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UFC 244 is much deeper than the ‘Bad MF’er’ title

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Who’s the “Baddest MF’er” in mixed martial arts today? On the night of November 2nd, inside of Madison Square Garden, that question will be answered.

Since MMA became legalized in New York, the UFC has found a home for their annual MSG show every November, making it one of the most must see PPV’s of the calendar year. In previous years, we’ve witnessed cards headlined by the likes of Conor McGregor, Georges St. Pierre and Daniel Cormier in championship bouts. And while there may not be a traditional championship fight headlining UFC 244, the hype is just as big and the belt is just as real. So with the amount of action we’ll see, surely many of the fans will place a bet on their favorite fighter. Many enjoy using the Royal Panda operator, who’s sponsoring many of the Sports events worldwide and has a great long time reputation. That is why there are more and more users looking for a Royal Panda review, to understand better what are their benefits over the competitors. 

So, just how deep is UFC 244? A lightweight contest between former interim title challenger Kevin Lee and the undefeated Gregor Gillespie will kick off the PPV portion of the card. A win for Lee, who has dropped three of his last four inside of the shark tank that is the 155 lbs division, keeps his head above water. For Gillespie, a sixth consecutive finish would make him undeniable in terms of getting a future title shot should he keep the proverbial pain train rolling. 

Heavyweight fan favorite Derrick Lewis (who headlined MSG last year opposite Cormier) will look to get off the schneid when he takes on Bulgarian bruiser, Blagoy Ivanov, the former WSOF Champion who could very well make some waves with a third straight win in a division where event the smallest of win streaks are hard to come by. 

Follow that up with a welterweight bout between 2-time title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and “Silent Assassin” Vicente Luque that screams fight of the night sleeper a co-main event that will feature Darren Till, making his middleweight debut, against the always dangerous Kelvin Gastelum. Both Gastelum and Till are coming off losses but are being put into a position where a big performance on this particular night puts them in a great position moving forward.

It all leads up to the main event, the inaugural and potentially once in a lifetime BMF championship match between the red-hot Jorge Masvidal and always entertaining Nathan Diaz. 

With ultra-violent KO’s of Till and Ben Askren in 2019, a victory over Diaz would put Masvidall in the conversation for fighter of the year. And for the returning Diaz, another big win on a night where the whole world will be watching only adds to his unique legacy. 

MMA

Was Max Holloway Robbed at UFC 251?

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Last weekend, Max Holloway earned his featherweight title rematch against Alexander Volkanovski – but was he robbed in the decision? Many fighters and fans think so.

Here’s what legendary MMA fight manager Ali Abdelaziz had to say after the fight:

Nate Diaz was quick to chime in with his thoughts on Holloway’s loss at the hands of the judges as well:

The bottom line is this was a back and forth fight that could have gone either way. Yes, we would have scored it for Holloway too, but this is what happens when fighters leave bouts to the judges to decide.

Professional fighter Joe Schilling mentioned on a recent Joe Rogan podcast that he thought the UFC should add additional measures to keep judges more accountable. Some sort of tracking system that helps identify and remove judges who consistently score fights against the grain would be a great way to keep both fighters and fans appeased during tough decisions like this one.

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UFC 251’s Shevchenko expected to be massive favorite once again

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Fresh off another decisive finish at UFC 247, Flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko (19-3) already knows whom her next title defense will come against.

It’s been confirmed that Glasgow’s Joanne Calderwood (14-4) will be up next for the dominant world title holder. The bout will take place at the UFC 251 pay-per-view event on June 6th. A location for the event has yet to be announced.

Calderwood, a 10-fight UFC vet, has emerged victorious in 3 of her last 4 bouts, with her lone loss in said stretch coming to Shevchenko’s latest victim, Katlyn Chookagian via unanimous decision last summer in Chicago. The soft spoken TUF 20 fan favorite has a stellar record of 6-4 since joining the UFC ranks with two finishes.

Shevchenko has been a huge favorite for each of her three title defenses since defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk on a late 2018 December night in Toronto. Each of those defenses have seen “Bullet” close in the -800 to -1000 plus range making her the most feared champion in the sport today. Opening odds have yet to be revealed for this contest as it was just announced late last night.

While there are certainly levels to this game — we can fully expect Shevchenko to be a massive favorite ahead of this contest once again — Calderwood’s kickboxing pedigree and penchant for violence gives her a slightly better chance than Valentina’s last three opponents. And that, well, isn’t really saying a whole lot.

It goes without saying that Shevchenko is a handful of steps ahead of every single fighter at 125 lbs right now in the striking game. And she’s in her prime. We give Calderwood a punchers (watch out for those knees and elbows as well) chance in this one.

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Jaime Munguia Steps into the Spotlight

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It was widely hoped that this weekend, Mexican Independence Day weekend, generally the second biggest boxing weekend of the year, would host the highly anticipated third clash between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. When it became clear that Canelo didn’t want to take that fight anytime soon, it was still assumed that Canelo would be fighting somebody…

Anybody…

But problems with Canelo and his long time promoters at Golden Boy, or more accurately, his television partners at DAZN, who last year handed him the biggest contract in the History of Sports to fight on their network resulted in the Mexican Cash Cow’s next fight being pushed back to later in the year. But that coveted Mexican Independence Day slot needed to be filled…

Enter Jaime Munguia

The twenty-two year old Mexican phenom will enter the biggest spotlight of his career so far when he defends his WBO junior middleweight championship for the fifth time against unknown Ghanaian Patrick Allotey at the Dignity Health Sports Park(previously known as the StubHub Center) in Carson, California. The fight will air this Saturday exclusively on DAZN, and while it does not come against a top opponent, it does represent a significant jump in spotlight for the young Mexican champion.

Less than eighteen months ago, Munguia emerged from obscurity in Mexico to destroy an undersized but much more experienced Sadam Ali and take away the WBO 154 pound title that Ali won when he retired future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto six months previously. Coming in on about three weeks’ notice and fighting in the United States for only the second time, Munguia dropped Ali four times in route to a devastating fourth round knockout. All of the sudden, Munguia was being bandied about as a serious opponent for the likes of Canelo, Golovkin, and Daniel Jacobs, and the rumor and innuendo was that these guys wanted no part of him! Given that Munguia is huge for 154 pounds at nearly 6’1, and had knocked out twenty-five of his first twenty-nine opponents, including Ali, it was hard to blame them.

Munguia’s rise towards superstardom continued well enough from then, as a mere eight weeks later he defeated solid Brit Liam Smith over twelve rounds in his first title defense and then seven weeks after that, destroyed overmatched Canadian Brandon Cook in just three rounds on the undercard of Canelo-GGG 2.

But then Munguia started to hit some speed bumps. First, even though he dominated all twelve rounds in a title defense against Takeshi Inoue in Houston in January, he didn’t seem to know how to get rid of the ultra-tough Japanese fighter, whom Munguia hit with everything short of the kitchen sink, only for the under-experienced Japanese fighter to just keep coming. Then disaster almost struck when Munguia was at times soundly outboxed by unknown Irishman Dennis Hogan last April in Monterrey.

Some people thought Hogan clearly won, but the young Mexican escaped with a close, hard fought majority decision victory. The Hogan fight clearly exposed that Munguia is still a work in progress as a fighter and seemed to point to the idea that he learned all he could under trainer Roberto Alcazar, who was the trainer of Munguia’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya in the 90s.

For the Allotey fight, Munguia has made an interesting choice for a new trainer, choosing the five time, four division Erik Morales, who while a slam dunk Hall of Famer as a fighter doesn’t necessarily have a lot of experience as a trainer. Morales has trained a number of young fighters in Mexico since his retirement in 2012, with his most notable experience trainer former WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas for his 2015 title fight against Timothy Bradley, where Vargas knocked Bradley down in the final minute in the 12th but walked away with an unanimous decision loss.

What makes the choice of Morales as trainer unique is that both men come from Tijuana, the Mexican border time where Morales is the most celebrated fighter ever in that city. They both come from the roughest and poorest neighborhoods, and they understand each other in a way that fighter and trainer seldom could. It stands to reason that Morales be able to understand and get to Munguia in a way that few trainers could. The other unique thing is that like Munguia, Morales was a tall, long armed boxer who came forward and functioned well at a certain distance. Munguia would do well to fight more from the outside and use his long arms better, which he was not able to do against Hogan.

As for Allotey, who is coming off six straight wins, he employs a typical Ghanian style-hands high, elbows tight, and working behind a jab. He is not the kind of fighter he should offer much in the way of surprises but will always give a solid effort. This will only be his second fight in the United States, but in that fight, he was knocked out by solid Brazilian Patrick Teixeira in just two rounds. Many expect a similar outcome this Saturday against Munguia.

So for Munguia, it will be not as much if he wins, but how he wins. Will he be impressive? Can he get rid of Allotey early, and will he show improvement after two mediocre performances? Will he show the kind of style that he did against Ali and Smith? Most importantly, how we will handle the spotlight of Mexican Independence weekend, at the place known lovingly by boxing fans as “The War Grounds?”

For Mexican and Mexican-American fans, the expectations will be sky high.

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