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Mike Santiago: Making the Best of Every Opportunity

Santiago making his official UFC debut (phot from
Santiago making his official UFC debut (phot from

MMA is ingrained in the DNA of the best fighters in the world. If you can make it to the largest stage of mixed martial arts, the UFC, then many consider you to be in that category of best fighters in the world. Enter Chicago's own, Mike Santiago, who has had combat in his blood from a very early age. From a high school wrestler to fighting on the biggest stage of MMA, Santiago has continued to develop and learn to become one of the premier featherweights in the world today.

When I asked Santiago when he knew that MMA was his calling in life he replied, "It was probably in high school when I first started watching the UFC and The Ultimate Fighter. I wrestled my entire life and was an athlete growing up (football, baseball, and wrestling.) Those were my three main sports but wrestling was my absolute love so I just concentrated on that all throughout high school. I got into a few scuffles in high school and came out victorious pretty much all the time and mostly scratch free." After dropping out of high school his senior year, Santiago joined the closest gym and took on his first amateur bout about three to four months later. "From then it was on!! Absolutely fell in love with the entire process of this lifestyle."

Santiago has a very close bond to some of his family members who he actually credits with him being the man he is today. "My grandfather is my hero. He's in his mid-60's and is still an amazing athlete running marathons and races every weekend and working out four to five days a week at that age. His grandfather is also the one who introduced Santiago to sports at a young age due to growing up in a single-parent household. He credits his work ethic to these close family members as well as being a great support system. "She has worked very hard her entire life too as a single mother to raise me. Having a great support system is very key in this lifestyle. My girlfriend has been great. I know I'm not the easiest person to be with but she loves me and helps me a lot weather she knows it or not."

Santiago earned a professional record of 19-9 before finally getting his shot to join the UFC with a Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series matchup against Mark Cherico for a chance to earn a contract. "That was the biggest opportunity of my life and I put every ounce of energy I had into every single part of that camp leading up to that fight. I said exactly what I was going to do and it went down just like I said." DWTNCS has given way for many UFC-ready talents the ability to bypass the whole The Ultimate Fighter progress and get big talents into the organization. "The contender series is a great opportunity for guys to showcase their skills on what can be the biggest 'job interview' of your life being in front of Dana, Sean Shelby, and Mick Maynard. Man it was awesome!" Even though everything went according to plan and exactly how he envisioned it to go, Santiago did not get an immediate contract offer that night. "I didn't get the contract that night but it came just a short week later for a short notice fight out in Rotterdam. I was a bit upset that I didn't get the contract that night but at the end of the day my trainer and training partners said 'you did exactly what you needed to do and this won't be your last opportunity' so that really made sense to me and lifted my spirits for the rest of the trip."

Santiago will make his third appearance in the cage, not counting the DWTNCS bout, in June 2018 at UFC 225 in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Santiago does not feel any pressure to put on a better show in his home town. "I've fought at home a lot of my career and of course I feel the most comfortable here. It's honestly a dream come true to be fighting on the biggest stage in the world in front of all my family and friends, but a huge dream come true is to be fighting at home with my teammate and one of my mentors, Ricardo Lamas. We've been training together since I've been like 19 and I've literally dreamt of this moment. It's going to be huge thing for our trainer, Mac Ramos, to see two of his guys fighting on the biggest stage here at home together on the same card. Man it's surreal!"

Make sure to catch Santiago's next time in the octagon on June 9, 2018 from Chicago, Illinois on the UFC 225 card headlined by the middleweight rematch between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero. The co-main event will be the interim welterweight title bout between Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington. Santiago will be taking on Dan Ige, who is also a DWTNCS winner. Look for Santiago to keep the pressure on Ige as he did in the Mads Burnell bout where Santiago easily took the first round. Santiago made the best and cashed in on his opportunity to get into the UFC. I do not expect his losing streak to continue at home.

Luke Barnatt: Finally Finding His Home at ACB

Luke"Bigslow" Barnatt has had quite the journey in the world of MMA. From being the first overall pick in a season of The Ultimate Fighter to his move from middleweight to light heavyweight in ACB. Standing at 6'6", Barnatt has always stood out in the world of MMA.

Barnatt after his knockout of Max Nunes at ACB 63 (photo courtesy
Barnatt after his knockout of Max Nunes at ACB 63 (photo courtesy

"I was inspired by a friend of mine and now still one of my toughest training partners in Jack Mason." Jack "The Stone" Mason trains with Barnatt at Tsunami Gym in Cambridge, England. Barnatt knew very early in his career that MMA was his destined career path. "I think after my second ever pro fight I realized my potential and what I could achieve. I fought an up and coming monster in the UK named Ben Callum. I was outsized and used skills I had learned at the Tsunami Gym to get the job done and that victory propelled me forward in lots of people's eyes but more importantly in my own." This bout was at UCMMA 26 in February 2012. In less than one year, Barnatt would enter the UFC and start a whole new journey down his MMA path.

Barnatt joined the cast of The Ultimate Fighter 17: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen. Barnatt was the first overall selection by Team Sonnen. Though he did not win the season, Barnatt did go on to collect his first UFC win against Collin Hart on The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale show. Barnatt's tenure in UFC saw him finish with a 3-3 record with the organization before moving on in his career.

Barnatt had a few fights before joining ACB and taking his first fight with organization in March 2017. Currently Barnatt is the number seven ranked light heavyweight.
After spending most of his career at middleweight, Barnatt made the switch full time to light heavyweight after his debut bout with MMA icon Mamed Khalidov. Barnatt is coming off an impressive second round knockout of Maxim Futin in February 2018, which led me to ask Barnett what was next for him. "I'm looking to climb the rankings, so anyone above me right now is good. I want to fight in June and am already preparing just waiting for someone from ACB." Shortly after receiving this quote it was announced Barnatt will take on the number two ranked light heavyweight, Karol Celinski at ACB 88, which will take place June
16, 2018. This bout could very well determine who is next up to take a crack at the champion, Batraz Agnaev. Barnatt has also taking on commentary duties just recently commentating on the ACB 85 card.

The UFC is not the crowning jewel for all MMA fighters. Barnatt seems much more comfortable
in the ACB cage than in the octagon. "ACB is a very high level show and production just like the UFC. It's not as media heavy focused. It's more of a fighter
focused organization. They care about their fighters well-being and provide everything you need to put on the best fights. I am very comfortable with ACB
and feel more at home there now than I ever was at the UFC. The UFC just has the name value and the media exposure that's the only difference. So if you want to be a superstar then the UFC is the best for that. If you want to be a fighter than ACB can't be beat.


KSW 43 will take place Saturday April 14, 2018 from Centennial Hall in Wroclaw, Poland. The main event will be headlined by a welterweight title bout between Roberto Soldic and Dricus Du Plessis. There will also be a second title fight on tap with the vacant heavyweight championship on the line as Michal Andryszak takes on Philip De Fries. A huge attraction on this card is the middleweight battle between the hometown Polish fighter, Damian Janikowski, as he takes on Yannick Bahati.

Yannick Bahati at the KSW 43 open workouts (picture from KSW open workout album)
Yannick Bahati at the KSW 43 open workouts (picture from KSW open workout album)

In the main event of the evening, welterweight champion Roberto Soldic will defend his crown against KSW newcomer Dricus Du Plessis. Soldic is a  dangerous striker with 11 of his 13 wins coming by TKO/KO. Soldic brings knockout power that can
end the bout at any second with any shot. His last seven straight bouts have ended by a Soldic knockout. The South African, Dricus Du Plessis is making his debut after defeating Yannick Bahati in August 2017 for the EFC middleweight title. While Soldic is dynamic on his feet, Du Plessis is just as dynamic on the mat with eight of his 11 wins coming by submission. This is a typical striker/grappler showdown where either guy can finish the fight if they can bring the battle totheir element.

Michal Andryszak is the poster boy for finishing fights quickly. 19 of his 20 wins are by finishes with 18 of those 19 finishes coming in the first round! Andryszak
goes for the kill and ensures to put on a show for the Polish crowd. Philip De Fries is 14-6 with 11 of those wins by submission. De Fries is making his KSW
debut after last defeating James Thompson at Bellator 191. This is almost a mirror of the main event title fight with Andryszak delivering the knockout ability and De Fries bringing the top notch ground game. Look for this fight to end very quickly if Andryszak has his way.

Though it's not a title fight or even the main event anymore, the bout between Olympic bronze medalist and hometown boy, Damian Janikowski, takes on Yannick "Black Mamba" Bahati, who is never at a loss of words. When I asked Bahati about going onto enemy territory to take on Janikowski he stated, "I'm prepared, confident, and embrace the pressure. I like pressure and confrontation. I enjoy that type of stuff. I know I'm coming into hostile territory. It's nothing new to me, as I make the walk and the contest gets closer I'll be in the moment." Janikowski will obviously try to employ his Olympic caliber wrestling while Bahati will
look to overpower Janikowski with his sound striking. Bahati has three of his eight pro wins by submission so if Janikowski takes it to the ground underestimating Bahati's ground game, Janikowski could wake up staring at the lights above.

Be sure to check out KSW 43 this weekend before the UFC Fight Night event during the daytime state-side. KSW always puts on an amazing show and has a stacked cardfrom bottom to top. Former UFC veteran Norman Parke is also on the card as well. Catch the event through the KSW website or FiteTV.

Brian "The Law" Hall: The Heartbeat of Memphis MMA

Brian "The Law" Hall ready for his Bellator battle (picture from
Brian "The Law" Hall ready for his Bellator battle (picture from

Brian "The Law" Hall returns to action at V3 Fights 68 April 28, 2018 from Fitz Casino and Hotel in Tunica, MS. Hall may not have been actively competing in the cage since 2015, but his presence is greater than ever in the world of MMA. "Law School MMA" has a
strong presence on the MMA scene in Memphis, TN with it's amazing stable of young up and coming fighters.

Hall's MMA journey began later in life, at the age of 25, while employed with the Memphis Police Department. Hall was already a very successful wrestler winning five state championships in the state of Tennessee between three different wrestling styles. Hall took on his first pro fight in October 2011, winning by second round TKO. Hall collected a record of
8-4 up to his most recent fight with was for V3 Fights in September 2015. He has remained very active though winning gold at the 2017 Fuji purple belt
division tournament. Hall also was the 2017 Fuji Expert No Gi Champion. Hall continued to grow his collection winning the silver medal in the 2017 American
Grappling No Gi and No Gi Absolute tournament as well as well as a bronze medal in the Gi tournament.

Currently Hall is coaching at the UFC Gym in
Cordova, TN and is an instructor for the Memphis Police Department. With all that, Hall still leads his team known as, "Law School MMA." When asked how his mindset is different as a fighter compared to a coach he stated, "My mindset as coach is preparing each fighter different but for the same outcome. As a fighter I expected my coaches to do certain things so now as the coach I'm one step ahead." This should give Hall a big boost in his comeback fight against Jeremy Rogers at V3 Fights 68 on April 28, 2018 in
Tunica, Mississippi.

Law School MMA hosts some of the brightest,
youngest up and coming talent in pro and amateur MMA. "Thus far my team is looking great. We just fought this weekend [March 23/24] and had dominant
performances across the board," said Hall. Hall coaches and trains such fighters as LFA light heavyweight champion Ryan Spann, V3 welterweight champion Jaleel Willis, and V3 featherweight/ lightweight champion Reggie Adams. Hall is breeding champions in Memphis along with his other amazing pro and amateur fighters on the rise ranging from MMA, kickboxing, and boxing. Memphis MMA is
on the rise and could be the site of the next hotbed of up and coming fighters. Follow Brian "The Law" Hall on Twitter @brianhallmma for link to his website with bio info.

Nathan Greyson: A Road to Redemption Now Laced with Gold

I was very fortunate to have a great conversation with Cage Warriors' newest flyweight champion, Nathan Greyson for the following article.

Nathan Greyson winning the Cage Warriors flyweight title as referee stops the bout (photo from Dolly Clew of Cage Warriors)
Nathan Greyson winning the Cage Warriors flyweight title as referee stops the bout (photo from Dolly Clew of Cage Warriors)

The road to the championship has truly been a road of redemption for the current Cage Warriors flyweight champion, Nathan Greyson. From his rough and tough childhood, to serving a lengthy prison term, to the
top of the flyweight division. The path to the top was not easy for Greyson, but now he is on top of the Cage Warriors mountain and still looking upward. Greyson is the first Cage Warriors flyweight champion since Neil Seery vacated the title in 2013 to sign with the UFC.

Greyson's road to mixed martial arts started in his childhood being a, "rebel on the roads" as he called it constantly getting in fights. A friend of his, Kym "K.O." Farid, who was fighting out of Keddles Gym, took in
Greyson and thus began is journey. In 2013, Greyson ran into some legal issues and saw prison time from 2013-2016. When asked about this time away from MMA, Greyson responded, "Not fighting for that time was hard very frustrating but I kept positive. I wasn't fighting professionally but I definitely kept active."

Greyson eventually joined Team Titan, led by Brad Pickett. "Brad Pickett has helped me out in and out
of the gym," Greyson said. "Also along with coaches Ash Grimshaw, Bola Omoyele, and Chris Fig Management. These people play a big part in
keeping me out of prison and in the gym. I owe them a lot." Pickett, Grimshaw, and Omoyele were all in Greyson's corner when he captured the
flyweight title at Cage Warriors 92. Greyson truly embraces the team concept. Along with acknowledging what his coaching staff has done for
him, when asked about a potential bantamweight jump he replied, "Bantam is open for option but I have good teammates so our plan is to share the success." Most notably, Greyson is teammate of Cage Warriors
bantamweight champion, Nathaniel Wood.

Greyson is more than ready to get back into action stating he would love to be on the UFC Liverpool card which is slated for May 27, 2018. When asked if making it to the UFC would fulfilling his dream he replied with, "UFC is not a dream; it's an expectation. I will get there." When asked who his idle first opponent would be if he gets on the Liverpool card he stated,
"Smolka," referring to Louis "Da Last Samurai" Smolka, who has yet to compete in 2018. Greyson feels Smolka being a similar height (5'9") will make for a great match-up. Greyson is a huge fan of Jose Aldo. "Aldo is legend to me. 10 years champion. Aldo to me is a fight-style not just a person. Aldo to me means domination." Greyson also draws inspiration in the fight game from Jeremy "Lil; Heathen" Stephens and the Diaz brothers but says, "Mostly inspirations are my teammates and the biggest is myself, I am my biggest inspiration. I came from nothing."

Greyson feels the UFC flyweight division needs to, "get spiced up" and he's the man to bring it. He feels he's at 40% of his potential with much room for improvement. After Smolka, ideally, Greyson would like a top 15 match-up. "I'm here to save the division. Mark my words." The UFC could use a shot in the arm with someone like Greyson, confident in himself and his team.

Follow on Twitter @LAknockoutMMA and facebook


ACB 83 takes place Saturday March 24, 2018 from Bakv, Azerbaijan with a main event for the vacant ACB bantamweight championship.

ACB 83 poster
ACB 83 poster

In the main event, Oleg Borisov (20-2) takes on Rustam Kerimov (10-0) for the ACB bantamweight championship. Borisov is the #1 bantamweight in the ACB rankings along with Kerimov being ranked #3. The middle man, #2 ranked Magomed Magomedov, is in action on this card we welling taking on Edgars Skrivers. Borisov has a very powerful right hand and a very good wrestling/takedown game. Is height (5'3") makes it easy for him to get low for those takedowns. Kerimov isn't much taller just standing at 5'5", but Borisov is very solid for the weight division as far as body frame. Kerimov has been depending on quick KO/TKOs his last few victories, which I don't see happening to Borisov. I think Oleg Borisov walks out the bantamweight champion and will probably meet Magomedov down the road in his first title defense.

In the co-main event, Iranian heavyweight, Amir Aliakbari (7-1) takes on the Estonian, Denis Smoldarev (13-3.) Aliakbari has spent most of his pro career in Japan fighting for Rizin FC. His only pro loss is in Rizin to Mirko CroCop at Rizin 4 in December 2016. Both of Aliakbari's fights since then have been victories via 1st round TKO's. Smoldarev is more of a long distance fighter where five of his 13 wins are via decision. If Smoldarev can weather the early storm, he might be able to take Aliakbari to deep waters with a late submission or a decision. I think Aliakbari catches him near the end of the 1st round for another TKO victory.

Another fight of interest on this card is #2 ranked ACB bantamweight, Magomed Magomedov taking on unranked Edgars Skrivers. Six of Magomedov's 14 victories are by submission so if the match ends up on the ground at any point, Skrivers has to be very careful to not get caught. I look for Magomedov to run through Skrivers and demand the winner of the main event in his post fight speech.

Follow on Twitter @LAknockoutMMA as well as facebook Keep up with the website as well for full stories

UFC Fight Night: Werdum VS. Volkov Review

UFC Fight Night: Werdum VS. Volkov took place this past Saturday from London, England and it was quite the show. The British fighters showed up in force and put on quite a show.

Leon Edwards getting his hand raised after his 3rd round TKO (image from
Leon Edwards getting his hand raised after his 3rd round TKO (image from
In the co-main event of the evening, England's Jimi Manuwa took on Poland's own Jan Blachowicz. This fight was awarded Fight of the Night honors, for good reason. Manuwa was swinging for the fences early but Blachowicz was able to weather the strikes and deliver his own blistering strikes that floored Manuwa. The 2nd round was more of the same with Manuwa swinging for the fences and connecting with some huge strikes. Blachowicz countered with devastating combos. Blachowicz always seemed to "one up" Manuwa's strikes or combos. Manuwa landed some huge blows to end the 2nd round. The 3rd round was more of the same with massive strikes and solid combos. The contest spent very little time on the mat. The fight deservedly was awarded Fight of the Night at the post-show press conference.
The main event featured former UFC heavyweight champion, Fabricio Werdum, taking on up and coming Russian star Alexander Volkov. Werdum did as expected and brought the fight to the ground early. Most of the 1st round was contended on the ground until about 90 seconds left in the 1st round when Volkov should why he's the more dangerous striker. The first couple rounds were back and forth, but in the 3rd round Volkov really stepped it up. Volkov's strike were on point causing massive swelling Werdum's right eye. Even though part of the round was on the mat, Volkov looked impressive with his ground escapes. Volkov was catching every kick thrown at him and pushing Werdum on his back who at this point was desperate to try and go to the mat. In the 4th round, Wedrum opened up a bit and Volkov landed some big strikes that put Werdum out for the TKO victory and Performance of the Night bonus.
This card was actually packed with lots of great action and match-ups. The French sensation, Tom Duquesnoy took on Terron "The Flash" Ware in a valiant three round affair. This now puts Ware at 0-3 in the UFC but all three are decision loses in very closely contested match-ups. Duquesnoy went with a lot of leg kicks in the 1st round but it didn't look like they had much effect on Ware. Ware poured it on at the end of the 1st round to end the round. All three rounds were closely contended and the verdict could have been read either way. I hope the UFC brass takes the body of work of Ware into consideration and not the outcomes.
One of Liverpool's finest, Danny "Hot Chocolate" Roberts ended the night of Oliver Enkamp early with a devastating left 2:12 of the very 1st round. Roberts made quick work and I'm sure is hoping to be on the recently announced May card in Liverpool, his home.
Leon Edwards also put on a show for the home country with a TKO victory over Peter Sobotta with one second left in the match-up. Edwards holds the 2nd fastest knockout in welterweight history (:08 seconds) and now tied for the latest knockout in UFC history with :01 seconds left. Edwards caught Sobotta with a huge shot in the 1st round but almost got caught in an arm-bar being a bit overzealous going after the Dean Lister BJJ black-belt on the ground. Overall it was a great 1st round. Edwards did very well fending off Sobotta's ground game and implementing his own game of landing some big shots on the feet. In the 2nd round, Sobotta looked hesitant to get in an exchange on the feet but Edwards should no fear in going to the ground. At the end of the 3rd round, Edwards started to land some huge shots that busted Sobotta open. With one second left, the contest was called with Edwards having Sobotta's back landing huge, massive shots. At the post fight news conference that aired on UFC Fight Pass, Edwards called for a shot at Darren Till to headline the May Liverpool card.
This was overall a great card. The crowd was into it and the British fighters put on a show. There are several events this coming weekend (March 23-25) of note. ACB 83, LFA 36, and Cage Warriors 92. Previews to come this week of the a fore listed events. Follow us on Twitter @LAknockoutMMA on facebook at and keep up with the website at

KSW: Why it Should be at the Top of Your List

KSW is a very successful European MMA organization based out of Poland. It doesn't get the credit it deserves in the United States due to lack of exposure.

Mamed Khalidov (left) the heart and soul of KSW (picture from
Mamed Khalidov (left) the heart and soul of KSW (picture from

Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki (loosely translated to Martial Arts Confrontation) and known as KSW, was founded in 2004 with it's first event (KSW I: Konfrontacja) taking place on February 27, 2004 at the Hotel Marriott in Warsaw, Poland. Since then the company has hosted a total of 48 events, with 42 being numbered. KSW 43 is right around the corner scheduled for April 14, 2018 from Wroclaw, Poland. KSW has housed a house of current and former UFC talent as well as some of the very best talent in the world to have not appeared in, "the octagon."

Maciej Kawulski was organizing a sports Expo in 2002 when he met Hotel Marriott manager, and future co-creator, Martin Lewandowski. The two shared a common love of martial arts and ended up organizing what is now KSW, with it's first event being held in that Hotel Marriott in Warsaw. KSW began similar to the UFC formula with the first several events hosting one night four to eight man tournaments. Around KSW 10, the organization went to the current model of a fight card.

Since it's inception, several current and former UFC competitors have fought in the KSW ring, which has varied from a roped ring to a cage. The likes of Sokoudjou, Jan Blachowicz, Scott Askham, Houston Alexander, Francis Carmont, ACB standout Brett Cooper, Rolles Gracie Jr, Kendall Grove, Alexander Gustafsson, Melvin Manhoef, James McSweeney, Bob Sapp, Norman Parke, Rousimar Palhares, Paulo Thiago, and several others have competed at some point of their career for KSW. The names to really focus on that have made KSW, are the names who have never competed on the UFC stage.
Without a doubt, the biggest name to ever compete in KSW, has never competed in the UFC octagon. Chechnya-born Mamed Khalidov is the face of KSW. If a "Mount Rushmore" of MMA was built, Khalidov should be displayed proudly on this monument. Khalidov has competed 21 times in the KSW ring with an astounding record of 19-1 with two draws, his lose coming in his most recent contest against current Light Heavyweight champion, Tomasz Narkun. Khalidov's first KSW event was on June 02, 2007 at KSW 7 where he knocked out Alexander Stefanovic in the 1st round. He can also win by any method necessary with 34 career wins (13 KO/TKO, 17 submission, 4 DEC) but he is a finisher. Mamed really has a who's who of victories under his belt. Such fighters as Tor Troeng (1st round submission,) Igor Pokrajac (2nd round submission,) Jason Guida (2nd round TKO,) Jorge Santiago (1st round KO), James Irvin (1st round submission,) Matt Lindland (1st round submission,) Jesse Taylor (1st round submission,) Melvin Manhoef (1st round submission) and several others along the way. At KSW 11 Mamed defeated Daniel Acacio by 1st round KO to become the inaugural KSW Light Heavyweight Champion. Khalidov soon vacated the title and moved down to Middleweight where he won that division's title at KSW 33 defeating Michal Materla by 1st round KO flying knee. Materla, in his own right, is known in KSW for his amazing potential fight of the night performances anytime he steps in the ring. He can win with a variety of submissions but also has one punch KO power as displayed in his KSW 19 win over former UFC fighter Rodney Wallace. Khalidov is who the ravish Polish MMA fan-base want to see at every event. His last two events have been champion vs champion battles splitting the affair with a win over then-Welterweight champion Borys "The Tasmanian Devil" Mankowski. Mamed fell in his last contest to current Light Heavyweight Champion Narkun by 3rd round submission. Mamed won the first 2-rounds by the scorecards but fell into a triangle choke in the 3rd round. Mamed Khalidov is an MMA legend personified who doesn't get the attention he deserves in the United States. I spoke with current Cage Warriors Middleweight Champion, Lee "The Butcher" Chadwick who thinks his style meshes well for a great showdown with Mamed. That would be another amazing battle for Mamed with another champion who could rock the UFC's middleweight division as well.
KSW's weigh-ins are as spectacular as the in-ring experience. Normally there is a live cover band on stage playing as the fighter's weigh-in and stare down. Arguably, KSW's biggest card to date was on May 27, 2017 for KSW 39: Colosseum which took place at The PGE Narodowy in Warsaw, Poland. The reported attendance for this event was 57,776. To put that into perspective, UFC 205: Alvarez VS. McGregor, which was UFC's return to New York and took place in Madison Square Garden, had an attendance of 20,427. The organization has only been out of Poland twice, once in London, Englad (KSW 32 October 31, 2015) and once to Dublin, Ireland (KSW 40 October 22, 2017.)

KSW has done a nice job not over-extending themselves by moving out of market too fast like what happened to a lot of wrestling companies in the late 1990's. If KSW were to start venturing to the Western Hemisphere, with proper promotion, it would do very well. KSW has no problems promoting efficiently. As far as the American MMA fanbase goes, KSW doesn't have that big American name they could promote as say ACB could do with Brett Cooper. If they card featured Mamed Khalidov, KSW could make it more successful than Fedor Emelianenko fighting for the first time in the states.

UFC Fight Night: Werdum VS. Volkov preview article to come later in the day. Follow on Twitter @LAknockoutMMA Facebook and website at

UFC Fight Night: Werdum VS. Volkov Preview

UFC Fight Night: Werdum VS. Volkov takes place Saturday March 17, 2018 from the O2 Arena in London, England headlined by heavyweights Fabrico Werdum and Alexander Volkov.

UFC Fight Night poster (image from
UFC Fight Night poster (image from

In the main event heavyweight action, Fabricio Werdum (23-7-1) will take on up and coming Russian Alexander "Drago" Volkov (29-6.) It's not a secret that Volkov will want the KO/TKO if he will walk out of London with the win. 16 of his 29 wins are by KO/TKO. The only downside to that for Volkov is that Werdum has only been knocked out twice, once by current champion Stipe Miocic and by Junior Dos Santos in 2008. Volkov hasn't had the greatest UFC run though he's 3-0. He has a split decision win over Timothy Johnson, an unanimous decision win over Roy Nelson, and a 3rd round KO of Stefan Struve. Werdum has been 3-1 since losing his belt with that one loss a majority decision loss to Alistair Overeem at UFC 213. Werdum would love to get this contest to that mat and use his superior 2nd degree BJJ black-belt and walk out of London with the victory.

In the co-main event, England's own Jimi Manuwa (17-3) will take on Jan Blachowicz (21-7) in the battle of two KO artists. Manuwa has 15 of his 17 wins by KO/TKO but has a "live by the sword, die by the sword" mentality with the KO game as all three of his losses are by KO/TKO. Not often do the UFC matchmakers put someone coming off a lose against someone on a winning streak but this match-up, for a London crowd, makes a lot of sense. Manuwa is coming off that 1st round KO by Volkan Oezdemir while he was on his amazing run up the light heavyweight ranks. Jan is coming off a rear naked choke submission win over Devin Clark at UFC Fight Night 118 and most recently a decision win over Jared Cannonier at UFC on Fox 26. Whichever way this bout goes, I don't see it going to the judges.

Also on the card is the French fighter, Tom Duquesnoy, and the American highest on the bout card, Terrion "Flash" Ware. Ware might be 0-2 in the UFC, but that record can be deceiving if you look just at those numbers. He has two decision loses, both to stud up and comers Cody Stamann and Sean O'Malley respectively. Ware has had success in BAMMA USA as well as a victory for ACB over Nick Mamalis at ACB 51. Ware is a grinder shown by his 17-7 record with 8 of those wins by decision. He also has six KO/TKO's to his record. Duqesnoy, the long time BAMMA fighter, came into the UFC with much hype but his 1-1 so far with a lose also to Cody Stamann. Duquesnoy has 8 of his 15 wins by KO/TKO. If Ware is able to grind out Duquesnoy and drag him to deep water, Ware should be able to grind out a very close decision in what I see to be a very good battle.

The card is loaded with amazing talent such as two competitors from SBG Ireland: John Phillips (21-6) taking on DWTNCS winner Charles Byrd (9-4) as well as Hakeem Dawodu (7-0-1) taking on Danny Henry (11-2.) Dawodu has all the potential to be another Israel Adasanya who I predicted before his debut would become a superstar in the UFC. I see Hakeem on that same path, especially if he pulls out a finish victory in London.

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Want to Know What You Get When You Change, "Winner's Mindset" to "Champion's Mindset?" Well Meet Cage Warriors Middleweight Champ: Lee Chadwick

I was very fortunate to have a very good conversation with Lee "The Butcher" Chadwick to compile this article. Cage Warriors has been known for quite sometime as a favorite for the UFC to sign talent from. Chadwick will no doubt be one of the next few in line to follow this long list of solid UFC talent.

Lee Chadwick with the Cage Warriors Middleweight title (pic from
Lee Chadwick with the Cage Warriors Middleweight title (pic from

One of the UK's most popular fighters Cage Warriors Middleweight Champion, Lee "The Butcher" Chadwick, has had a long road to the top of the mountain. After starting his career 1-3, Chadwick could have easily given up his dream for MMA stardom, but he continued on and won his next three in a row all by submission (two in the 1st round and one in the 2nd round) in the Cage Gladiators organization. I asked Lee what got him into MMA and the love of MMA began with OMMAC (Olympian MMA Championships) who Chadwick would later compete for and eventually become British world champion for. The organization was re-branded to OMMAC from the first time Chadwick so an event and he would actually compete in OMMAC 1 where he defeated Shaun Lomas by 1st round submission. According to Sherdog, Lomas has amassed a total of 92 fights including bouts against some of the best to ever fight in England; Chadwick, Jimi Manuwa, Liam McGeary, Danny Roberts, Brett McDermott, and Jack Marshman. Chadwick compiled a record of 10-4 in OMMAC with victories over former UFC vet Cathal Pendred (1st round TKO) and avenging a defeat to Nills Van Noord (3rd round submission.)

After a successful stint in OMMAC, Chadwick had a few bouts in BAMMA losing both to hard-fought decisions against Ion Pascu (BAMMA Fight Night) and Conor Cooke (BAMMA 17) respectively. Both a fore listed fighters still compete under the BAMMA banner and are solid, competitive fighters.

When it would have been easy to fold up and go home, the then approaching 30 year old Chadwick, went back to the gym and redeveloped his game. Coming off two mentally touch decision loses, Chadwick rebounded by winning 5 of his next 6, including the crowning jewel by defeating Victor Cheng at CWFC 88 to be crowned the Middleweight champion. In a quote given to Echo Chadwick stated, "A true champion takes a loss on the chin and bounces back. I've had to do that a few times. Quite a few times I have thought to myself that I wasn't good enough. I wasn't winning enough. But it was the hunger to fight that kept me going. It wasn't so much doing it because i felt I was good enough, I did it because I needed to. I just wanted to fight. I still have that hunger. And now I have started to enjoy it more."

The change was evident in his first bout after going back to the drawing board at CWFC 82 against Tommy Quinn. Chadwick came out with a big overhand right to get Quinn worried about the heavy strikes. Chadwick worked his game and eventually dropped Quinn with a huge knockdown. Chadwick used his very good ground game to wear down Quinn before locking in a standing guillotine, which is very difficult in pro MMA. In his next bout against Andy Manzolo at CWFC 85, Chadwick brought the fight to the ground early, stayed patient and poised, and ended the bout by 1st round leg-lock submission after he himself escaping a dangerous submission.

The culmination of hard work reached the mountain top at CWFC 88 with the unanimous decision victory over the Swede, Victor Cheng, for the vacated middleweight title. 4 of the 8 previous middleweight champs prior to Chadwick have vacated the title after signing with the UFC while another 2 left to sign with organizations bigger than Cage Warriors. I truly hope that's a sign we will see "The Butcher" carve up the middleweight UFC division.

Chadwick faced a roadblock in the form of a training injury to his leg which forced him to withdrawal from his first title defense slated for CWFC 90 this past month in Liverpool, his home. Top brass at Cage Warriors have stated they are hoping to be back in Liverpool for the September 2018 card. I asked Lee if he will be ready for this card and he stated, "Yes I'll be 100 [percent] for CW in September in Liverpool Echo Arena! Can't wait!" Hopefully Chadwick can use this fight to show UFC brass he's well from his injury and by the end of this year we can at least see Lee signed to the UFC to close out 2018.

On a lighter, more fun note, I asked Lee what fighters does he enjoy to watch. He responded with he enjoys watching Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones, Stipe Miocic, Mark Hunt, and The Diaz Brothers for starters, with Velasquez and Jones being probably his two most fun fighters to watch. Since he mentioned Stipe and Daniel I had to ask his opinion on the upcoming heavyweight champ/light heavyweight champ match-up during International Fight Week. Looks like the middleweight CWFC champ sees this match-up going in favor of the heavyweight champ, Miocic. Lee thinks, as I tend to believe as well, putting on the extra weight could actually wear out D.C as he's used to just carrying around the light heavyweight weight. Stipe is just the bigger guy used to carrying the weight and that could lead to a cardio advantage. But as Lee said, "depends who's on form on the day."

We talked a little more on Daniel Cormier, as Lee feels his style is similar to DC's but giving DC the top game wrestling edge and himself the bottom game. I commented to Lee that I doubt we will ever see DC win via heel hook as he has done before so I must agree! All in good fun as we are both huge fans of DC, with me growing up in the same town in Louisiana as DC.

Recently on Ariel Helwani's podcast, Luke Rockhold mentioned he was moving up to light heavyweight from middleweight because of the grueling weight cut. I asked Lee if he could follow that same path. Looks like right now Lee will say on the middleweight path but did acknowledge that the last few fights have been harder to cut weight as he has gotten older.

I believe it's only a matter of time before Lee Chadwick is a known name state-side as he is in the UK. Americans will appreciate his style of combat and intelligence inside the cage. Make sure to follow Lee on Twitter @Lee_the_butcher and follow me here and on Twitter @LAknockoutMMA as we hope to see Lee in the cage defending the strap then soon enough in the octagon!

ACB 82 Review: Another Amazing Card by Russia's Leader in MMA

ACB 82, which took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, was another amazing card in the company's history. From a bloody, all-out battle, to the America's pride in ACB, to an amazing fight of the night battle, this card had it all.

Brett Cooper after his 1st round KO of Andre Santos.(image
Brett Cooper after his 1st round KO of Andre Santos.(image

ACB 82 was an amazing card aired from Brazil on Friday March 09, 2018. Nashkho Galaev and Matheus Mattos took home the Fight of the Night bonus. Cooper, Vieira, Milliard, and Pereira took home Stoppage Win bonuses.

Ary Farias VS. Saimon Oliveira was a bloody battle for the ACB ages. This match-up was a back and forth battle with Ary sustaining a MAJOR cut on his head looking to have come from an elbow. The blood bath ensued with the cage mat covered for the duration of the show. At the end of the contest, Ary's ground game paid off and he walked away with the decision.

Farias' and Oliveira's bloody battle at ACB 82 (image from
Farias' and Oliveira's bloody battle at ACB 82 (image from

American Brett Cooper made quick work of BJJ ace Andre Santos. The two engaged in a back and forth standing cage clinch phase before Cooper was able to sneak in a little right hook that floored Santos. Cooper pounced and won with the referee jumping on top of Santos to save him from further onslaught. Assuming Mukhamed Berkhamov faces Aslambek Saidov next for the welterweight crown, Cooper looks to be in line for the winner for another chance to be the king of the welterweight division.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace and multi time world champion, Rodolfo Vieira, competed in his third professional MMA contesting, winning his bout over Alexander Neufang by 1st round TKO. Vieira used his ground game to control Neufang and finished with a barrage of strikes for the victory to move to 3-0, all finishes.

Matheus Mattos VS. Nashkho Galaev won the night's Fight of the Night prize with a tremendous back-and-forth battle. The first two minutes or so of the contest were more of a feeling out process for both fighters. Galaev landed some big shots then Mattos dropped Galaev in return with less than 50 seconds to go in the 1st round. At the beginning of the 2nd round, Mattos dropped Galaev again about 1 minute in and almost won by submission. Galaev returned to his feet and unleashed an onslaught of punches before being dropped again by Mattos. This happened a few more times in the 3rd round. Mattos was announced the winner by decision of a very close, very entertaining battle.

In the night's main event, Thiago Silva took on Russia's Mikhail Kolobegov. There was a little concern of how Silva would look going from LHW to MW, but he didn't look bad and moved around great. Kolobegov got the better of the striking exchanges in the 1st round really due to his combinations. Silva was landing leg kicks a few 1-2 combinations. You could see Silva getting a little frustrated in the 2nd round, pumping his chest and yelling at Kolobegov to move in for striker's battle. Kolobegov kept to his game-plan and probably ended up taking the first 2 rounds. The 3rd round was a lot of casual back-and-forth striking with no one really landing a definitive, round/contest winning strike. The fight ended up to actually be a really good main event with Kolobegov winning by decision.

This week looks to be a slow one in the word of MMA. UFC Fight Night 127 (Wedrum VS. Volkov) looks to be the only event of note for the weekend. The following week will host a Cage Warriors, ACB, and LFA event. Look for the Fight Night preview to drop on the site this week as well as another piece due to the low number of cards this coming weekend. Follow on Twitter @LAknockoutMMA and

ACB 82 Preview: Thiago Silva's assent up the Light Heavyweight Ladder

Thiago Silva headlines the heavy Brazilian-laced card with a light heavyweight showdown with Mikhail Kolobegov. In the co-main event, fellow Brazilians Carlos Eduardo takes on ACB new comer and former UFC vet, Daniel Sarafian in a middleweight showdown.

Thiago Silva with a hard right against Daniel Toledo at ACB 74 (picture from
Thiago Silva with a hard right against Daniel Toledo at ACB 74 (picture from

ACB 82 will take place Friday March 09, 2018 from the Hebraica Club in Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil. The card is full of Brazilian talent headlined by devastating striker, and long time former UFC vet, Thiago Silva. Silva enters the contest with a 20-6 record with 14 of his 20 wins by TKO/KO. He has notable wins over such talent as Sokoudjou, Matt Hamill, Rafael Cavalcante, Keith Jardine, and Houston Alexander. Silva has won four of his last five bouts with 3 of 4 wins by KO/TKO. It's no secret that Silva will want to jump out to a quick, fast start and not let his foot off the gas. The Russian, Mikhail Kolobegov, is 10-2 with six wins by submission. Silva will want to keep the fight on the feet where he has the clear advantage. Though Silva has a BJJ black-belt under Jorge Patino, and trains at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center, he won't want to get twisted up on the ground with Kolobegov, who has a dangerous triangle choke. I think the hometown talent, Silva, will have the crowd behind him and pull out a 2nd round TKO.

In the co-main event of the evening, former UFC competitor and another homegrown talent, Daniel Sarafian, enters the ACB cage for the first time to take on the 17-4 Carlos "Cachorrao" Eduardo who is 1-0 in the ACB cage. Sarafian had a rough go in the UFC with a 2-4 record. 7 of Sarafian's 10 wins are by decision so he will look to grind out Eduardo and escape with the point victory. 8 of Eduardo's 17 victories are by way of submission. I look for Eduardo to wrestle Sarafian to the ground and go for an arm-bar or rear naked choke. The winners of the main event and co-main event could meet up as both bouts are being contested at middleweight.

American Top Team grappling ace, Rodolfo Vieira, takes his 2-0 (2 submissions) record into the cage against Alexander Neufang. Vieira is a multi time ADCC and world BJJ champion. His BJJ is top notch and I look for another submission victory to his record.

In a fight getting little fan fair, American Brett Cooper (#2 ranked ACB welterweight) takes on Brazilian Andre Santos. Cooper is 24-13 with 16 of his victories by TKO/KO. Cooper is the former ACB welterweight champion, beating legend Aslambek Saidov back at ACB 50. The BJJ black-belt Santos has a 38-10 record with 22 wins by submission. This is a obvious clash of styles and whoever has the better game plan with pull out the victory. This is my pick for fight of the night, easily.

Follow on Twitter @LAknockoutMMA and

BAMMA 34/LFA 35 Previews

Both BAMMA 34 and LFA 35 will take place on Friday March 09, 2018 with BAMMA taking place live from SSE Arena Wembley, London, England and LFA airing from Arena Theatre Houston, Texas. BAMMA 34 host three title fights while LFA 35 will host the return of fan-favorite Nick Newell as well as one of Lousiana's own, Thomas Webb.

BAMMA Welterweight Champion, Alex 'Da Kid' Lohore (picture from
BAMMA Welterweight Champion, Alex 'Da Kid' Lohore (picture from

We will kick off this preview first with the BAMMA 34 card which will take place in Wembley, London, England. The card his headlined with three (3) title fights. All six fighters involved made weight at the weigh ins which occurred early Thursday March 08, 2018. The headline of the title list is the welterweight title with Alex 'Da Kid' Lohore taking on Terry 'The Dominator' Brazier. Lohore sports a 14-1 record with his only lose from 2015. The French fighter has finished his last five fights, none making it out of round 2. Seven of his 14 wins are by KO and five by submission. Terry Brazier brings his 8-1 record to the cage with his last loss also coming in 2015. Four of Brazier's victories are by KO/TKO, all in the 1st round. Both guys are quick finishers and this is a fight that probably will not go the distance. Two fights ago, Lohore ended dynamic striker, Nathan Jones, with a devastating knee to end the contest in round 1. He followed that up with a a knee-bar submission on Richard Kiely at BAMMA 32. I look for Lohore to finish this fight wherever Brazier decides to take it.

In the co-main event, the vacant light heavyweight title is on the line as long-time kickboxer Chi Lewis-Parry takes on Stav 'Crazy Bear' Economou. Though Lewis-Parry is 6-0 in his MMA career, he has a very extensive career in the kickboxing world. Four of the 6 wins are TKO/KO while the other two wins are via submission showing he likes to get in there and end the contest on his terms. Stav is 18-5-1 with half of those wins by TKO/KO. If Stav wants to try and stand with Chi, this will end violently and will end quickly not in his favor. Stav does have a few rear naked choke submissions so his best bet might be to get it to the ground and try to make quick work of Chi. I foresee Chi getting the devastating 1st round KO.

The last of the three title fights is for the vacant Lightweight title as Tim Barnett takes on Rhys 'Skeletor' McKee. Barnett is 5-0 in his pro career with four of those wins by TKO/KO. The MMA Academy Liverpool fighter his undefeated in his amateur career as well and doesn't want a title shot to be his first defeat. The Northern Irish fighter, McKee, is 6-1 with his only loss actually coming to Barnett at BAMMA 28 in February of 2017 by TKO (punches and knees) round 1. McKee has revenge on his mind which could fuel to a victory or be the downfall to defeat.

LFA 35 will occur live as well Friday March 09, 2018 from Houston, Texas headlined by the return of fan-favorite, Nick Newell, after a almost 3 year layoff as he returns to take on Sonny Luque. Newell is known as being a fierce competitor, even with his left hand amputated. Newell owns a 13-1 record with his only loss to Justin Gaethje, which is a tough task for anyone regardless of ability or disability. Luque has a 8-6 record which could indicate a dominant return win by Newell.

Louisiana's own, Thomas Webb, brings his 12-3 pro record to the cage as he takes on Jason Langellier. The Louisiana native is an avid training partner of, "The King of Lafayette" Dustin Poirier, UFC lightweight top contender. Webb has only his last four bouts in a row, sharing the victory method with 2 TKO/KOs, 2 decisions, and 1 submission win. Webb has had success fighting for WFC, which runs several times a year through Louisiana.

Keep following to see the preview for ACB 82 which takes place Friday March 09, 2018 from Sao Paulo Brazil headlined by former UFC vet Thiago Silva. Follow the webisite and Twitter @LAknockoutMMA for breaking news and stories.

UFC 222 REVIEW:The New Kid on the Block in the Featherweight Division

Saturday's UFC 222 saw the crowning of a new #1 contender in the featherweight division to wait Max Holloway's return. Brian "T-City" Ortega became the first man ever to finish Frankie Edgar with a 1st round KO by devastating uppercut.

Ortega with a powerful right hook (courtesty
Ortega with a powerful right hook (courtesty

In the co-main event, which many have titled, "the people's main event," Frankie Edgar took on a dangerous and questionable challenge in Brian Ortega, instead of opting to sit out and wait for his title shot against Max Holloway. The height and reach advantage was obvious for Ortega once the contest began. The first couple of minutes into the bout, Ortega was doing a good job keeping Edgar at the end of his long reach. Edgar could not really find a way tight into Ortega to use his boxing. Near the end of the first round Ortega started to unload his kicks as Edgar was starting to gradually work his way in, landing a few good strikes. With less than 20 seconds to go in the 1st, Ortega sent Edgar reeling into the cage and worked a couple close strikes. Ortega landed a devastating uppercut that flattened Edgar out leading the referee to step in and end the contest. Ortega continues his amazing run in the UFC becoming the first man to ever defeat Edgar by either KO or submission. Ortega, hands down, is not the #1 contender pending Max Holloway's return from injury.

In the actual main event of the evening, as fully expected, Cris Cyborg destroyed UFC debuter Yana Kunitskaya with 1st round TKO. Cyborg rocked Yana with her very first strike. As Yana fell to the ground, she grabbed Cyborg's legs and ended up on top of Cyborg. Once to the feet and against the cage, Cyborg landed devastating shots on Yana, who looked totally out of her league and not ready for the challenge. Cyborg dropped Yana with a strike and was pulled off by Herb Dean to end the contest.

In other news from UFC 222, "Sugar" Sean O'Malley welcomed the UFC world to, "The Sugar Show." O'Malley put on a magnificent performance against Andre Soukhamthath winning a decision. O'Malley could have probably won by TKO in the 3rd round but O'Malley appeared to broke his right foot/leg/ankle on a high kick to Soukhamthath. Instead of attacking, Soukhamthath went for a takedown, allowing O'Malley to ride out the round and get the decision victory. If you have not seen his post fight interview laying on his back with Joe Rogan, it's a must see.

The ageless Andrei Arlovski looked very impressive in his unanimous decision victory over Stefan Struve. Arlovski landed as many takedowns in this one bout as in all of his other UFC cage appearances put together. Even at his age and experience level, Arlovski is still evolving showing his desire to regain the heavyweight title. Arlovski did a great job taking advantage of Struve's inability to use his length. Stuve, at almost 7'0", does not fight to his full reach/height advantage which worked to Arlovski's favor. Arlovski used leg kicks to chop down Struve and set up his jabs and hooks.

UFC hype project, Mackenzie Dern, won a split decision over Ashley Yoder. The contest was a good back and forth battle with Dern not really given a good chance to show off her jiu jitsu. The highlight floating around Twitter was why did Dern have a Portuguese translator when she's born in America, not from Brazil, and speaks perfect English. Dern could be headed down a path to villianism.

HUGE underdog, Alexander "The Great" Hernandez knocked out veteran Beneil Dariush with an amazing elbow or forearm right to the temple that instantly dropped Dariush. Hernandez was questioned for his "fake glove" tactic leading right into a side body kick.

CB Dollaway walked, well rolled away, with a victory over Hector Lombard. Lombard landed two strikes after the bell sounded to end the 1st round. Dollaway was unable to continue so Lombard was disqualified and Dollaway awarded the victory. Dollaway was rolled out on a stretcher for potential concussion.

Previews to come later in the week of BAMMA 34, LFA 35, and ACB 82. Keep up with the website and follow on Twitter @LAknockoutMMA

BELLATOR 195 REVIEW: Bantamweight King Impresses Yet Again.

Darrion "The Wolf" Caldwell made quick work of #1 contender, Leandro Higo, to remain Bellator's bantamweight king. Joe Taimanglo defeated Joe Warren in the co-main event by split decision, setting up Taimanglo for a potential shot down the road at Caldwell.

Caldwell celebrating after his first round submission victory (courtesy
Caldwell celebrating after his first round submission victory (courtesy

In the main event of the evening from Thackerville, Oklahoma, Darrion "The Wolf" Caldwell made quick work of BJJ black-belt, Leandro Higo, by first round submission guillotine 2:36 into the contest. Caldwell was able to get a takedown shortly into the contest and landed on top. He was able to almost instantly transition the top position to a guillotine. Looks like Caldwell could again face Joe Taimanglo in a rubber match later this year.

In the co-main event, Joe Taimanglo was able to get the close split decision victory over Bellator vet Joe Warren. Taimanglo landed a fair amount of big strikes but Warren would resilient in his attempts to take-down and control Taimanglo. The second round was mostly a standing affair with Taimanglo landing some big shots on Warren. In the third round, Warren was able to land a couple big round-taking takedowns. When the scorecards were read, Joe Taimanglo walked out the cage the winner, facing another potential shot at champ Darrion Caldwell who is has a 1-1 record against.

In other news of interests on this card, as mentioned in the preview report, Juan Archuleta began the main event portion of the card with a split decision win over William Joplin to continue his winning ways. Romero Cotton improved his record as well in his young pro career with a rear naked choke second round victory over Justin Reeser.

Follow us on Twitter @LAknockoutMMA and keep up with the site for previews, reviews, and other articles.

UFC 222 PREVIEW: A Title Main Event and Several New Upcoming Faces.

Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino took a late notice call from the UFC to headline UFC 222 against former Invicta champion, Yana Kunitskaya, when Max Holloway was forced to pull out. The card will also feature the debut of big personality, Sean O'Malley, and BJJ ace Mackenzie Dern.

UFC 222 poster featuring the headline main-event.
UFC 222 poster featuring the headline main-event.

Cyborg Justino was placed in the headline spot after men's featherweight champion, Max Holloway, was forced out of the card with an ankle injury. Being the UFC likes championships to be on the line for it's numbered cards, Cyborg was the only champion with an open slate around this time frame. Cyborg looks to improve on her 19-1 record where her only loss was her very first pro bout. 16 of her 19 wins are by TKO/KO. The 28 year old Yana "Foxy" Kunitskaya takes her 10-3 record (7 TKO/KO) into the octagon for her debut after being the Invicta bantamweight champion. Tonya Evinger also vacated that same title to meet Cyborg at UFC 214. Cyborg is coming off a 5-round decision win over Holly Holm and will look to get back to her TKO/KO ways. I foresee Cyborg putting on a lot of pressure from the go and getting a mid to late 1st round TKO/KO. Yana's best path to victory and catching Cyborg coming in with a precise one-punch strike that puts her out.

In the co-main event top men's featherweight contender, Frankie Edgar, takes on undefeated rising start, Brian "T-City" Ortega. Edgar was slated to challenge Holloway for the title but due to injury, Edgar wished to remain on the card rather than sit out as well. Edgar is taking a chance because with a defeat, Ortega would seemingly become the new #1 contender when Holloway returns. Edgar brings his 22-5-1 record into the octagon with all 5 of his loses coming by decision. This is a huge factor to this fight as Ortega has made a name for himself by seemingly losing every round and pulling out an amazing submission when it looks like the fight is over. Edgar is a veteran who won't make those kind of mistakes. 11 of his 22 wins are by decision so Edgar knows how to be smart and grind out a fight. Ortega enters the octagon with five wins in the UFC, all by finishes. Obviously the bread and butter of Ortega's fight game is his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and his black-belt under Rener Gracie. Edgar also has a black belt in BJJ but the levels of their games is on a much different scale. Edgar will want to keep the contest on the feet using more of his boxing approach. I see Edgar able to use a good mix of his striking and wrestling when Ortega gets tired to win a decision and keep his spot next in line for Holloway when he returns.


"Sugar" Sean O'Malley makes another appearance into the cage with his 9-0 (6 TKO/KO) record against 12-5 Andre Soukhamthath on the main card portion of UFC 222. Sean made a name for himself to most fans on DWTNCS with a 1st KO over Alfred Khashakyan back in July 2017. Sean is a quick start with 6 of his 9 victories by 1 round KO/submission. Andre is 1-2 in the UFC with both loses by split decision. I see Sean getting another big win and continuing his popularity climb.

BJJ ace Mackenzie Dern makes her UFC debut with her 5-0 record (3 submissions.) Dern has gone the distance twice for wins showing she has what it takes to grind out a full fight victory. The several time over ADCC medalist will look for a highlight reel debut, looking obviously for an early submission victory.

Keep following the site at as well as Facebook and Twitter @LAknockoutMMA

BELLATOR 195: Four Bantamweights Top the Card

Bellator 195 will take place Friday March 02, 2018 from Thackerville, Oklahoma headlined by Bantamweight champion, Darrion "The Wolf" Caldwell defending his title against Leandro "Pitbull" Higo. The co-main event features another bantamweight class as Bellator vet, Joe Warren, takes on Joe "The Juggernaut" Taimanglo.

Caldwell making his cage entrance (courtesy
Caldwell making his cage entrance (courtesy

Former NC State national champion wrestler, Darrion Caldwell, defends his title Friday night against challenger Leandro Higo destined to be an entertaining fight from start to finish. Four of Caldwell's 11 wins are by way of submission while 10 of Higo's 18 victories are by submission which could lead to a cancellation of the ground game between these two. Both fighters do have a common foe in former champ, Eduardo Dantas. Higo has a split-decision loss to the former champ, while Caldwell has a unanimous decision win. Look for Caldwell to keep the pressure on the feet to maintain cage control and win by unanimous decision. It's too dangerous for Caldwell to try a ground war with the BJJ black-belt. Though Caldwell is a very unique ground fighter, it may not be wise to keep the fight there long.

In the co-main event,long time Bellator vet, Joe Warren, takes on Guam native, Joe Taimanglo. Taimanglo is coming off back-to-back losses but both are to the two headliners of this card competing for the bantamweight title. The 41-year old Warren is coming off a decision win over Steve Garcia at Bellator 181 in July 2017. The world-class and world champion wrestler Warren will look to grind out a win with his standout wrestling. 10 of Warren's 15 victories are by decision. Taimanglo, on the other hand, has 12 of his 23 wins by way of submission. If Warren becomes too dependent on his wrestling, Taimanglo could catch Warren with a rear naked choke or guillotine, which seem to be his submissions of choice. I think Taimanglo will catch Warren at the end of the second round. It will only take one slip up by Warren to be caught and the contest called to an end.


Young middleweights Romero Cotton (1-0) takes on Justin Reeser (1-1-0) in a battle up young pros. Both guys looked impressive and ready to go at the weigh-ins on Thursday March 01, 2018.

Joe Stevenson's young prospect, Juan "The Spaniard" Archuleta takes his 17-1 MMA record into the Bellator cage for a debut bout with 15-14 William Joplin. This could be a feeder match for the up  and coming Archuleta so look for him to try and end the contest quick.

Preview still to come of UFC 222 later today. Keep following the website (, Facebook at, and Twitter @LAknockoutMMA

KSW 42 PREVIEW:The Legend Mamed Khalidov Returns!

Arguably the biggest event of the week will be taking place in the Atlas Arena Lodz, Poland for KSW 42. A "super-fight" between light heavyweight champion Tomasz Narkun takes on middleweight champion and true MMA legend, Mamed Khalidov. In the co-main event, Michal "Magic" Materla takes on English standout, Scott Askham, making his KSW debut.

Khalidov during his KSW 39 decision win over Borys Mankowski (credit Wojslaw Rysiewski)
Khalidov during his KSW 39 decision win over Borys Mankowski (credit Wojslaw Rysiewski)

Arguably the most anticipated matchup of the whole weekend for me, regardless of UFC or Bellator having events scheduled, is the headline bout between light heavyweight champion Tomasz Narkun and middleweight champion, the legend Mamed Khalidov. Khalidov is 18-0-2 in KSW. He has 34 victories in his career with 13-KO/TKO's, 17-submissions, and 4 decisions. Khalidov is also known for his amazing striking and flying knee attacks. The nine-year younger Narkun is 6-1 in KSW and each opponent looks to be facing their toughest opposition. According to, Tomasz has a 3 inch height advantage but in the stare-off preview videos by KSW, the height differential looks much worse for Khalidov. Khalidov is a true legend to MMA hardcore fans, myself included. I can't pick against the legend and think this will go to a decision and Fight of the Year candidate.

In the co-main event, Michal "Magic" Materla will compete against KSW debuter Scott Askham. Materla's only loss in the last 5 years is TKO 1st round flying knee to legend Mamed Khalidov. Askham is coming off a split decision win over Luke Barnatt at ACB70 and prior to that, two losses in the UFC. Materla is a brutal, aggressive striker who will overwhelm Askham. I see this ending in 1st round KO/TKO. Depending on how the main event plays out, this could lead to a title shot for Materla.

Previews still to come of UFC 222 and Bellator 195. Other articles to drop this week as well. Keep following the site as well as and Twitter @LAknockoutMMA

UFC Fight Night Review

UFC Fight Night Stephens VS. Emmett took place Saturday February 24, 2018 from Orlando, Florida. The night saw many incredible contests including a controversial main event which will be up for debate for quite awhile.

Alan Jouban with a KO win over Ben Saunders (courtesy
Alan Jouban with a KO win over Ben Saunders (courtesy

The UFC Fight Pass portion of the show saw jiu-jitsu ace Rani Yahya pulled out the 3rd round arm triangle submission over Russell Doane who has now lost 5 of his last 6 in the UFC and might have just collected his walking papers.

In the Fox Prelims, Fight of the Night winner Alan Jouban/Ben Saunders saw an amazing 2nd round KO by Jouban. The Lafayette, LA native won round one with great striking volume and the use of that inside leg kick. In the second round, Jouban had Saunders reeling and finished the fight with a devastating left hook. Jouban could have very easily walked out of Orlando with the KO of the Night as well.

Ilir Latifi also earned a Performance of the Night bonus for his submission victory over Ovince St. Preux. Latifi finished the bout with a standing guillotine that put OSP out cold in the first round. Latifi immediately called out Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier but Cormier already has a date with Stipe Miocic this summer. Latifi will probably be matched up with someone like Alexander Gustafsson this summer.

In the co-main event of the night, Jessica Andrade won a unanimous decision over Tecia Torres putting her next in line for the strawweight title against the winner of the Thug Rose/Joanna rematch slated later on this year.

In the main event Jeremey Stephens took a controversial 2nd round knockout due to strikes. The controversy comes in when it appeared as if two (yes two) knee strikes landed to the head of Emmett while he was considered a, "downed opponent." Emmett looked great in the first round, taking it on most scorecard 10-9. Emmett actually dropped Stephens in the first and showed impressive striking. In the second round, Emmett threw a hook but was countered by a Stephens strike that floored Emmett. As Emmett is trying to get to his feet, it looks like possibly two knee strikes may have caught Emmett. Stephens pushed down Emmett and dropped two massive elbows, ending the bout.

The UFC keeps it going with UFC 222 live from The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with the headliner Cyborg VS. Kunitskay bout for the women's featherweight title. Frankie Edgar meets T-City Brian Ortega in the co-main in an obvious #1 contender for the men's featherweight title. Preview to come later in the week as well as the many different events scheduled for this upcoming week. Remember to follow us on Twitter @LAknockoutMMA and on Facebook at

Aslambek Saidov Victorious at ACB 81

ACB 81 took place Friday February 23, 2018 from Dubai, United Arabs Emirates. Aslambek Saidov, the ACB #1 welterweight contender, competed against Brazilian submission ace, Roan Carneiro. Luke Barnatt also took to the cage against Maxim Futin in the co-main event.

Saidov making his way to the cage. (picture from
Saidov making his way to the cage. (picture from

Aslambek Saidov walked into the cage hoping to walk out as the next in line for a shot at Mukhamed Berkhamov's welterweight title. Berkhamov hasn't fought since his victory over Brett Cooper in August 2017. Saidov came out with his usual precise striking. He caught a kick from Carneiro and floored him with a right. Saidov pounced on top of the ground specialist but neither was able to do anything on the ground. More of the same in the second and third rounds with Saidov continuing his dominance on the feet with an easy 30-27 victory. Saidov wasn't afraid to go to the ground, but neither fighter could get anywhere.

The co-main event consisted of England's Luke Barnatt taking on Maxim Futin. Futin actually looked pretty good early in the fight landing a few strikes that looked like that really shook Barnatt but it was just too obvious that the eight inch height advantage would soon kick into play. At the end of the first round it appeared Futin was up 10-9 going into the second round. In the second round, Futin's conditioning gave out and Barnatt won by TKO stoppage with strikes while Futin was against the cage.

Friday March 09, 2018 ACB 82 will take place from Sao Paulo, Brazil with former UFC vet Thiago Silva taking on Mikhail Kolobegov. Preview to come the week of the event. Make sure to follow us on Twitter @LAknockoutMMA