Sunday, October 30, 2011

What makes a fighter popular or hated?


Saturday night's main event @ UFC 137 turned out to be an entertaining one, which salvaged a somewhat lackluster card. It featured two of the sports most popular fighters in Strikeforce welterweight (170 lbs.) champion Nick Diaz (26-7 13 KO's 6 subs) and former UFC lightweight (155 lbs.) and welterweight champion BJ Penn (16-8-2, 7 KO's 6 subs). Though Diaz would end up winning a close decision; that is secondary to fans of both fighters that could care less about who won or lost.

This is a testament to the popularity of both fighters that has always been at the top level of Mixed Martial Arts. However, the question is why? It definitely has nothing to do with their win-loss records, which aren't necessarily iconic to say the least. Yet, both are iconic figures in a sport that reveres certain fighters and has mutual disdain for certain others. Penn (pictured above), is one that has had it right from the beginning of his career and if Saturday nights crowd support is any indication, it just continues to grow.

While he's a laid back personable young man, he's always been one of very few words. He's not very big on the interview scene and as for his post-fight interviews; he's legendary for his one sentence, or even one word, responses and leaving the cage. Yet, when he steps into the cage he's always business, which I think is what appeals to fans; a man of few words who lets his actions do the talking. Diaz is another one of these personalities.

His disappearance from not one, but two press conferences leading up to this card, tells you he's not much into talking. However, fans know there is never any concern as to whether or not he'll deliver, win or lose, inside the cage. I truly believe it is what makes guys like Diaz and Penn so popular. Fans of this sport have a high regard for anyone that is willing to put it on the line every single time regardless of wins and losses; perfect example, Randy Couture.

Hall of Famer Couture (19-11, 7 KO's 4 subs), is arguably the sports most popular fighter ever; yet, one look at his record instantly tells you it has nothing to do with his many storied victories. It has everything to do with the man, inside and outside the cage. Always respectful and humble, he's also been a warrior in every sense of the word. A multi-time champion in the light-heavyweight (205 lbs.) and heavyweight classes, the ageless wonder feared no one inside the cage; even if they were giants in front of him like Tim Sylvia or Brock Lesnar.

Fans revere these fighters, as they do a chosen few others such as Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva and Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson. Check their records and you'll see it has nothing to do with how many wins or losses each have. It has everything to do with their fighting spirit and willingness to put it on the line, regardless of who they're fighting. This may very well explain why certain others are just not liked, regardless of their achievements.

Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz are two former UFC light-heavyweight champions; Ortiz a multi-time champion. However, whenever they step into the cage or are shown on camera sitting in the audience, they are soundly booed. This is not to say they are without fans, because when they faced each other at UFC 133 in Philadelphia, I was cage side and can tell you first hand they both received their fair share of support. I guess in that scenario fans had no alternative and they had to root for somebody.

However, I've often wondered what it is about them that just don't appeal to the fans like the others mentioned above? Is it their lay and pray ground and pound wrestling style of fighting that just doesn't cut it? Or, is it their willingness to talk trash at every turn, while the aforementioned are men of few words? Josh Koscheck is another example of one of the most disliked fighters in the sport and he is a combination of both a wrestler at heart and one of the biggest trash talkers in MMA.

Ironically though, Chael Sonnen, who is probably the king of both the wrestling, ground and pound style and is without competition when it comes to talking smack, is generally popular among fans. I think in Chael's case, the reason he appeals to the masses is because he'll talk trash and back it up; and ultimately, that's what it comes down to. People are willing to look past any of these traits, as long as you give them their money's worth. Bottom line is people work hard for their money and they appreciate fighters who are willing to do the same; at least I think that's the case.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pros and Cons to tournament style MMA


If there is one thing I love about the Bellator Fighting Championships, it is that throughout their tenure they have stuck to their game plan of using tournaments to crown their champions. It has become their niche and the backbone of their creed, "Bellator is where championship opportunities are earned not given." However, that said, there are pros and cons to tournament style MMA.

Saturday night as I watched Bellator 55, which featured the semifinals of their season five bantamweight tournament and also featured a non-title bout with their light-heavyweight (205 lbs.) champion Christian 'Ton-Ton' M'Pumbu, certain things just didn't sit right with me. First and foremost, it had to deal with their champion M'Pumbu (Pictured above) not defending his title. I understand he has to await the winner of an actual tournament, yet herein lies the problem.

In using tournaments to determine who should be the next contender for your championship, the champion himself must lie dormant and wait for his next defense. Seems perfect in theory however, there are flaws when a tournament is not held every season. This cannot be done since Bellator currently has champions in seven different weight classes. Therefore, a champion, if lucky, gets to defend his title once a year.

For example, Bellator heavyweight champion Cole Konrad won his title in October 2010. Since then he's had only one fight, which took place in August, ten months after his last fight and it was a non-title affair. Bellator is currently having a heavyweight tournament this season to determine a challenger for Konrad, However, that means he won't actually defend the belt till early 2012; if lucky, about a year and a half after he won it.

For a guy like Konrad, who has had only eight professional fights in his career, it's difficult to progress as a fighter without actual fight experience. Thus, he's a world champion, but his career has stalled. I give pro wrestling's World Wrestling Entertainment credit; they have their champion defend his title just about every time he steps into the ring; sometimes four or five nights a week. However, like the Harlem Globetrotters, it's always against the same opponent.

Another negative to tournament style MMA, is the rule that no elbows can be thrown during the quarter and semifinal rounds. This is to try and insure that fighters will not be cut or damaged to the point they cannot return a month later to continue in the tourney. Seems logical I know, but there are flaws in this ideology.

The most prevalent is that by removing such a vital part of a fighter's arsenal, one that usually ends fights, you have a higher percentage of matches that tend to go the distance. On Saturday night, both semifinals went the full three rounds. Granted there are other ways to end fights, but adding elbow strikes sure would help. Then there is another issue; theoretical, but factual as well.

It has to do with the fundamental theory that by removing elbow strikes, which is such an integral part of what makes Mixed Martial Arts what it is; you truly don't have a full blown MMA fight. Therefore, to remove something that is legal within the rules, for the purpose of continuing a tournament, somewhat dilutes the tournament if you think about it. Is it actually MMA?

However, not all is bad when it comes to tournament style MMA. One of the great things that Bellator has accomplished by using this format is giving an opportunity to young, unknown fighters who normally wouldn't get a chance on a big show. It has helped fighters gain notoriety and in the process, has helped Bellator create stars. It has also helped give fighters numerous paydays; while champions have to sit and wait, tournament participants can have up to three or four fights within a year.

Finally, the biggest positive is there are no ifs, ands or buts as to who deserves the next title shot. A tournament determines who rightfully gets to fight for a championship and no will question whether or not that person has earned it; that falls right in line with Bellator's motto. However, just like everything else in life, there are definite pros and cons to tournament style MMA.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fast and Furious: Bellator 54


If you are a fan of the 'Fast and Furious' movies, no you did not fall asleep and go into a time warp. While that franchise is currently in production of filming part six, which will be out in 2013, the Bellator Fighting Championships franchise is already up to 54 events. However, while last nights fight card may have started off slow, the last three fights were definitely fast and furious.

Featuring the semifinals of the season five middleweight (185 lbs.) tournament, along with a featured non-title bout for bantamweight (135 lbs.) champion Zach 'Fun-Size' Makovsky (Pictured @ left), Bellator delivered for the amped Atlantic City, NJ crowd. It all started with Makovsky (14-2, 1 KO, 6 subs), a product of my hometown Bethlehem, PA, who now fights out of Philadelphia, he was the local favorite going in and he did not disappoint.

Facing a tough opponent in Nebraska corn fed Ryan 'Are you Ready?' Roberts (16-10-1, 7 KO's 3 subs), Makovsky offset Roberts wrestling with his own, which he combined with a superior submission game. After using his speed advantage in the stand-up striking game, the champ used a couple of take downs that he was able to garner on the former two-time Nebraska state wrestling champion. Roberts was able to get up from the first, but the second proved a different story.

It was after the second take down that Makovsky, he himself a former wrestler at Drexel University, secured a north-south position and subsequent choke on his opponent that forced Roberts to tap with just 12 seconds left in the first round. When asked about the submission after the fights, Makovsky said, "I've been working that one a lot at the 'Fight Factory'; it's definitely one of my favorite chokes." Up next for the champion, he awaits the winner of this season's bantamweight tourney, which continues with the semifinals next week.

Speaking of tournament semifinals, the Makovsky win was followed by the middleweight tourney semis and it was not a good night for anyone named Bryan/Brian. First fight up, featured Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu wizard Vitor Vianna (12-1-1, 5 KO's 4 subs) against 'The Beast' Bryan Baker (16-3, 8 KO's, 3 subs). Vianna may not be a household name yet, but hardcore MMA fans know that this former two-time jiu-jitsu world champion can do more than submit his opponents and he showed it last night.

After going the distance in his last fight and facing a personal crisis with an illness his wife was battling during training, Vianna vowed to make a point this fight and he did as the submission fighter came out swinging. However, so did Baker as he had no respect for Vianna'a stand-up and he paid for it dearly as he got caught, though not flush, right above the ear with a looping right hand. It was enough to drop Baker and Vianna pursued, pouncing on his fallen opponent and finishing him with a flurry of unanswered hammer fists forcing the referee to step in and save a defenseless Baker.

It took a total of 54 seconds, in a fight where the introductions probably lasted longer than the actual bout. Afterwards, a visibly emotional Vianna couldn't help but shed some tears as he had explained during the pre-fight interview that his wife was hospitalized with a thyroid issue and he was at her bedside for ten days straight. Once his wife got better though, she told him to get back to training. Sounds like something right out of 'Rocky II'. Vianna said afterward, "there are no easy fights here in Bellator" and he was right.

Up next for the Brazilian is a "Russian Storm" as his opponent in the tournament finals will be Alexander 'Storm' Shlemenko (42-7, 26 KO's 7 subs). Unlike the other two fights, Shlemenko needed one and a half rounds to defeat his opponent, but that's probably because he was fighting 'The Predator'. Brian Rogers (8-3, 7 KO's, 1 sub) may have been virtually inexperienced compared to his Russian counterpart, but he was not intimated. He took it to Shlemenko right from the start and it looked at first like he might actually win.

Looking a lot more fluid in the boxing game, Rogers was tagging Shlemenko at will with both left and right hands in the first round that had the Russian in trouble. However, experience was a big factor as Shlemenko was able to weather the storm (no pun intended) and survive the first round. The tide turned, so to speak, in the next round as it was Shlemenko who hurt Rogers with a spinning back fist and proceeded to just unload bombs.

Smelling blood, Shlemenko continued his onslaught with heavy punches and pulverizing knees to the body eventually forcing Rogers to buckle and bend to the ground twice. It was during the second time that Shlemenko just went to town on his downed opponent and this time there was no getting up. The end came at 2:30 of the second round in a very entertaining back and forth affair. The finals should produce a worthy opponent for current middleweight champ Hector Lombard.

In the first fight of the night, it was an inspired Jacob Kirwan (9-3, 1 KO, 5 subs), who in his first fight in Bellator defeated previously undefeated Rene 'The Brazilian Bomber' Nazare (10-1, 4 KO's 4 subs). Kirwan used his wrestling to grind out a unanimous decision. Bellator Fighting Championships gets overlooked a lot because many times it is being overshadowed on a Saturday night by a UFC card. However, on this night it had the MMA stage all to itself and it made the most of its performance as it was fast and furious.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

UFC 136: Fights are fought in the cage, not on paper


There's a reason fights are fought in the cage, not on paper, and UFC 136 on Saturday night proved why? Quite simply, logic and common sense don't always win out. In my preview I asked the question whether or not the third time would be the charm? On this night the answer would end up being yes and no.

The yes came in the form of UFC Lightweight (155 lbs.) Champion Frankie 'The Answer' Edgar (Pictured @ left). After two previous fights with challenger Gray 'Bully' Maynard that ended once in his only defeat and once in a draw, Edgar finally put to rest his only demon. Strangely enough, this fight looked eerily similar to the second fight they had on New Years Day.

Edgar (14-1-1, 3 KO’s 3 subs), just like in round one the last time, got rocked by Maynard, this time by a right uppercut that had him on queer street. This time Maynard (11-1-1, 8 KO’s), instead of going all in and punching himself out, took a more pronounced approach, but had Edgar on the verge of defeat. However, this undersized lightweight has a heart the size of a heavyweight and it showed as once again he weathered the storm and came back to win round two.

A combination of Edgar's slick kickboxing and Maynard's unwillingness to go in for the kill, gave the champion the time he needed to shake the cobwebs and get in a rhythm. That would eventually prove to be Maynard's undoing as in round four, Edgar connected with a right hand that hurt 'The Bully'. A follow-up right hand dropped him and the champion, unlike his challenger, went in for the kill and got it as the ref jumped in to save a defenseless Maynard. While it may not have been Ali-Frazier, this trilogy delivered with the final record being 1-1-1; Edgar however won the latest and most important of the three.

As stated above, there was a "no" response to the 'third time is the charm' question. Unfortunately, that came in the form of featherweight (145 lbs.) title challenger Kenny 'Ken-Flo' Florian (14-6, 3 KO’s 9 subs). After two unsuccessful attempts at the lightweight title, Florian had worked his way to challenge the featherweight champion Jose Aldo (20-1, 12 KO’s 2 subs). While Florian had his best showing in a title fight, it was far from his best performance.

Early on Kenny looked relaxed and on his game working a structured game plan of clinching with the champion to perfection. It subdued Aldo's explosive stand up skills and had him on the defensive as he had to work to avoid takedowns. There was one flaw in the plan, when he was able to take Aldo down; Florian was unable to keep him there. Meanwhile Aldo was able to get on top of Florian in rounds three and five and do what Florian was unable; inflict some damage when he had that position.

Ultimately the result was a unanimous decision victory for the champion, though I don't know if he so much as won as much as the challenger lost. While he never really had Aldo in trouble, there were many times throughout the fight where Florian had Aldo pressed up against the cage and I felt could have utilized the position to throw punches and knees. He didn't, choosing instead to focus on positioning for possible takedowns that never materialized. The result, Florian comes up short again; and at 35 with so many successful ventures outside of the cage, only Ken-Flo knows if he'll keep fighting.

With two title fights on the card, the show may have clearly been stolen by the UFC's most controversial fighter and figure, middleweight (185 lbs.) Chael Sonnen. In his first fight, since his thrilling loss to champion Anderson Silva over a year ago, Sonnen (26-11-1, 7 KO’s 4 subs) didn't miss a beat as he picked up right where he left off. Using superior wrestling, ground and pound and jiu-jitsu, he manhandled 'All-American' Brian Stann (10-4, 7 KO’s 1 sub), eventually winning by submission via an arm-triangle choke in round two.

The win should and could have been enough, but it paled in comparison to Sonnen's post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. When asked what's next, the always outspoken Sonnen said, "Anderson Silva, you suck! Super-Bowl weekend, I'm calling you out and raising the stakes; you lose, you leave the division; I lose, I leave the UFC forever." Anderson Silva who was sitting cage side could only smile, while Charles Barkley sitting beside him laughed out loud. Sonnen is great at working his way into the limelight and I think he just did it again.

While the biggest surprise of the night may have been Joe Lauzon's, (21-6, 4 KO’s 17 subs), first round submission victory over Melvin Guillard (29-9-2, 19 KO’s 2 subs), that thunder was quickly stolen by the fight afterwards. The rematch between featherweights Nam Phan (17-9, 7 KO's 5 subs) and Leonard Garcia (15-8-1, 3 KO's 9 subs), not only stole Lauzon's thunder, it earned 'Fight of the Night' honors. As he always does, Garcia seems to know only one way to fight and Phan, who felt robbed of a decision in their first fight, was happy to oblige.

The difference here was Phan was technical in his approach, while Garcia was his usual wild, swinging for the fences, self. The result, Phan won the first two rounds, barely surviving a Garcia comeback in the third, thus earning a well deserved unanimous decision victory. When asked by Joe Rogan if a third fight was in the offering between these two, Garcia was all for it by saying, "If it's in Houston again, I'm down." Phan meanwhile was quick to respond, "No that's okay." Tonight showed why fights are fought in the cage, not on paper.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

UFC 136: Will the third time be the charm?


Is the third time really the charm? This appears to be the question as we head into this weekend’s UFC 136 card. It’s the third time that UFC Lightweight (155 lbs.) Champion Frankie Edgar will face challenger Gray Maynard in a fight inside the octagon. It’s also the third time former lightweight, now featherweight (145 lbs.) Kenny Florian will challenge for a UFC world title after two failed attempts at 155 lbs; all that and more as we look ahead to UFC 136.

It’s been nine months since Frankie Edgar (13-1-1, 2 KO’s 3 subs) and Gray Maynard (10-0-1, 8 KO’s) kicked off the year right with a five round clash on New Year’s Day that ended in a draw. That was their first title fight against one another, but not their first fight. That actually took place over three years ago with Maynard handing Edgar the only loss of his career via decision. Eight rounds so far and we still haven’t been able to determine, who’s truly better than the other.

These two are so evenly matched that we may actually go another five rounds and still not know. However, notice I said “may,” as I believe this one will end with a clear cut winner. What I’m not sure of is who will be the victor? While I feel Edgar is the better all-around fighter, Maynard is clearly the bigger and stronger of the two. Therefore, one punch from Maynard can end the fight, while an accumulation of punches from Edgar can do the same.

On the ground, both are excellent wrestlers with strong collegiate backgrounds, but Maynard probably has the slight edge in this department based on his Big 10 experience. However, I feel Edgar has a slightly stronger jiu-jitsu and submission game. I’m having a difficult time picking a winner, but push, come to shove I’m taking Maynard solely because of two reasons.

First, he is naturally a bigger lightweight than Edgar as I believe the champ would be better suited fighting at 145 lbs. The other reason is that he owns one win over Edgar already and many argue that he may have won the second fight as well. My heart and east coast bias is telling me to go with Edgar, but logic and common sense is saying Maynard by decision. What other ending would it be?

In the co-main event, it’s another heart versus logic battle as Kenny Florian (14-5, 3 KO’s 9 subs) challenges for the featherweight title. However, in champion Jose Aldo (19-1, 12 KO’s 2 subs), he faces a consensus top five best pound for pound fighter in the world. This fight is intriguing on a few levels because for one it’s experience vs. youth. It’s also size vs. speed, but most importantly, it’s probably Florian’s last attempt at winning UFC gold.

At 35, Florian is ten years Aldo’s senior; and while both have had virtually the same amount of fights, Ken-Flo’s resume cannot be overlooked. Florian has fought all but three of his fights in the UFC against the lightweight division’s absolute best. That said, just look at who his only losses inside the octagon have been to.

Maynard, is currently challenging for the world title. He’s also lost to former champion and MMA legend B.J. Penn in a failed title bid. In another failed title attempt he lost to another former champion Sean Sherk and finally, he lost to Diego Sanchez in the finale of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ Season One when he had to compete 40 pounds above his current fighting class at middleweight.

Meanwhile Aldo, while competing against the WEC’s best before becoming UFC champion, has really fought no one neat that plateau other than former champions Urijah Faber and Mike Brown. However, whoever he has fought he’s annihilated with his quickness and ferocity. Although his frame dictates he’s a large featherweight, Florian is a natural lightweight who’s fought even heavier at both 170 and 185. Yet, the biggest question is will the third attempt at a world championship be the charm for Florian?

Another tough one for me as I truly believe Kenny’s size, experience and mastery of both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai can help him compete with anything Aldo throws his way; all except speed that is. Unfortunately, I think Aldo will be just too fast for Kenny no matter where the fight goes and that will be the telling difference in a TKO loss. My heart says Florian, but once again logic has superseded my emotions.

In two other fights of note, I’m anticipating knockouts of the highest variety. First, although Chael Sonnen’s wrestling can nullify just about anyone, just ask Anderson Silva, I think his time off due to suspension will leave just enough rust for Brian Stann to knock off for him. Stann (10-3, 7 KO’s 1 sub), a former WEC champion is finally rounding out as a fighter and that should help defend against Sonnen (25-11-1, 7 KO’s 3 subs), who’s best chance is to get Stann to the ground and keep him there.

I’m expecting more of the same from lightweight Melvin Guillard (29-8-2, 19 KO’s 2 subs) when he faces Joe Lauzon (20-6, 4 KO’s 16 subs). As tough and talented as Lauzon is, he’s no match for Guillard’s combination of speed, strength and power. If Lauzon was overpowered by George Sotiropoulos, he’s going to be overwhelmed by Guillard, who also appears to have finally rounded out as a fighter and is ready to challenge for the title. Short night for Lauzon as he gets KO’ed quick.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

UFC on Versus 6: Land of the Giants


Back in 1996, UFC 8 was appropriately called 'David vs. Goliath' because it featured a tournament of massive heavyweights competing against smaller lighter weight fighters. This was at the time that athletic commissions did not sanction Mixed Martial Arts, thus there were no weight classes. On that night, it was one of the "smaller" fighters, Don 'The Predator' Frye who won the tournament.

While today's UFC is much different as all fights are sanctioned and has fighters competing in various weight classes, this past Saturday night's UFC on Versus 6 card looked eerily similar to UFC 8. That's because the main card featured a few fights where the height disparity between the combatants was extremely evident. On this night however, it was the "Land of the Giants" as the much taller fighters all won and did so convincingly; and it all started with the UFC Bantamweight (135 lbs.) Champion Dominick Cruz.

Cruz (19-1, 6 KO's 1 subs), known as 'The Dominator', did just that against his much shorter opponent Demetrious Johnson (9-2, 2 KO's 4 subs). At only 5'3", Johnson is aptly nicknamed 'Mighty Mouse', but on this night he just looked like a mouse without the might as he was quick, but that's it. Cruz was not only taller, standing 5'8", but he was stronger than Johnson in every facet and it showed clearly; especially in the clinch and on the ground where the champ displayed superior grappling skills.

Johnson had some moments throughout the five rounds, but they were far and few in between as he found himself having to chase the much taller champion and he paid for it. By the end of the fight, Johnson's left cheek was so swollen; he looked like he had a Blow Pop in his mouth. He was resilient though, even surviving two separate rear-naked choke attempts by the champion; one looked so tight, I remarked to my friend, "it's a wrap," but it wasn't. Nonetheless, in much the same fashion that he defeated Urijah Faber three months ago, Cruz handled Johnson in every way, only more "dominating."

If you thought five inches was a clear height advantage, how about a foot? (See photo above) That was the advantage 6'11" heavyweight Stefan 'Skyscraper' Struve' (22-5, 5 KO's 15 subs) enjoyed over his opponent Pat 'HD' Barry (6-4, 5 KO's), yet it was on the ground, not standing, that Struve won. Both kickboxers by trade, Struve and Barry, measured each other with round kicks and punches early, but in the second round during a clinch, it was the much taller Struve who went for a guillotine choke.

While he couldn't secure it, the move worked to his advantage as the fight dropped to the ground, where Struve used his long lanky legs and wrapped up Barry in a triangle choke. In a desperate and dramatic effort, Barry stood up with Struve wrapped around him and tried to power his way out by slamming him, but it just made it worse. Struve didn't flinch and the choke just got tighter; this time Barry wasn't getting up as he tapped at 3:22 of the second round.

It didn't take that long for 6'2" welterweight (170 lbs.) Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson (10-3, 2 KO's 2 subs) to dispatch of his opponent Charlie Brenneman (14-3, 5 KO's 2 subs), although the ending seemed premature. Brenneman AKA 'The Spaniard', who is four inches shorter than Johnson, figured his best opportunity to win would be to take the fight to ground. What he didn't count on was Johnson being so strong there. So after getting controlled and pummeled by Johnson on the ground he decided he'd better get up. That was a big mistake.

After scrambling to get back to his feet, Brenneman caught a left round kick flush to his face that knocked him down flat on his back. However, while the kick knocked him down, it didn't knock him out, as he appeared ready to defend against Johnson pouncing on him. Neither he nor Johnson ever got the chance though as referee Mario Yamasaki jumped in and stopped the fight. While I'm all for fighter safety and feel the outcome was inevitable, this was clearly too soon. The end came at 2:49 into round one.

Speaking of premature stoppages, Mac Danzig (20-9-1, 5 KO's 1 sub) and Matt Wiman (14-6, 4 KO's 4 subs) fought in a rematch of a fight they had last year, which was stopped prematurely when Wiman was attempting a choke. On this night, there was no early end as both fighters went back and forth battling each other both standing and on the ground with Wiman earning a unanimous, but close decision. The fight was so close and entertaining, it earned fight of the night honors.

Junkie Gathering 2017... this time it was personal

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