especially if the cut proves hard on Cyborg.

Not knowing how the weight cut will affect Cyborg, it’s really a tough one to call…

We’ll see all this unfold one way or another over the next ten months, but I’m sure we can all agree that this is a fight that we all want to see.

Heres hoping that it does come to pass, but should something get in the way let’s just hope it’s in a positive fashion via a shock defeat of one of our stars by Cat Zingano, Lauren Murphy or Alexis Davis rather than in a negative way via a failed drugs test or the intransigence of the UFC or Cyborg’s management.

C’mon Dana, make Rousey vs. Cyborg for the year end show, UFC 182 in Vegas. There’s money in it for you…

 

The Good, the Bad & The Ugly – UFC 170: Rousey vs. McMann Edition

rousey-knee

The Good –

The Evolution of Ronda Rousey, where once she was all about bull rushing opponents, going for an undertook, a judo toss and an arm bar, we saw a Rousey which is confident and effective in the standup game. We also saw a Ronda who rather than just using a tried & tested formula and adjusting it for opponents counters on the fly, studied an opponent’s style and formulated a strategy which might not have been expected and proved very effective.

Rousey, undefeated and quickly cleaning out her division is only getting better. Thats a bit scary.

Big performances and wins for Stephen Thompson, Rory MacDonald, Raphael Assuncao, Mike Pyle and Alexis Davis with three of that five arguably in the #1 contender slot in their division now.

Thompson vs. Pyle wouldn’t be a bad shout for a future Welterweight outing, either.

The Bad –

Demian Maia gassing in the second round against Rory MacDonald having dominated the first. With Maia reduced to increasingly desperate takedown attempts and hamfisted strikes, seemingly unable to counter MacDonald’s movement and striking this went from a compelling and competitive match to an exhibition for the Canadian.

The one-sidedness of Daniel Cormier vs. Pat Cummins was not exactly unexpected but in the end didn’t do either man or the event as a whole any favours.  It was undoubtedly better than just pulling Cormier from the card and I suppose it gave Cummins a great opportunity, but…meh.

The Ugly –

The controversy and criticism of the stoppages of Ronda Rousey’s and Mike Pyle’s fights, with Herb Dean taking flak for a late stoppage and an early stoppage.

Sure, Pyle could have been called off Waldburger a fraction of a second earlier and McMann could have been given another second to recover from Ronda’s body shot, but looking at replays, I’m inclined to think both stoppages were good.

Firstly, replays show that much of Pyle’s first blows to Waldburger were blocked or missed and once he connected with a few solidly, the match was ended. That’s good reffing.

Secondly, while the live broadcast showed a sudden stoppage that came for little reason in the headliner, it’s worth noting that Herb was actually in the line of the action (as Neil Hall recently said, an experienced referee always chooses the best angle, meaning whatever angle you’re watching the fight from is at the second from optimum at best) and other angles showed McMann getting pasted against the fence and then crumple from the knee.

Sure, it looked like she got up as soon as she hit the ground and was grabbing at Ronda’s leg, but that was after Herb has started to step in and Ronda was already turning away celebrating.

Could she have grabbed a single, survived and then anything could have happened? Yes. Is it vastly more likely that Ronda punched her in the face a half dozen times and we’d be complaining about a late stoppage? Yes.

As a fan, I could happily have seen the fight go longer – it’s always anticlimactic when a main event ends so quickly and suddenly but as a human being, I’d rather than a prone and hurt fighter didn’t take unnecessary damage and incur a significantly higher chance of concussion and future brain injury.

It seems to me that people get extra pissed when a slightly fast stoppage comes in a main event / title fight / or when it goes against who they wanted to win (I’ll maybe explore that idea another time) but fighter safety should come ahead of all such considerations.

Never mind who the UFC gave bonuses to, we think that cheques should have gone to…

Fight of the Night

Alexis Davis vs. Jessica Eye – close, entertaining and significant.

Performance of the Night

#1 – Alexis Davis – who deserved better than a split decision against Eye and really showed off her well rounded skills against a dangerous and faster opponent.

#2 – Stephen Thompson – We rate Robert Whittaker pretty highly and Thompson absolutely took him apart en route to the first round knockout win. That takes some doing.

MAIN

• Ronda Rousey def. Sara McMann via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:06 – to retain women’s bantamweight title
• Daniel Cormier def. Patrick Cummins via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:19
• Rory MacDonald def. Demian Maia via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
• Mike Pyle def. T.J. Waldburger via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 4:03
• Stephen Thompson def. Robert Whittaker via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:43

PRELIMINARY
• Alexis Davis def. Jessica Eye via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
• Raphael Assuncao def. Pedro Munhoz via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
• Aljamain Sterling def. Cody Gibson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
• Zach Makovsky def. Josh Sampo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Fight Pass
• Erik Koch def. Rafaello Oliveira via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:24
• Ernest Chavez def. Yosdenis Cedeno via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

Split Decision – Alexis Davis vs. Jessica Eye – UFC 170

1297529850208_ORIGINAL

Whenever there’s a contentious or split decision on a UFC card, I’m going to break it down (well, one per card at least) by re watching the fight in the cold light of the next day and also looking at the FightMetric stats to see what the cold numbers indicate.

Not the most controversial effort to start with, but here goes with the preliminary headliner between Alexis Davis and Jessica Eye, which received a split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) from the judges with no two judges agreeing on who won which rounds…

Round One –

Re-Watch – Pretty even for the first half of the round, with Eye seeming the more aggressive, landing harder and with more frequency. Davis comes back in the second half and both girls have periods in control against the cage. Davis scores a takedown with about 30 seconds to go and ends the round elbowing Eye in he head.

Score – leaning 10-9 to Eye until the takedown, would score a draw by preference, probably 10-9 Davis to to the judges.

Stats – Davis out scored Eye by 16 significant strikes to 13 and 36 total strikes to 27, landing a higher percentage and a takedown.
10-9 Davis.

Round Two

Re-Watch – Davis starts the more aggressive with Eye circling intelligently until Davis scores a takedown and ends up in half guard. Davis stays solidly on top and starts working for a kimura, all the while peppering Eye with shots. Eye tries to escape but Davis is heavy and ends the round part in half guard, partway to taking Eye’s back

Score – 10-9 Davis, all day.

Stats – Eye landed more significant strikes by 7 to 6 and while landing with a higher percentage of her strikes thrown the fact that Davis handed 44 total strikes to 15, along with the takedown gives her the round.

Round Three –

Re-Watch – Cat & mouse on the feet with both girls landing some. Nice blows landed by both but the exchange settles into Eye circling and trying to get in from the outside with Davis scoring with jabs before Eye stuffs a takedown. The action picks up towards the end but without a significant advantage either way.

Score – Again, I’d probably score this a draw but if pushed, I’d go for Alexis Davis as it seemed she landed more often.

Stats – Alexis landed more strikes, more significant strikes and a higher percentage of striker thrown in this round and as such should get a 10-9.

Verdict –

On re watching, the first round is up in the air and the third is either a draw or a narrow win for Davis, while the second was all Alexis. That gives me a range of acceptable scores anything from a 29-29 draw (with Eye taking the first and the third being drawn) to 30-27 (all three rounds to Davis.)

The stats indicate a clear three round victory for Davis however.

In balance, I can’t really see where any judge scored that for Jessica Eye who was beaten by a larger and better rounded opponent on the night.

MMA is Not a Uniform Sort of Sport

7278-1
Last week we heard that the UFC is planning to produce a standardised uniform for it’s fighters, with corporate UFC sponsors front & centre and some spaces for fighters own sponsors.

I think this is a disastrous idea.

For a start, MMA is a sport which thrives on fan attachment to individual fighters and making them all look overly similar in terms of apparel is not going to help with building stars or differentiating between undercard fighter A or undercard fighter B. Unless of course they have default red/blue uniforms for the fighters assigned to each corner.

What is this, the Olympics?

Secondly, it would annihilate much of the existing MMA sponsorship and apparel market, ending the concept of the ‘walk out shirt’ as something fans can buy and wear in public with pride.

I personally like the variety of walkout shirts, from the self printed ones that look like they should belong on a Formula One driver, with half a dozen sponsor, to the generic Tapout, Fear the Fighter & Hayabusa ones to the fighter specific and wildly varying in aesthetic quality efforts from Affliction, Dethrone etc.

Will such companies still be as interested in MMA if their brand only appears as a name on an otherwise generic shirt or when a fighter is giving interviews/weighing in? A litany of companies have already pulled out of the industry due to saying that sponsorship etc. just isn’t worth it.

Apart from that, would the company who gets to make the generic shirts be happy with direct competitors advertising on their billboard?

I appreciate that this idea makes sense to the UFC, giving them even more control over sponsorships and maybe even some sales of the ‘official UFC walkout shirt’ to fans who have very much sunk down the cool-aid.

The concept that the UFC are being entirely altruistic here and trying to stop fighters getting ripped off via rubbish sponsorship just doesn’t wash with me.

It’s an obvious grab for control and cash, reducing fighters to corporate billboards and throwing away some of the character of the company in favour of a more cohesive look and possibly appealing to some bigger companies.

The bottom line is that uniforms are for team sports, while individual style and preference plays a great part in the promotion of solo sports.

Whether I’m going to an event or watching on TV, it’s part of my routine to look out a shirt that is pertinent to the event, be it a generic shirt, or if I happen to have one repping a fighter or team involved on the night. Uniforms would kinda ruin that.

Sometimes, we’re a bit self conscious and almost apologetic about MMA brands, as if wearing them is shameful or tasteless – sure, not all shirts are aesthetically pleasing (to me at least) and it’s not as if I’d wear an Affliction shirt to a job interview or a wedding, but if I buy an MMA shirt, it’s because I like the design and I want to wear my affection for the sport and loyalty to a particular fighter or camp on my chest.

The UFC should back away from this idea and keep intact some of the anarchic individuality that makes MMA the spectacle and emotive sport that it is.

So let’s continue to allow fighters to wear godawful t-shirts if it pleases them, let’s allow some fighters to wear board shorts, some to wear those super tight vale tudo shorts, let’s have some come out looking like a billboard and some come out wearing their favourite band’s current top.

Let’s keep the idea of signature shirts alive, let’s maintain a very MMA specific industry, rather than selling it our for corporate control and all those little companies being washed away by one big contract for Nike or whoever.

KUMITE European MMA Rankings, February 2014

20131129-214653.jpg

A few significant cards on show with the UFC and Cage Warriors back in action and offerings from M-1 and Cage meaning theres quite a lot of movement this month…

Heavyweight

1- Alistair Overeem (Holland) 37-13 UFC def. Frank Mir 1st February ^5
2- Vitaly Minakov (Russia) 13-0, Bellator v1
3- Andrei Arlovski (Belarus) 21-10, WSOF v1
4- Stefan Struve (Netherlands) 25-6, UFC v1
5- Cheick Kongo (France) 20-8-2, Bellator v1
6- Damian Grabowski (Poland) 19-1, IND
7- Alexander Volkov (Russia) 19-4, Bellator
8- Sergei Kharitonov (Russia) 21-6, IND
9- Alexey Oleinik (Ukraine) 53-9-1, IND
10- Magomed Malikov (Russia) 7-2, M-1

Ubereem returns to the top tanked position following his impressive win over Frank Mir. March promises a few significant fights with Alexander Volkov looking to climb back towards the top against Mark Holata, while Konstantin Erokin, Michal Kita and Blagoi Ivanov all have chances to move towards the top ten.

Light Heavyweight

1- Alexander Gustafsson (Sweden) 15-2, UFC
2- Jimi Manuwa (England) 14-0, UFC
3- Attila Vegh (Slovakia) 29-4-2, Bellator
4- Mikhail Zayats (Russia) 22-7, Bellator
5- Jan Blachowicz (Poland) 17-3, KSW ^1
6- Victor Nemkov (Russia) 19-4, M-1 ^1
7- Linton Vassell (England) 12-3, Bellator ^1
8- Jason Jones (Netherlands) 20-10, BAMMA ^1
9- Cyrille Diabate (France) 19-9, UFC ^1
10- Ilir Latifi (Sweden) 7-3 UFC NR

The only movement this month sees Gegard Mousasi move to Middleweight, allowing Ilir Latifi into the top ten. March will be a huge month for this division with four ranked fighters competing at UFC London and Attila Vegh defending his Bellator title against Emanuele Newton while Mikhail Zayats faces King Mo on Friday.

Middleweight

1- Michael Bisping (England) 24-5, UFC
2- Mamed Khalidov (Poland) 28-4-2, KSW
3- Alexander Shlemenko (Russia) 49-7 IND ^1
4- Gegard Mousasi (Armenia) 34-4-2 UFC NR – comes down from Middleweight – lost to Lyoto Machida 15th February
5- Frances Carmont (France) 22-8, UFC v2 lost to Ronaldo Souza on 15th February
6 – Luke Barnatt (England) 7-0 UFC v1
7 – Vyacheslav Vasilevsky (Russia) 23-2 M-1 v1
8 – Michal Materla (Poland) 19-4 KSW v1
9 – Tom Watson (England) 16-6 UFC v1
10 – Ramazan Emeev (Azerbaijan) 11-2 M-1 v1

All the movement comes from Carmont’s loss to Jacare and Mousasi being back in the division. Faycal Hucin drops out due to Mousasi’s arrival and March sees Shlemenko, Barnatt, Materla and contenders Tomas Drwal and Mats Nilsson in action so a lot can change.

Welterweight

1- Tarec Saffiedine (Belgium) 15-3, UFC
2- Gunnar Nelson (Iceland) 11-0-1, UFC ^1
3- Cathal Pendred (Ireland) 13-2-1, Cage Warriors ^1
4- Nicholas Musoke (Sweden) 12-2 UFC NR – def. Viscardi Andrade on 15th February
5- Adlan Amagov (Russia) 13-2-1, UFC
6- Gael Grimaud (France) 19-6, Cage Warriors
7- Nicolas Dalby (Denmark) 11-0 Cage Warriors
8 – Paul Daley (England) 34-12-2 BAMMA
9 – Jim Wallhead (England) 25-8, BAMMA
10 – Aslambek Saidov (Poland) 15-3 KSW

I’ve unranked Martin Kampmann due to his self imposed hiatus, with his place taken by Niko Musoke after his impressive away victory on the recent UFC card in Brasil.

Lightweight

1- Khabib Nurmagomedov (Russia) 21-0, UFC
2- Rustam Khabilov (Russia) 17-1, UFC
3- Alexander Sarnavskiy (Russia) 26-2 IND
4- Ross Pearson (England) 15-6, UFC
5- Musa Khamanaev (Russia) 13-3, M-1
6- Norman Parke (Northern Ireland) 19-2 UFC
7- Ivan Buchinger (Slovakia) 25-4 Cage Warriors
8- Piotr Hallmann (Poland) 14-2 UFC
9- Mansour Barnaoui (France) 11-2 BAMMA
10- Ramazan Esenbaev (Russia) 6-1 IND

Slow month for the division, but March sees Mairbek Taisumov, Marcin Held and Daniel Weichel with opportunities to climb the ladder.

Featherweight

1- Dennis Siver (Germany) 22-9, UFC
2- Conor McGregor (Ireland) 14-2, 10-1 UFC
3 – Tom Niinimaki (Finland) 21-5-1 UFC
4- Magomedrasul Khasbulaev (Russia) 21-5, Bellator
5- Shabulat Shamhalaev (Russia) 12-2-1, Bellator
6- Joni Salovaara (Finland) 14-7 IND
7- Sergei Greicho (Lithuania) 15-5-1 OC
8- Chris Fishgold (England) 10-0 Cage Warriors
9- Akira Corassani (Sweden) 12-3, UFC
10– Marat Gafurov (Ukraine) 8-0 IND

Quiet month for the top ten with no fighters active. Wins for Max Coga and Zubaira Tukhugov push them closer to the top ten, while March sees Robert Whiteford and Artem Lobov with great opportunities to code the distance as well.

Bantamweight

1- Brad Pickett (England) 23-8, UFC
2- Brett Johns (Wales) 8-0, Cage Warriors ©
3- James Brum (England) 14-2, Cage Warriors
4- Ronnie Mann (England) 23-6-1 Cage Warriors
5- Cory Tait (England) 8-2 Cage Warriors NR def. James Pennington, 15th February
6- Timo-Juhan Hirbokangas (Finland) 8-2 Cage FC V1
7- Martin McDonough (Wales) 11-4, Cage Warriors
8- Sirwan Kakai (sweden) 9-2, IND
9- David Haggstrom (Sweden) 7-2-1 IND
10 Ruslan Abiltarov (Ukraine) 16-4-1 IND

Cory Tait’s win over James Pennington jumps him to fifth in the rankings, while Pennington drops out. March sees Vaughan Lee, Davey Grant and Damien Rooney all in big matches with prospects of being ranked next time round.

Flyweight

1- Ali Bagautinov (Russia) 13-2 UFC def. John Lineker on 1st February
2- Neil Seery (Ireland) 13-9 Cage Warriors ©
3- Phil Harris (England) 22-11 UFC
4- Pietro Menga (England) 10-0 FCC ©
5- Mikael Silander (Finaland) 8-3 IND def. Tony Caizedo 15th February ^2
6- Paul Marin (Romania) 7-3, Cage Warriors v1
7- Shaj Haque (England) 4-1 Cage Warriors v1
8- Paul McVeigh (Northern Ireland) 19-8 Cage Warriors
9- Chris Miah (England) 5-0 IND
10- Kairat Akhmetov (Kazakhstan) 7-0 IND NR

Baguatinov extends his lead as Europe’s #1 Flyweight with his win over John Lineker while Mikael Silander gets back in the win column at Cage.

Phil Harris has a huge match next month against Louis Gaudinot and we live in hope that Neil Seery will get the call to face Ian McCall.

I realised I completed neglected Kairat Akhmetov last month, so he’s been elevated into the top ten at the expense of Rany Saadeh.

Women’s P4P

(Due to the less developed state of Women’s MMA we’re ranking our top ten female fighters from across the weight classes – we hope to expand this section in future.)

1- Joanne Calderwood (Scotland) 8-0 Invicta FC
2 – Marloes Coenen (Netherlands) 21-6 Invicta FC
3 – Katja Kankaanpaa (Finland) 8-1-1 Invicta FC
4- Rosi Sexton (England) 13-4 IND
5- Aisling Daly (Ireland) 12-5 Cage Warriors
6- Milana Dudieva (Russia) 8-3 ProFC
7- Maria Hoegaard Djursa (Denmark) 5-4 IND
8- Shiela Gaff (Germany) 10-6-1 UFC
9- Pannie Kianzad (Sweden) 4-0 IND
10- Joanna Jedrzejczyk (Poland) 4-0 IND
No action from ranked fighters means no movement but I have to give a nod to Laura Howarth who definitely stepped closer to contention with her gritty win over Amanda Kelly at Cage Warriors 64.

European National Rankings

(Each ranked fighter scores points for their nation, with a no.1 ranking earning 10 points, down to a 10 ranking earning 1 point. This is just for fun.)

1 – Russia – 109 pts
2 – England – 104 pts
3= Finland – 32 pts
3= Ireland – 32 pts
5 – Netherlands – 29 pts ^2
6 – Poland – 28 pts V1
7 – Sweden – 27 pts ^1
8 – France – 21 pts V1
9= Germany – 13 pts ^1
9= Wales – 13 pts NR