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Combat Sports Weekend Preview for December 8-10, 2017

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It seemed that last week could get no busier for combat sports fans, but this weekend is a MONSTER for combat sports fans, and multiplied that we have a little bit of EVERYTHING. From the return of Invicta to UFC’s debut in Fresno; from the return of Evolve to the last WWE PPV of the year; to the return of kickboxing’s biggest star and boxing going head to head on HBO and ESPN  get your popcorn-and DVR’s ready.

Friday, December 8, 2017

MMA

Invicta FC 26 — Scottish Rite Temple — Kansas City, Missouri — 8 p.m. ET (UFC Fight Pass)

Everyone’s favorite all female MMA promotion makes its return to its home arena this Friday night for the culmination of ‘Women’s Week’ on UFC Fight Pass. While female flyweights have become all the rage lately, with both UFC and Bellator crowning champions in the past month, Invicta has showcased the 125-pound women for years now, and in the main event of this show will see the Invicta FC flyweight champion Brazilian Jennifer Maia (14-4-1, 2-2 Invicta) return from a fifteen-month layoff to face undefeated Polish contender Aga Niedzwiedz (10-0, 2-0 Invicta).

Niedzwiedz has fought all over the world and has looked excellent in Invicta with wins over Christine Stanley and Vanessa Porto. Maia, out of the famed Chute Box gym in Brazil, is on a five-fight winning streak, but you have to wonder if that long layoff has killed her momentum and how she will handle an aggressive young challenger like Niedzwiedz.

The co-feature will be an equally interesting fight as multiple time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion, Mackenzie Dern (4-0), will make her Invicta debut against veteran Kaline Medeiros (8-5, 2-1 Invicta). Due to her combination of pedigree and looks, Dern has emerged as maybe the top prospect of all of women’s MMA, but she has had trouble making the 115-pound weight limit in both Jiu-Jitsu and MMA. While her height and reach probably make this the weight class for her, her battle with the scale is sure to make fans as anxious as the fight. Medeiros is a tough veteran who hasn’t fought since losing a five-round battle to then Invicta FC Strawweight Champion Angela Hill thirteen months ago. She certainly represents the toughest opponent of Dern’s MMA career.

The rest of the card has some interesting matchups as well. Also at 125 lbs, Brazilian veteran Vanessa Porto (18-8, 3-4 Invicta) will try to rebound from two straight losses against Russian UFC vet Milana Dudieva (11-6, 0-1 Invicta), who has lost three in a row. At 115 lbs , Brazilian standout Virna Jandiroba (11-0) will make her US debut versus the tough Amy Montenegro (8-2, 2-1 Invicta) and at 105 lbs, Texan Tessa Simpson (5-2, 1-1 Invicta) will met Amber Brown (6-4, 3-3 Invicta), who is attempting to rebound of three tough losses. Invicta usually delivers no matter who is on the card and expect them to do so again to close out the year.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Bellator 190 Saturday — Nelson Mandela Hall — Florence, Italy — 9 p.m ET (Spike TV)

Bellator MMA will head to their fourth different country in the last month, this time landing in Italy, a market that have been cultivating for several years now. The main event will see Bellator Middleweight Champion Rafael Carvalho (14-1, 5-0 Bellator) defending his title for the third time against Italian fighting pioneer and UFC veteran Alessio Sakara (19-11 1 NC, 2-0 Bellator).

Carvalho is one of the best kept secrets in MMA, a tall middleweight at 6’3 who hasn’t lost his since being submitted in his pro debut in December 2011 and has knocked out eleven of his fourteen opponents. He overcame being dominated in the first round and enduring one of the tightest arm triangles you will ever see from the undefeated Brandon Halsey, only to stop Halsey with a single body kick in the second round to win the vacant Bellator title in October 2015. Carvalho was gifted one of the most fortunate decisions you’ll ever see against Melvin Manhoef in May 2016, but bounced back to stop Manhoef with a headkick in their rematch in April.

Sakara, who went 6-8 with 1 NC in a UFC run then stretched from 2005 to 2013, has had his validity as a title challenger questioned by several, but is 2-0 with a pair of knockout wins since joining the promotion in 2016. Honestly, he is in this fight probably because the promotion wants a full house in Florence and who came blame them. If anything, it’s a big opportunity for Carvalho to get a good win and build some momentum, as some big fights could be awaiting the winner. One has to think that recent signee Gegard Mousasi will be fighting for this title and if he can get by Douglas Lima on January 20, Rory McDonald will also be gunning for the champion. It’s a valuable fight to win for both men.

In the co-feature, Ukrainian kickboxer Lena Ovchynnikova (12-4, 2-1 Bellator) will face promotional newcomer Alejandra Lara of Columbia (6-1) in a very interesting fight that may put the winner in line for a flyweight title shot. Also that night, Bellator vet Brandon Girtz (14-7, 6-5 Bellator) will try to rebound from three straight losses and a war with Derek Campos against debuting Croatian Luka Jelcic (10-2) who comes from the SGB camp in Ireland. Hopefully, Conor doesn’t come running into the cage this time.

Kickboxing

Glory 49: Redemption — Rotterdam Ahoy-Rotterdam, The Netherlands — 10 a.m. ET/3p.m. ET (UFC Fight Pass/UFC PPV)

The premier kickboxing organization in the world presents their biggest card of the year, a monster of an event featuring a lightweight tournament and a middleweight title fight, among other marquee bouts, all culminated by their biggest star fighting in the main event.

Glory heavyweight Champion Rico Verhoeven (52-10, 15-1 Glory), amid a career year will defend his title for the sixth time against Jamal Ben Siddik (32-6, 7-4 Glory), a 6’9 monster who is one of two men to have stopped Verhoeven. Rico has emerged as the face of Glory, going on an eight-fight winning streak and losing once in only four years, including stopping rival Badi Hari last December and flattening former UFC heavyweight title challenger Bigfoot Silva in October. Siddik stopped the Dutchman in his home country six years ago and has won four fights in a row. It’s about as a big of a fight as can be made in kickboxing right now. There is a reason that the UFC is putting on PPV. It’s big, and it should produce fireworks.

MMA

UFC Fresno — Save Mart Center — Fresno, California — Prelims, 6:30 PM/10 PM ET (UFC Fight Pass/FS1)

The UFC makes its debut at the Save Mart Center is Fresno, an old Strikeforce stronghold which has gained prominence recently in combat sports as the home of upcoming junior welterweight contender Jose Ramirez. While the UFC won’t bring as strong of a card as usual, they will bring an excellent main event as top featherweight contender Cub Swanson (25-7, 10-3 UFC) faces the surging Brian Ortega (12-0, 5-0 UFC).

Swanson has been an excellent run, winning four fights in a row after back to back stoppage losses to Frankie Edgar and Max Holloway, including the 2016 Fight of the Year against Doo Ho Choi and a record-setting performance against Artem Lobov in April. Cub looks to be one win away from a title shot and many hoped that he would get the shot at Holloway that went to Jose Aldo when Edgar dropped out. But it appears he will have to bear Ortega first. Ortega is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ace and former RFA featherweight champion who is one of the best kept secrets in the UFC, and is coming off an excellent win over Renato Moicano in July at UFC 214. Ortega owns one of the most mind-boggling stats in sports right now — his last four wins come by third round stoppage.

This is Ortega’s first main event; he has gone five rounds before, but it does remain to be seen how he will handle the moment. Swanson has been there before, and he is undoubtedly the better striker. But if Ortega gets Swanson on the ground, it will get interesting real fast.

The rest of the card is a little weak on marquee fighters. The co-main will be Jason Knight, who has emerged as one of the best young action fighters in the sport, facing Gabriel Benítez. A big bantamweight bout will pit seventh ranked Aljamain Sterling against ninth ranked Marlon Maraes in what could be a great fight. The prelims will be headlined by two former bantamweight title challengers dropping down to flyweight, as Liz Carmouche will be facing Alexis Davis. The two will be very evenly matched, but you have to wonder how the muscled Carmouche will handle that weight cut.

Also at bantamweight, Luke Sanders tries to rebound against late replacement Andre Soukhamthath in what could be a fun fight, while Serra Longo product Merab Dvalishvili makes his UFC debut against Frankie Saenz. Merab is the latest product from Dana White: Looking For A Fight. The UFC Fight Pass portion of the card will be headlined TUF Latin America winner Alejandro Perez trying to overtake veteran Iuri Alcantara.

Boxing

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN — The Theatre at Madison Square Garden — 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)

There are some fights that you rejoice when they are made, because they guarantee to be a good, exciting fight to watch. Then there’s another fight you are happy gets made simply because that means people will shut the hell up about it. The main event of this card is one of the latter.

Top Rank’s latest offering on the Worldwide Leader will feature Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs), one of the best fighters pound for pound in the world today, defending his WBO junior lightweight title versus WBA junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs) in what has been talked about by some (HUGE emphasis on some) as dream match for years, and when you look at on paper, it’s very understandable.

After all, this fight is unprecedented in all of combat sports as for the very first time, we will see two two-time Olympic Gold Medalists face against each other. These two men have a combined eight hundred amateur fights with only a handful of losses between them. For so-called boxing purists, this fight has been desired since the Lomachenko turned pro.

But Rigondeaux has the most boring style of boxing imaginable and has been persona non grate’ on HBO since he literally cleared the arena with his fight with Joseph Agbeko in December 2013. This is one of the reasons that Rigondeaux has fought only four times in the ensuing four years. One of those fights saw him get dropped twice by the unheralded Hisashi Amagasa before Rigondeaux rallied in the eleventh. The Cuban has only fought one round in the past eighteen months, is now thirty-seven years old, and will be moving up two weight classes for this fight.

Meanwhile, Lomachenko has been one of the busiest world-class fighters in boxing. He has won eight fights in a row, the last six fights by stoppage. He has scarcely been touched in his last three fights, all against world-class competition, and is adding harder punching to his excellent footwork and upper body movement.

For whatever reasons, many fight writers are picking Rigondeaux, which is totally asinine to me. Lomachenko is bigger, stronger, faster, fresher, young, and more active. This fight feels totally unnecessary, but at least everyone will shut up about this.

The undercard, as is becoming a trend for Top Rank on ESPN, is not strong. But it does have some of Top Rank’s exciting up-and-coming stars. Ireland’s 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist Michael Conlan (4-0, 4 KOs) faces Argentinean Luis Fernando Molina (7-3-1, 2 KOs). 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist Shakur Stevenson of the United States (3-0, 1 KO) will face Oscar Mendoza (4-2, 2 KOs). And Mikayla Mayer (2-0, 2 KOs), another 2016 US Olympian, will face Nydia Feliciano.

HBO Boxing After Dark — Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino—  Las Vegas, Nevada — 10:20 p.m. ET (HBO)

This is the second time that HBO has gone head to head with Top Rank on ESPN and given that this card of full of fights in the 130-pound division   and Loma/Rigo is in the same weight division — this feels like deliberate counter programming.

The main event pits three-time world champion Orlando Salido (44-13-4, 31 KOs), the only man to defeat Lomachenko, against Micky Roman (57-12, 44 KOs) in a battle of Mexican brawlers. There isn’t a lot of analysis needed for this fight. Both guys are classic Mexican brawlers who are going to come straight each other and brawl. Salido has more top-level experience and power, but Roman is a little bulldozer and Salido has proven vulnerable, especially early in the fight. Roman has won nineteen out of twenty, but has yet to win on the top level. The winner of this fight will get a title fight against the excellent WBC titleholder Miguel Bercholt, so there is a lot of a line.

We will get something completely different in the co-feature, as Philadelphia’s Tevin Farmer (25-4-1, 5 KOs) will be facing unheralded Japanese star Kenichi Ogawa (22-1, 17 KOs) for the IBF junior lightweight title that was vacated by Gervonta Davis. After a rough start to his career, Farmer has won eighteen in a row, and is the rare fighter who is entertaining with his defense skills. He also seems to be punching harder in recent fights and though he is rebounding from getting shot in July (not kidding), he is a great position to win his first world title. This is Ogawa’s first fight outside of Japan and he has won fourteen fights in a row, but he is taking a big step up and competition and has never faced anyone with Farmer’s style.

The opener will be another brawl as former WBC junior lightweight champion Francisco Vargas (23-1, 17 KOs) fighting for the first time since losing his title to Bercholt in January against Stephen Smith Jr. (25-3, 15 KOs) of England, one of England’s fighting Smith family. Vargas has been off for ten months, but definitely needed the time off to heal his face, as he has garnered so much scar tissue around his eyes in the wars he fought that he needed the time off. Smith is the better boxer, but he may not be able to handle the relentless pressure that Vargas brings. Should be a solid fight to start the show.

Pro Wrestling

Evolve 96 — Elmcor Youth Center — Corona, New York — 8 p.m. ET (WWNLive.com)

Evolve returns this Saturday for the first night of a doubleheader and their final shows of the year. This show will be headlined with a monster of a matchup as Keith Lee makes his first defense of the WWN Title against Walter, a 6’4, 300-pound monster from Austria who has astonished Europe in the past few years. These two had a great match at PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles this summer and this one could be even better. Also on this night, the Evolve Tag Belts are on the line, as champions Tracy Williams and Jaka will face off with former champions James Drake and Anthony Henry, who briefly held the belts this spring. Another interesting bout pits former WWN Champion Matt Riddle against Fred Yehi, who has had a breakout year, in a match where there will be no rope breaks, which is very significant in a battle of submissions specialists.

This will also be the Evolve return of DJZ as he draws Evolve Champion Zack Sabre Jr, it would should be a crazy matchup. Wow.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Pro Wrestling

Evolve 97 — Melrose Memorial Hall — Melrose, Massachusetts — 7 p.m. ET (WWNLive.com)

The final Evolve card looks to be a great one, as the main event sees Evolve Champion Zack Sabre Jr face Jaka, the third match in a great series these two have had throughout the year. Sabre pinned Jaka at Evolve 87, but Jaka came back to pin Sabre Jr at Evolve 94 in a non-title match. Now they look to settle the score here. Jaka is one of the more underrated guys in America right now and its interesting to see what he can do here.

The co-main will see Matt Riddle face Walter for the first time in the United States, although these two have feuded over of the This Is Progress Atlas Title throughout Europe. Also, the high-flying AR Fox will return to face DJZ, and Keith Lee will face Tracy Williams and Darby Allan in a non-title three-way match that will allow the winner to make any match they want. It’s a great card to end the year for Evolve, who will need all the momentum they can get after a rough 2017.

For more pro wrestling coverage visit FightBoothPW.com

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Wilder v Fury II: Can ‘heart and determination’ conquer raw power?

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It’s long been one of the great debates in sport – the relationship between technical aptitude and self-belief. Are the greatest sportspeople blessed with an inherent talent that guarantees success, or is it the determination and will-to-win that drives them that extra mile? Can sheer resolve and strength of character get the better of mechanical, tried-and-tested excellence?

This is one of the main topics of conversation ahead of the highly-anticipated rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury. The English fighter is the slight favourite in the latest Wilder vs Fury odds, and has been vocal recently in saying that his self-will has the power to overcome an opponent whose record of 42 wins and 41 knockouts is frightening. 

“Statistics don’t lie, he is a much bigger puncher than me, a one-punch knockout artist,” Fury said. “The thing is, I don’t believe anybody can match my heart and determination. I will put my iron will on Deontay Wilder and we will see.”

While even the most uninformed boxing fan recognises Wilder’s superior punching power over Fury, it seemed strange for the Gypsy King, normally so brash and headstrong, to make such a concession – that his opponent is a better puncher. But this is the new Fury – the considered, mature Fury, if such a thing exists. There have been no Batman costumes or karaoke performances in his news conferences ahead of this fight, instead it has been all business with the repeated assertion that he will knock Wilder out in round two. 

Perhaps Wilder’s victory over Luis Ortíz in December will have given Fury more cause for concern than he may have felt initially. While the Cuban dominated Wilder for most of the fight, the WBC heavyweight champion showed exactly why he boasts such a formidable record. After almost seven rounds of tough boxing from Ortíz, one swift right hand from the knockout king left the Cuban sprawled on the canvas. For Fury, his intention will be to dominate proceedings, to use his footwork to get Wilder moving and losing energy. But that threat of a sudden light-extinguishing blow means the Gypsy King will have no margin for losing focus. 

Wilder vs Fury is the ultimate showcase of technical excellence against spirited mentality. Wilder has honed a gift for punching, the like of which boxing has never seen. There is no answer to the irresistible brutality of Wilder’s swing and hit – a crunching cannonball of a right hand that shatters all before it. 

Fury’s hope lies in his belief in his personal journey rather than the physical prowess he embodies. He believes that defeating Wilder is the inevitable next step on his voyage from the depths of depression and self-loathing to a glorious return to boxing’s title-winners. The determination that has driven his recovery continues to give him the belief that he will beat every opponent before him, and Wilder is simply the next man in the way.

On its own you would say that such determination would not be enough against an opponent of Wilder’s class, but such a conclusion would be ignoring the exemplary technical qualities Fury himself possesses. He is as nimble a heavyweight boxer as any in history, light on his feet, able to switch between stances at the drop of the hat, and while his punching power might not be on the same level as Wilder, it has been enough to land him 20 career knockouts. 

On February 22nd we will find out if Wilder is simply a step too far for Fury’s remarkable recovery to his former champion status. Will raw power overcome the singular focus and graft that have defined the Englishman’s return to contention? For those who have risen as Fury has, it takes a lot to knock them down again. 

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Andrade Coasts, Paul Shines, and Titles change hands in Miami

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DAZN hosted a rare Thursday Night card in a makeshift arena at the Gardens in Miami Beach, as the gang at Matchroom Sports hoped to capitalize on thousands of people coming into town for this Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV between the Chiefs and the 49ers.

Most of the hype surrounded the “battle” between YouTubers Jake Paul of the United States and England’s AnEsonGib, and it turned out to be a showcase for the bigger and longer Paul, who painted Gib with repeated left jabs which set up the big right hands that dropped Gib three times in the first round and led referee Chris Young to stop the fight just 2:18 into the first round. It was the pro debut for both rivals, and whatever you want to say about it, the Sugar Shane Mosely trained Paul looked good.

The “main event” saw Demetrious Andrade drop Irishman Luke Keeler twice in the first two rounds and then coast for six rounds before finally stepping on the gas and blasting Keeler with repeated big shots in the ninth, forcing veteran referee Telis Assimenios to stop the fight at 2:59 of Round 9. It was Andrade’s third defense of his title and just another blowout of a fighter that it was below his talent level. It should have lasted three rounds. Instead, the game Irishman hit Andrade quite a bit and allowed to survive till the late rounds. Andrade called out the almost equally frustrating Billie Joe Saunders, the WBO 168 titleholder. They deserve each other.

But before the fluff at the end, boxing fans were treated two quality title fights. The main card of the show opened with an excellent technical battle that saw 2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist Murodjon Akhmadaliev lift the WBA/IBF junior featherweight (122 pounds) from reigning champion Danny Roman by twelve round split decision in just his eighth professional fight.

The fight was very close from round one, as Akhmadaliev came out swinging with big left hands from the southpaw positions. The super technical Roman (27-3-1,10 KOs), fighting out of Los Angeles, attacked the body from Round One and looked to time the young Uzbek with good counter punches. The early rounds were good for Roman, who was more accurate and faster with his punches. Akhmadaliev came back in rounds five and six, only for Roman to crank up his pace in rounds seven and eight.

Many thought the late rounds would belong to the more experienced pro Roman, but Akhmadaliev (8-0, 7 KOs) turned that theory on his head, digging down in the late rounds, continuing throwing hard lefts to the head and body. Throughout the fight, the Uzbek commonly referred to as MJ closed rounds strong, and this was especially in the case in these late rounds. Roman did his best to come back with a strong Round 12 and both men let their hands go in the last twenty-seconds, landing some of their best punches of the fight.

In the end, one judge had it 115-113 for Roman, but the other two had it 115-113 for Akhmadaliev, giving the Uzbek the title in a fight that could have gone either way. Fightbooth actually had it a draw, 114-114. With so many close rounds, a rematch makes sense for both, especially in California, where both men are based. Much was made of how Danny Roman did not have to take this fight against such a ballyhooed prospect, but chose to be a great champion. The result was an excellent fight and a rivalry that we can hope is not over.

The second main card bout saw Joseph Diaz Jr, a 2012 Olympian from the United States, notch a dominant performance to lift the IBF junior lightweight (130 pound) title from Philadelphia’s Tevin Farmer in the culmination of a bitter rivalry between the two men that goes back to last May, when the two had a confrontation at the Canelo Alvarez-Daniel Jacobs fight in Las Vegas.

Diaz was aggressive from Round One, pushing Farmer on the inside and unloading with loads of punches. The second round saw the fighters clash heads, leaving Diaz with a GNARLY cut over his left eyelid, which look to put the fight in jeopardy. Yet Diaz stuck to his task, staying on Farmer and being the busier and more accurate fighter.

Farmer is normally one of the most defensively elusive fighters you will ever see, but in this fight, he chose to languish on the inside, allowing Diaz to have his way on the inside and hit him pretty much as he choose. Farmer claimed to hurt his right hand in the first round, and many believe the same clash of heads that opened the big cut on Diaz’ eye compromised Farmer. The announce team, especially Sergio Mora, made all the excuses for Farmer, but whatever the reason, Farmer fought the wrong fight against Diaz.

Diaz built a big lead with his accurate flurries of punches and somehow, his cut-man managed to keep that eye closed. Farmer may have stolen some late rounds but at the end of the result was clear. The scorecards were 117-111 and 115-113, twice, all of Joseph Diaz Jr. Those last two were wayyy too close.

The win is the culmination of a long journey for Diaz (31-1, 15 KOs), who has been built throughout his career by Golden Boy Promotions for this moment. He was thoroughly outclassed in his first title fight two years ago by Gary Russell Jr and couldn’t make weight for his second title opportunity a few months later. But after a mental health break and some changes, Diaz is finally a world champion. It was a sad end of a title reign for Farmer (30-5-1, 6 KOs), who defended his belt four times in fourteen months and saw an eight year unbeaten streak come to an end.

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Rosario shocks Williams, Seizes titles in Philly

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On a night where the UFC and Conor McGregor took center stage in the combat sports world, Jeison Rosario pulled off an absolute shocker in Philadelphia.

The twenty-four-year-old junior middleweight from the Dominican Republican was seen as a pretty good prospect turned fringe contender and was on a modest six fight winning streak against fairly good opposition. But he was supposed to be simply an opponent for WBA/IBF junior middleweight champion Julian “J-Rock” Williams, who seized the titles from previously undefeated champ Jarrett Hurd last year and was making his first title defense in his hometown of Philadelphia. Williams supposed to beat Rosario and move onto a big fight later this year, either a rematch against Hurd or a unification fight with WBC 154 pound champ Jermell Charlo.

But Rosario upset that apple card last night at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, knocking out Williams in the fifth round of their title fight on a Premier Boxing Champions show broadcasted on big Fox. The +800 underdog, who looked considerably bigger than the reigning champion, showed himself to be an excellent puncher, throwing to both the head and body, and turned one of boxing’s deepest divisions on its head.

Williams came out strong in the first, boxing behind his jab and looking to land his trademark right hand. Rosario responded by upping the pressure in the second and started to get to Williams body. Then with twenty-five seconds left in the round, Rosario changed the fight with a right hand that stopped Williams in his tracks, and seconds later, the champion pawed his eye, revealing the blood that the punch had drawn, and Rosario jumped on him, landing several combinations before the bell.

The Philadelphia fighter did his best to right the ship in the third round, including landing several crunching right hands in the last minute, but Rosario was making it his fight in the fourth round, forcing power punching exchanges and taking away Williams’ excellent jab. Even though Williams was landing slightly more punches, it was clear Rosario had seized the tone of the fight.

The Dominican seized much more in the fifth as a minute into the round, he hurt Williams with a series of monster left hooks. Williams backed into the ropes and Rosario unleashed a two fisted attack that had Williams holding for dear life and seemingly looking for a double leg, sending him slipping to the canvas. Williams rose from his feet, and Rosario was right on him, and a killer right uppercut followed by a big left hook led referee Benji Estevez to stop the fight at 1:37 of Round 5.

The Philly crowd responded with anger, throwing trash into the ring and a riot seemed to be brewing for a moment before order was restored. Philly may be the town of upsets, but they do not like to see their guys lose.

Williams stated after the fight that he had a rematch clause and given how exciting this fight was there is no reason not to have it. As for Rosario, who moved to 20-1-1 and scored his fourteenth knockout, he is now The Man in one of boxing’s better divisions right now, and with size and power, he is a real forced to be reckoned with.

Philadelphia be damned.

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