When it comes to mixed martial arts in China, all roads lead through Andy Pi and the organization he founded, Art of War Fighting Championships (AOW). Mr. Pi is considered the Godfather of MMA in China and his promotion is the Gold Standard for Chinese Mixed Martial Artists hoping to make it in the big time. With a coveted contract on Chinese State Television and polished rock concert-like production values, AOW gives homegrown Chinese fighters a platform to compete against each other and top international fighters from around the world.
“As Chinese athletes continue to embrace MMA the sport is exploding in popularity in China,” says Pi. “As the first and most prestigious Mixed Martial Arts League in China, Art of War is the leading force in the development of Chinese fighting talent. Most of the major Chinese stars making noise in the UFC and in Asia today came through our program. When the Chinese equivalent of Georges St-Pierre, Conor McGregor or Ronda Rousey emerges and takes the sport to the next level in China you can bet that they’ll have come up through our organization.“
Art of War 18, which takes place July 30th at the Olympic sports stadium in Beijing, continues AOW’s tradition of getting bigger and better with each show.
In the Main Event colorful Chinese Grappler Handong Kong will face South Korean Slugger Dawoon Jung. Art of War 18 will also feature the first round of a four-man tournament to crown new AOW Welterweight World Champion. In the first bracket of the Welterweight tournament UFC veteran and Jiu Jitsu specialist Junior Assuncao will fight tough Adam Townsend. In the second bracket Japanese warhorse Yuki Sasaki will face the dreaded Frenchman Tahar Hadbi.
As is its tradition, Art of War 18 also showcases the top Chinese fighters facing off against tough competitors from all over the rest of the world.
Muha Li (China) vs. Martin Akhtar (Sweden)
Xianliang Zheng (China) vs. Fuhito Hasegawa (Japan)
Lijiburen Wu (China) vs. Dong Gyu Kim (South Korea)
Jumayi Ayideng (China) vs. Yuki O’Hara (Japan)
Haoyang He (Taiwan) vs. Marc Guyon (France)
Wu Ge Te Me Ji (China) vs. Marjo Borres (Philippines)
Rige Hu (China) vs. Seng Li (China)
With unparalleled production value and rules that hearken back to the glory days of Asian MMA, Art of War continues to be the dominant driving force behind the growth of MMA in China.
Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) president Ed Soares announced today that the RFA is headed back to Colorado in September. The main event of RFA 43 will feature a battle for the vacant RFA welterweight title. Brian “The Mantis” Camozzi will look to keep the title in Colorado when he battles Nick “The Phoenix” Barnes. RFA 43 – Camozzi vs. Barnes will take place Friday, September 9th at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colorado. The entire main card will be televised live and nationwide on AXS TV at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
“RFA loves coming to Colorado,” stated Soares. “Our welterweight division has a long and exciting history in the state. On Friday, September 9th, Brian Camozzi and Nick Barnes will continue that tradition. I am looking forward to their title fight at RFA 43.”
Tickets for RFA 43 – Camozzi vs. Barnes will be available for purchase at 10:00 am Friday July 15th through AltitudeTickets.com. You can also support your favorite fighter by purchasing your tickets through CageTix.com/RFA. Tickets to RFA 34 start at just $30. VIP tables are available by calling 303-521-0966.
Camozzi (6-2), the younger brother of UFC star Chris Camozzi, was quick to let the world know that their are two world class fighters in the family when he made his RFA debut in January. “The Mantis” became the first man to finish Tyler Milner and he did so in 80 seconds at RFA 34. Camozzi then kicked off the main card of one of the most stacked cards of the year in April. Camozzi proceeded to showcase his dynamic striking prowess with UFC President Dana White sitting cageside at RFA 37. Camozzi knocked out Kenn Glenn with a flying knee that made White, former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra, and current UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler jump to their feet in excitement. Camozzi now returns home to Colorado looking for championship gold.
Barnes (11-1) will be the man looking to spoil Camozzi’s homecoming party. “The Phoenix” rose to the top of the RFA welterweight division last month with a dominant Unanimous Decision victory over dangerous submission specialist Jose Diaz at RFA 38. Barnes is a resident of southern California, but he will be returning home to the Rocky Mountain region as he is a native of Rock Springs, Wyoming. UFC President Dana White was also sitting cageside for Barnes’ last fight, which gives him firsthand knowledge on the skills that both men will be bringing to this title fight. It is safe to say that this bout will be monitored closely by influential people with added interest in September.
The co-main event of RFA 43 will feature a showdown between two of the RFA’s most promising middleweight prospects. Adam Stroup (10-3) is a homegrown talent from Denver that will be looking to put on a show for his hometown crowd in the Mile High City. The regional champion will look to position himself for an eventual RFA title shot with a win over a former two-time RFA title challenger. That would come in the form of Gabriel “Zangief” Checco (9-2). The Brazilian powerhouse has two highlight reel finishes to his credit in the RFA. The first was a blistering 74-second knockout of Joseph Henle at RFA 23 and the second was a beautiful Triangle-Armbar submission of Mike Jasper at RFA 31. The BJJ black belt now heads to enemy territory to face Stroup in a high-stakes middleweight match up.
The featured bantamweight bout at RFA 43 will feature two wildly popular prospects that have endeared themselves to the MMA universe for two different, but equally impressive reasons. Boston “Boom Boom” Salmon (5-0) has fought his entire career for the RFA, he is currently tied for the most wins in RFA history, and he has won four of those bouts with devastating knockouts. The Hawaiian fighter, who trains in Las Vegas, has also become a local favorite in Colorado by winning three of his bouts in the Mile High City. He will now return to the Rocky Mountains looking to retain his perfect record and exact a little revenge on the man who upset his teammate last fall in Las Vegas.
That would be Colorado’s own Zac “The Anointed Warrior” Riley (4-3), who upset Salmon’s previously undefeated Hawaiian teammate Shai Lindsey in a bout that Riley took on 48 hours’ notice at RFA 31. Riley followed up his 59-second Triangle Choke win over Lindsey with an even more impressive win over the heavily favored Hugo “Wolverine” Viana in January. Viana was a six-time UFC vet and semi-finalist on the first season of the UFC’s hit reality show The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. Viana entered the bout with Riley as a staggering 20 to 1 favorite. What happened inside the cage at RFA 34 would shock the world. This was not the result of a lucky punch or quick submission either. Riley battered the heavy favorite en route to a dominant Unanimous Decision. Zac Riley (+1000) over Hugo Viana (-2000) is currently the second biggest upset victory in MMA history. Riley now looks to show the world that history likes to repeat itself when he steps inside the cage as an underdog.
The full RFA 43 fight card and further information regarding this event will be announced soon. RFA 43 will be the promotion’s eighth event to take place in the state of Colorado and the second RFA event to be held in the “Centennial State” this year. The entire main card of RFA 43 – Camozzi vs. Barnes will be televised live and nationwide on AXS TV at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT on Friday, September 9th.
Bellator MMA is heading back to the “Lone Star State,” where a heavyweight bout pitting Cheick Kongo (24-10-2) against Tony Johnson (10-2) will serve as the main event of “Bellator 161: Kongo vs. Johnson,” which takes place on September 16 at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Texas, and will air LIVE and FREE on SPIKE.
The Scott Coker-led promotion will be holding its first-ever event at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, which is just a short drive from Austin. Tickets for “Bellator 161: Kongo vs. Johnson” starting at $25 can be purchased at Bellator.com, Ticketmaster, or the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park Box Office starting next Friday, July 29 with an exclusive Bellator Nation pre-sale running the Wednesday and Thursday prior. Additional contests will be announced in the coming weeks.
Hailing from Paris, Kongo will enter the cage for the ninth time under the direction of Bellator MMA and make his third consecutive appearance in a card’s main event. An 18-fight veteran of the UFC, Kongo hopes to add to his current two-fight winning streak and 6-2 mark since joining the Viacom-owned promotion back in 2013. Standing 6 foot 4, Kongo will have a noticeable height advantage over his shorter opponent. With half of his 24 career wins coming by way of knockout, Kongo will also attempt to finish Johnson for the first time of his professional career.
A native of North Platte, Nebraska, Johnson has strung together an impressive streak of three straight victories, including two in a row since re-joining the Bellator MMA fray. After making his professional debut in 2008, the 30-year-old made his Bellator MMA debut with a unanimous decision win over Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis at “Bellator 46.” Since challenging current UFC Champion Daniel Cormier in 2010, Johnson has gone 6-1 with three knockout finishes, including noteworthy victories over Alexander Volkov and most recently Raphael Butler, during “Bellator 148: Daley vs. Uhrich” earlier this year.
Shevchenko lost a three-round unanimous decision to Nunes at UFC 196 on March 5, the same night that Holly Holm lost the bantamweight belt to Miesha Tate in the UFC 196 main event. Nunes went on to defeat Tate at UFC 200 on July 9 to capture the title.
With a dominant five-round decision win over Holm at UFC on FOX 20 on Saturday night, Shevchenko believes that she is ready to rematch Nunes, this time for the belt.
“This is what I want so much. This fight with Amanda that I had before, she won not because she was more stronger than me. I think because I gave her opportunity to win the fight,” Shevchenko said at the UFC on FOX 20 post-fight press conference.
Even before the post-fight press conference was over, however, Nunes had already commented on Twitter, saying, “If I fight (Shevchenko) again, I will beat her again, this time very clean.”
Nunes also had an alternative plan for Shevchenko, saying that she felt Shevchenko needed to “prove herself a little more,” suggesting that she should fight Julianna Pena for the right to fight for the title.
— Amanda Nunes (@Amanda_Leoa) July 24, 2016
Asked about Nunes’ tweets during the press conference, Shevchanko responded with a wry smile.
“(Nunes) is definitely scared. I’m ready for five rounds for sure,” said Shevchenko. “I will take whoever I need to fight next, but I think she is definitely scared.”
UFC officials have yet to say what the plan is for Nunes’ first title defense, but there are few logical contenders in line. Ronda Rousey is guaranteed a title shot upon her return, according to UFC president Dana White, but thus far, her return is still up in the air. Outside of Rousey, all the other top contenders outside of Pena and Shevchenko are coming off of losses.
While Nunes may think that Pena vs. Shevchenko is a logical match-up, that likely doesn’t sit well with Pena, who was calling for a shot at the belt after her victory over Cat Zingano at UFC 200.
“I’m 7-0 (in the UFC, including The Ultimate Fighter),” she said. “I don’t know what else I have to do. I’m ready to fight for the title, and I’m ready to go and get what’s mine.”
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She was choked out in her first title defense against Miesha Tate four months later at UFC 196 in March.
On Saturday, Holm faced Valentina Shevchenko in the UFC on Fox 20 main event at the United Center in Chicago. Entering the fight hoping to rebound from her first career MMA loss, Holm was defeated for a second time.
“I know that I’m capable of more than I showed tonight,” said an emotional Holm during the event’s post-fight press conference. “I know I’m capable of more. I just need to believe in myself more.
“It wasn’t great tonight,” she said of her performance. “I just need to believe in my ability.”
In her last two outings, Holm has been conservative in her attack. It’s something that she recognizes and plans to quickly correct.
“I believe in myself. I just have to believe in what I’ve learned recently, and not be so hesitant at everything that’s coming at me,” she said.
Even with the loss, Holm has potential big fights on the horizon. She could rematch Tate, who is coming off of a loss to Amanda Nunes. She could rematch Rousey, who is coming of the loss to Holm. “Rowdy” is expected to return at some point in the future.
Suffering back-to-back losses, Holm doesn’t feel like she’s in any position to be able to dictate who she’ll face next.
“Coming off of two losses — I’ve never even been in this situation before — I personally feel… I don’t really feel like I’m in a place to choose,” said the former champion. “I think I just need to take whatever opportunities that they give me.”
(Photos courtesy of UFC)
After being outpointed by Angela Lee on her ONE Championship debut, Mei Yamaguchi returns to the cage in Macau next month. The Japanese atomweight will be taking on Brazilian Istela Nunes in a fight which could well turn out to be a title eliminator.
Yamaguchi (15-9-1) won the Deep-Jewels 105-Pound Grand Prix last year and was rewarded with a shot at the inaugural ONE atomweight title. She went to war with Lee, but after five action-packed rounds, it was the Singaporean who was awarded the decision.
Rumors of a rematch started to circulate immediately with ONE Championship top brass confirming that a second fight between Lee and Yamaguchi was a possibility. However, the Japanese fighter will have to get past a Brazilian newcomer first.
Nunes (4-0-0-1) will be making her promotional debut, but comes from a Muay Thai background and scored a highlight-reel, head-kick knockout in her last fight. She is nine years younger than Yamaguchi and will have a significant reach advantage.
The Brazilian is a veteran of over 50 Muay Thai fights, but is significantly less experienced than her opponent in MMA terms. She made her debut less than a year ago, while Yamaguchi has been fighting professionally since 2007.
Their fight will be one of nine on the card at ONE: Heroes of the World. The card is set for the Cotai Arena in Macau and will be headlined by an interim flyweight title bout between former champion Adriano Moraes and Andrew Leone.
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(Video courtesy of AXS TV Fights | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)
In her mixed martial arts debut tonight, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Mackenzie Dern (1-0) dominated Kenia Rosas (0-1) for three rounds to win a unanimous decision victory (30-27, 30-26, 30-25) on AXS TV FIGHTS: LEGACY FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP 58, meanwhile Robert Drysdale (7-0, 1 NC) won the Legacy Light Heavyweight Title catching Ryan Spann (9-3) in a rear naked choke in round two.
- Main Event – Light Heavyweight Title Fight – Robert Drysdale (7-0, 1 NC) choked out Ryan Spann (9-3) at 2:58 in round two.
- Co-Main Event – Lightweight Fight – Josh Quayhagen (9-5) won a unanimous decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) over Rey Trujillo (20-16)
- Strawweight Fight – Mackenzie Dern (1-0) defeated Kenia Rosas (0-1) by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-25).
- Bantamweight Fight – Cody Williams (10-6) caught Ryan Hollis (11-10) in head and arm choke to win by submission at 4:35 in round two.
- Lightweight Fight – Matt Mooney (5-2) landed an armbar 14 seconds into the first round to defeat Gage Duhon (7-3).
- Middleweight Fight – Brendan Allen (4-1) scored a submission victory over CJ Hancock (2-1) at 1:54 in round two.
Former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm stepped inside the Octagon for the first time since losing the belt on Saturday against Valentina Shevchenko in the UFC on Fox 20 main event at the United Center in Chicago. Check out the video highlights from the bout.
(Video courtesy of UFC on FOX | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)
The Ultimate Fighting Championship made its annual trek to Chicago on Saturday for UFC on FOX 20: Holm vs. Shevchenko.
While the main event was a competitive, technical battle between two high-level strikers, Holly Holm and Valentina Shevchenko, neither captured one of the $50,000 post-fight bonuses.
The other Performance of the Night honor went to Eddie Wineland, who scored a third-round technical knockout of Frankie Saenz in their preliminary bout headliner.
Jason Knight and Jim Alers fought to a split-decision that favored Knight, but earned them the Fight of the Night award. Each man secured a $50,000 bonus for his efforts.
The big winners and marquee fighters from the UFC on Fox: Holm vs. Shevchenko fight card fielded questions from the media following Saturday’s event at the United Center in Chicago. Hear what the fighters had to say about their wins or losses and find out who earned the coveted fighter bonuses.
(Video courtesy of UFC)
Former UFC multi-division contender Chael Sonnen appeared on AXS TV’s ‘Inside MMA’ on Friday, where he spoke candidly about a number of subjects.
Watch Sonnen as he discusses changes in the UFC since the United States Anti-Doping Agency began testing fighters, if he will return to fighting, what he thinks about UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt’s demands following his UFC 200 opponent Brock Lesnar’s positive drug tests, and much more in this extended version of his interview here.
(Courtesy of AXS TV Fights | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)
The Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to Chicago on Saturday for UFC on FOX 20: Holm vs. Shevchenko.
This was the promotion’s fifth UFC on FOX event in the Windy City. Headlined by a bantamweight battle between Holly Holm and Valentina Shevchenko, the fight card drew 10,287 fans to the United Center, producing a gate of $1 million, according to Dave Sholler, UFC Vice President of Public Relations.
While both women are accomplished strikers, Shevchenko’s blend of kickboxing led her to a five-round unanimous-decision victory over the former UFC bantamweight champion.
Shevchenko’s only loss in the Octagon was to current champion Amanda Nunes, so she’s hoping that the victory helps lead her to a rematch, this time with the belt on the line.
Valentina Shevchenko elevated herself to contender status and sent former champ Holly Holm back to the drawing board with a unanimous-decision victory in the UFC on FOX 20 main event on Saturday night at the United Center in Chicago.
Holm and Shevchenko both entered the bout looking to get back on track. Holm was coming off of losing her bantamweight championship to Miesha Tate at UFC 196 in March. Shevchenko lost to current champion Amanda Nunes on that same fight card.
Shevchenko started strong, landing a stiff jab and solid inside leg kicks, but Holm was the first to make an impact, dropping Shevchenko with a straight right hand about two minutes into the opening round.
Shevchenko immediately recovered, but she spent much of the rest of the round in the clinch with Holm, her back to the fence, eating knees to the midsection and thigh.
Round two swung much more into Shevchenko’s favor. While she didn’t dominate, she edged ahead of Holm in the striking game, landing several low kicks, and getting her jab going. Late in the round, Shevchenko countered a Holm low kick with a spinning backfist, which was quickly followed by a couple leg kicks.
Shevchenko kept building momentum in the third frame. Holm tried to start opening her up with multiple leg kicks, but Shevchenko landed several of her own, and continued to counter well with her jab and lead right hook.
Shevchenko caught a Holm kick and drove her to the canvas, but Holm again was quick to regain her feet, clinching as she did. This time, however, Shevchenko caught Holm off balance and drove her backwards, onto her back, landing in half guard. She maintained control, if doing little damage, for the final couple minutes of round three.
Holm looked desperate in the fourth frame. She kept pressing forward, taking a lot of chances with her kicking combinations, but few of them landed, while Shevchenko did a great job timing her jab, and frequently countered with the jab and low kicks.
The fifth round put a stamp on the fight for Shevchenko, as she opened with several stinging jabs. Holm never backed down, but the harder she pressed forward, the more chances she took trying to find a way to get to Shevchenko, the more Shevchenko made her pay with counter jabs and the counter lead right hook.
Only gaining momentum as the final round wound down, midway through the frame, Shevchenko landed a spinning hook kick, then continued to pick Holm apart with her jab and lead right hook.
Shevchenko put on a masterful striking performance, and the judges rewarded her for it with a unanimous-decision victory.
With her record now standing at 12-2 with her only loss in the Octagon being to the current champion, Shevchenko, of course, wants a rematch, this time with the belt on the line.
“Amanda, she is a good fighter. She has good standing, good ground game,” said Shevchenko, before adding, “and of course, I want rematch for Nunes, Amanda, for the title belt.”
(Photo courtesy of UFC)
Lightweight contenders Edson Barobza and Gilbert Melendez squared off in the UFC on Fox 20: Holm vs. Shevchenko co-main event on Saturday at the United Center in Chicago. Check out the video highlights from the 155-pound showdown.
(Video courtesy of UFC on FOX | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)
Heading into the fight, Melendez said that he had something to prove after losing back-to-back fights for the first time in his 14-year mixed martial arts career. He hadn’t fought since June 2015 due to testing positive for exogenous origin of testosterone metabolites following his UFC 188 split decision loss to current champion Eddie Alvarez.
Barbara’s speed, footwork and kicks proved too much for Melendez. Barboza delivered leg kick after leg kick while defending off Melendez’ takedown attempts.
Melendez’ best moment of the fight came in the second round when he clipped Barboza with a right hand and briefly had the Brazilian stunned. Barboza recovered and ended the frame by securing a takedown and delivering heavy right hands.
The story of the fight was Barboza’s damaging leg kicks. He pounded his shin into the lead leg of Melendez throughout the contest. Melendez was knocked down by leg kicks twice and was forced to change stances. By the end of the fight, Melendez wasn’t putting much weight on his left leg. He was limping and the bruising was clearly visible.
Barboza headed into the fight expecting a war. He got a pretty one-sided decision instead.
“When my manager talked about this fight, the first thing in my mind was, man, it’s going to be a big war. I did my best. Thank God I was able to get my kicks off, and thank God one more win,” he said after the decision victory.
With the win, Barboza inches up the 155-pound ladder a step closer to title contention. He wants a fight against one of the top three in the division for his next outing. He’d like to face Khabib Nurmagomedov, Rafael dos Anjos or Tony Ferguson next.
“I feel very close to the title shot,” he said. “I’m thinking my next fight should be five rounds.”
Heavyweights Francis Ngannou and Bojan Mihajlovic threw down on the UFC on Fox 20 main card at the United Center in Chicago on Saturday. Check out the fight highlights.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) July 24, 2016
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(Click on the fight below and then scroll down to see in-fight live analytics and the latest results, courtesy of Fight Analytics. The first fight is scheduled to begin on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. PT.)UFC on FOX 20: Holm vs. Shevchenko Live Results