Ultimate Fighting Championship

Ultimate Fighting Championship

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Ranger Up’s innovative sponsorship tactics are keeping fighters covered in and out of the cage.

Ranger Up

Not too long ago, the MMA landscape was overflowing with sponsorship opportunities. Fighters were covered with logos of the newest clothing lines, equipment brands, and nutritional supplements. But those days are over, with many MMA companies having gone the way of the dot-com boom. We’re now in a time where the MMA sponsorship well has dried up, leading several outspoken fighters to voice their displeasure about not getting paid enough—or at all—from the few consistent sponsors they are able to secure.

One company that has maintained its staying power through this downward spiral is Ranger Up—an apparel brand focused on the unique worldview of those who serve in the Armed Forces. The company was started by military veteran-turned-entrepreneur Nick Palmisciano in 2006.

Palmisciano graduated from West Point in 1998 and served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army from 1998 to 2003. He then attended graduate school at Duke University, where he volunteered with the ROTC, teaching the “Army’s version of MMA and small unit tactics.” It was shortly after graduation when he heard a few of his students complaining about a shortage of cool military apparel, other than those of the “skull and snake” variety. Palmisciano came up with a few t-shirt designs he thought were original and cool and gave them to his students. Surprised by all the positive feedback he received for his creations, Palmisciano decided to brand an apparel line that he named Ranger Up.

Now, Ranger Up is the largest military apparel brand and has grown at such a pace that it was ranked in Internet Retailer’s Second 500 Guide as one of the top 1,000 e-commerce websites in 2012 and 2013. Palmisciano credits much of that success to a loyal Facebook following of more than 200,000—all fans and customers of Ranger Up’s military-themed clothing, which feature the company’s patriotic slogans and creative designs.

Not only has Ranger Up found a unique niche in its clothing and merchandise, the company has also taken a very interesting—and almost unheard of—stance on sponsorship and the fighters they choose to support. They are open to sponsoring any male or female fighter as long as he or she is active or retired in military, law enforcement, firefighting, or EMS capacities—it’s a leave-no-fighter-behind sponsorship philosophy.

“The number of fighters we sponsor hovers around 100,” Palmisciano says. “With only a handful of exceptions, every person has served in uniform—men and women. We invest in people that we believe in, who share our values and believe in us.”

RangerUpNick

Ranger Up’s stable of sponsored fighters who have served in the military include recognizable names such as Tim Kennedy, Brian Stann, Colton Smith, Liz Carmouche, and Jorge Rivera. The company also extends their sponsorship opportunities to fighters competing in smaller organizations and regional circuits, even though the athletes may not generate as much exposure for the company as more well-known fighters.

“Most of the fighters we sponsor won’t ever make sense monetarily, but we don’t care,” says Palmisciano. “When they go out on the local MMA circuit and perform well, it often leads to the guys who look up to them to start training. We like being a part of that—making the military stronger. That’s why we do it.”

Marine and retired mixed martial artist Jonathan Walsh, whose 10-year career was spent competing on the regional circuit in smaller shows, remembers the opportunities Ranger Up provided him, both in and out of the cage.

“During a losing streak, they didn’t drop me,” says Walsh. “They were there to help every time. I came to realize it wasn’t fighting they cared about. It was the fact that I was part of the family, repping the brand with good sportsmanship and pushing it out to everyone I knew at fights, grappling tournaments, and around the bases where I was stationed. After a year out of uniform, I was having a hard time getting ahead. So, I called Nick. We spoke about an idea—a program to help vets become entrepreneurs—that he had been kicking around. He asked if I was interested. I worked at Ranger Up for nine months, taking classes in marketing, finance, and accounting that he created for me. When the nine months were up, they invested in my business—space, mats, weights, the whole nine yards. I am now the proud owner of Five Rings MMA in Jacksonville, North Carolina.”

Most MMA companies are caught up in trying to measure the number of eyeballs that are going to see their logo on a guy’s shorts. Companies are on the record saying they hope for a long fight with their guy on top so their logo gets more exposure. That’s not the case for Palmisciano, and that’s what separates Ranger Up from other MMA brands.

“We’re in business to support those in uniform, literally,” says Palmisciano. “That’s why I started Ranger Up. I had a very lucrative job at a Fortune 100 company. It was never meant to be anything more than a hobby—a way for me to stay connected to service. Now, I’m fortunate that that hobby has grown to a substantial endeavor, but that doesn’t change the ethos or our values. The bigger we get, the more we give back. For us, sponsorship is giving back.”

So, the obvious questions become, how does Ranger Up maintain this model of sponsorship, and what type of financial impact does it have on the company?

“It’s not something that even gets discussed,” says Palmisciano. “You have to understand, we are a company made up of infantrymen, special operators, and Marines. We like a challenge. We’re not looking to make a living and be comfortable. We want to develop an enormous business across multiple product and service lines, employ a ton of veterans, and make a marked difference in the military community.”

For Tim Kennedy and Brian Stann, being Ranger Up fighters is more than having a patch on their shorts or a logo on their shirt.

“At first, they were just a sponsor, albeit a cool sponsor,” Kennedy says. “But one thing that stuck out was that they never pretended to be giant like all the other brands that no longer exist, and I liked that. Over time, they honestly became my family. And that’s why I bought into the company a few years ago. There aren’t too many good organizations anymore. I wanted to be part of something good.”

Ranger Up Office

Stann echoes the same sentiments. “Ranger Up is not really a sponsor in my eyes,” he says. “They are a partner. You help them by being an ambassador for their brand, but they also help market you and your own personal brand. They support their fighters with everything they have, and regardless of the outcome, they support their athletes because of their character, sportsmanship, and effort.”

Not resting on his laurels, Palmisciano has big plans for his company in 2014. “Ranger Up is going to be a product and content powerhouse,” he says. “This past year, we have developed our own animated cartoon, our own line of American-made jeans, and our military news site—the Rhino Den—has cemented its place as the largest military blog in existence. And that pales in comparison to what we have planned for next year. As far as fighters, we plan to sponsor as many of them as apply, so long as they have served honorably, represent themselves as men and women in uniform should, and live up to their obligations.”

For more information on Ranger Up’s merchandise, apparel, and sponsorship opportunities, visit rangerup.com. To become part of the Ranger Up community, join them on Facebook at facebook.com/RangerUpFanPage and make sure to check out their military news blog Rhino Den at rhinoden.rangerup.com.

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Chris Weidman stalks Anderson Silva
Chris Weidman stalks a showboating Anderson Silva. Photo: USA TODAY SPORTS

Chris Weidman stalks Anderson Silva
Chris Weidman stalks a showboating Anderson Silva. Photo: USA TODAY SPORTS

Heavyweight great Floyd Patterson wouldn’t have sex during his training camps before fights, because he believed it weakened the knees. This is a proud fight game deprivation that has been passed down through the centuries. It’s more scientific than a rabbit’s foot, but “Jersey” Joe Walcott carried around a miniature horseshoe just in case. Fighters always have been superstitious. Englishman Charlie Mitchell, it is said, avoided cross-eyed women before a bout. Phobias like that are a dime a dozen.

Yet, New York’s Jake LaMotta had no use for charms and no fear of crook-eyed women. Back in the day, he even laughed at Patterson’s forced celibacy on a televised roundtable with him. To a no-nonsense New Yorker, a fight hinges on getting in there and fighting. That’s it. And that’s the sort of cloth that Long Island’s Chris Weidman is cut from.

On the eve of his historic fight with the UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva, Weidman was in bed. He had read some inspirational texts and was sleeping away the last Friday night before his life would change. For weeks leading up, he insisted the pressure that comes with fighting for the belt wouldn’t bog him down. He wouldn’t disappear in the moment, he said, wouldn’t let doubt creep in. He told FIGHT! two months prior in New York, “I have a refuse-to-lose attitude.” That sort of projection seemed admirable from a distance, but also increasingly unrealistic as the thing drew near. Even for a guy with a degree in psychology, as Weidman has, it’s hard to stay raveled when the boogieman of the division looms ahead—when posters of Silva and yourself are everywhere you look in Las Vegas. The immensity of that moment can do things to a man.

But by Friday night, he’d been hit with the worst of it already. He’d gotten through the weigh-ins and all the boom mics and recorders and the bombardment of familiar questions. He dealt with the doubts—all of them transferrable from the tone of the questions—and absorbed the “dead man walking” looks. He’d strolled by Silva and his monstrous entourage many times, coolly ignoring the archipelago of yellow and black shirts that moved through the throngs at the MGM to wild chants.

Even when he and Silva went lips-to-lips in the weigh-in stare down, he smiled and joked about the unexpected softness of the Champ’s sweet kiss. He had been a good sport.

Now, he was fast asleep in a town that doesn’t sleep, with only one thing left to do—get up tomorrow and take out the number one pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.

His trainer, Ray Longo, wasn’t sleeping, because it’s left to the closest people in a fighter’s camp to do the worrying. He came downstairs for a quick drink at the Rouge Bar in the MGM Grand, a little Grey Goose and grapefruit. He’d been with Weidman throughout the night…throughout the cut…throughout the week…throughout his entire run through the UFC…all the way back to when the young Hofstra wrestler was dragged into Longo’s by a friend that insisted Longo check him out.

“He’s homegrown,” Longo says. “He grew up with me.”

Now, here he was—here they were—on the cusp of greatness.
Again.

First, there was Matt Serra in Houston at UFC 69, knocking off Georges St-Pierre in what’s still considered the greatest upset in UFC history. Serra was a local boy from Longo’s, just like Weidman. Nobody thought Serra would beat St-Pierre, other than Longo and Serra. With Weidman, it was different. People were split. Some believed he had the tools to take out the UFC’s longest running champion, but others were convinced he’d get his ass handed to him. Silva was 16-0 in the UFC, after all, and “has a highlight reel as long as Long Island,” as Longo says. Weidman was green and hadn’t fought in more than a year. Even Longo had to consider both sides. “There’s a chance we go in there and he makes us look stupid,” he said. “We won’t know until we’re in there with him.”

“Do you like this feeling, the night before a title fight like this?” I ask him.

“I do love this feeling,” he says. “He’s ready. I really think he is. He’s so strong. I want to say, if he gets a hold of Anderson’s neck, it’s over, man. This kid is so strong.”

“What did you see on the tapes of the other guys fighting Anderson?”

“That they aren’t Chris,” he says. “Weidman’s not those guys—that’s the difference. He’s really not those guys.”

“What happens when Silva drops his hands and does that thing that Silva does, where he switches modes and goes berserker?”

“When he does that, he leaves his hips open and his body open, and I’ve told Chris to punch a hole in his chest,” Longo says. “That’s another way of saying, start at the body, finish at the head. I think Anderson doesn’t realize just how long this guy’s reach is. He did that to Forrest, and Forrest just couldn’t hit him.” Here he looks up with those glassy blue eyes. “This kid—this kid will put a tracking device on his head and he’ll catch him.”

Of course, days later, Longo admits he was a nervous wreck at the bar, and the rest of the night. And he’s nervous because he feels accountable for Weidman. Here’s a kid being scrutinized by every pundit and casual fan in the country. There’s a whole Fan Expo built around the event he is headlining.

But Longo knows what he knows, about Weidman’s strength, his stand-up ability, his wrestling, his grappling, his poise, and his desire. He knows he won’t break mentally. But knowing and hoping are interchangeable the night before the event. The possibilities are of all kinds, not just those you feel good contemplating. There’s a very real possibility that this moment is the closest Chris Weidman will ever get to the sun.

“I just really want to see this kid do good,” Longo says. “Not for me, but for him. If anything goes wrong, I’ll definitely take it personal. I know we put the work in and everything, but it’s MMA, and anything can happen. I really just want to see the best for him.”

The anticipation of the fight overrides everything. Longo talks about “the kiss,” and chuckles, and about how behind the curtain before coming out to weigh-in, Silva walked up behind Weidman right to the back of his head and stood there, as if to intimidate. “I thought, what is this, kindergarten?” he laughs. “Just playing head games.” With all the things going on, with Brazilian and American fans everywhere, and the UFC handing out towels of those countries to fans in attendance, Longo finishes his drink and says, “It really has a feel of Us against Them.”

On fight night, Longo will show up with his father’s ID bracelet from the Navy, just like he always does. “I’m a whack job,” he says. “I have some superstitions. Nothing that will make me stop what I’m going to do, but things that make me feel better.”

And somewhere, Silva had a couple of Big Macs (or maybe Whoppers now that he’s sponsored by Burger King). That has long been his ritual before a fight. Everybody has their thing.

*****

“I guarantee you the second time around Weidman’s going to beat him worse than the first time.”

Striking coach Ray Longo, Chris Weidman, Charlie Weidman, and JiuJitsu savant Jon Danaher celebrate the results of months of hard work and preparation. Photo: USA TODAY Sports
Striking coach Ray Longo, Chris Weidman, Charlie Weidman, and JiuJitsu savant Jon Danaher celebrate the results of months of hard work and preparation.
Photo: USA TODAY Sports

Twenty-four hours later, Weidman is the UFC Middleweight Champion. It’s one of the most memorable knockouts in UFC history, and for a variety of reasons.
Silva dropped his hands and tried the old Venus flytrap technique, where he invites his prey in, like he has so many times, mocking Weidman the whole way.

Just as Longo said, Weidman was ready for it. He took the invitation seriously and got in on Silva to land a fateful left hook. “The reason Weidman stood up is because he knew that I believed he could beat him standing,” Longo says two days later in Long Island. “I’ve watched the kid spar so many times against quality guys and we never had a problem. If Silva had starting mugging too much, the idea was the back out, to disengage, and to re-stalk him again.”

Didn’t need to. Silva clowned, and Weidman connected. In the second round of a fight that Weidman begged for and Silva only relented to take, he knocked out the greatest mixed martial arts we’ve known to date. For the second time in his life, Longo has helped a homegrown Long Island boy become a UFC Champion. And for the second time, he’ll now prepare that guy for a rematch with the man whose belt they took.

“Honestly, I feel like these are two totally separate entities when it comes to the rematch,” he says. “I guarantee you the second time around Weidman’s going to beat him worse than the first time. Matt really went into that second fight with two herniated discs. Matt’s a company man. He was going to take that fight if they wheeled him in on a wheelchair. He had canceled on Hughes, there was no way he was going to cancel on GSP.”

Longo is hesitant to say too much about the Serra/St-Pierre fights, because these days, they’re all friends. But facts are facts, and Longo has some history on the right side of the facts. Serra shocked the world, but didn’t win the rematch. Weidman smashed the game’s greatest, and now awaits Silva’s return.

“With the antics, as far as that goes, it’s funny,” Longo says. “People are fickle. When he did it with Forrest, it was okay. When he did it with Bonnar, it was okay. All of a sudden, it’s not okay. Honestly, that’s the way the guy fights! And he paid the ultimate price for it. Weidman’s not those guys—that’s the difference. He’s really not those guys. Silva’s not going to get away with that crap, and that’s what happened. And, another thing, you give him confidence like that, I’m going to say there’s no stopping Weidman in a rematch. That’s all from knowing him versus a fan speculating from the outside. That’s just how he is. Once he gets it into his head that he can beat you—I don’t care if it’s golf, tennis, MMA, basketball, Tiddly Winks, croquet—I’m telling you, this guy’s going to be a problem.”

It was one hell of an exchange. Silva handed Weidman the belt, and in return, Weidman handed Silva the problem.

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Each week FIGHT! brings you the best from our friends around the web.

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At FIGHT! Magazine, we believe there is a need for a completely objective and unbiased ranking system for fighters to replace the myriad subjective rankings that have become skewed, in many instances, by fighter popularity. In an effort to address this issue FIGHT! Magazine brings you its computerized rankings system which takes into account a fighters strength of opponent, strength of performance, and frequency of activity. Go here for a detailed explanation of how FIGHT!’s rankings work.

Four major belts were on the line this weekend, two minor-league straps were up for grabs and another champion entered the cage for a non-title superfight.

On Fri. night, Maximum Fighting Championship made its first foray into newly MMA-friendly Ontario with MFC 29: Conquer. MFC Light Heavyweight Champion Ryan Jimmo was supposed to face Emmanuel Newton (#26) but following an injury, Newton was replaced by unranked middleweight Zak Cummings. Jimmo retained his title via unanimous decision but actually slipped a spot, from #21 to #22 in the Light Heavyweight Rankings. Cummings entered the Middleweight Rankings at #79.

MFC Welterweight Champion Douglas Lima took on challenger and UFC vet Terry Martin. Lima dispatched Martin quickly and enters the Welterweight Rankings at #36. Martin entered the fight ranking #75 at Middleweight and was reassigned to Welterweight, where he was installed at #121.

Fellow Octagon vets Hermes Franca, Marcus Davis, and Pete Spratt also appeared on the card. Full results can be viewed here.

One day later and a few “kilometres” to the east in Quebec, UFC vets Patrick Cote and Kalib Starnes tangled in the main event of Ringside MMA 10. Cote and Starnes came in ranked #61 and #63 in the Middleweight Rankings, respectively, but after Cote’s decision win, he jumped to #42 while Starnes dropped to #85.

Two Ringside belts were on the line as well, as Roger Hollett took home the Ringside Light Heavyweight Championship belt and Michel Gagnon claimed the Ringside Featherweight Championship.
Go here to view the full results.

melendez_belt_2011

Gilbert Melendez has been saying it and now our rankings agree – “El Nino” is the #1 lightweight in MMA. Melendez faced Tatsuya Kawajiri in a Strikeforce Lightweight Championship fight on Sat. night in San Diego, but it didn’t last long as Skrap Pack leader dominated, demolished and dismantled Kawajiri in the first round, skipping over the UFC’s top dogs from #3 to #1 in the Lightweight Rankings. Kawajiri slips from #10 to #14 following the loss.

In the main event, Nick Diaz beat Paul Daley at his own game – albeit after a scary knock-down – to retain the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship. Diaz’s first-round stoppage win moved him from #6 to #4 in the Welterweight Rankings, while Daley falls from #11 to #17.

Strikeforce can make legitimate match-ups for both Diaz and Melendez but what’s the point in feeding them Tyron Woodley and Justin WIlcox if they can book Diaz vs. GSP/Koscheck/Fitch/Penn or Melendez vs. Edgar/Maynard/Pettis/Guida? “Business as usual” might not be the best business for the new Zuffa.

The title fights were supported by Gegard Mousasi vs. Keith Jardine, Shinya Aoki vs. Lyle Beerbohm, and Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Robert Peralta. Mousasi vs. Jardine was a bit of a mess – “The Dreamcatcher” out-struck “The Mean One” but still can’t defend the takedown and lost a point in round one thanks to an illegal kick. The judges scored the bout a majority draw; it cost Mousasi his spot in the top 10 but helped Jardine jump back into the top 20. Mousasi dropped from #8 to #18 in the Light Heavyweight Rankings while Jardine vaulted from #51 to #19. The “Tobikan Judan” retained his #4 spot in the Lightweight Rankings with his quick submission win over “Fancy Pants”; Beerbohm held steady as well at #68. In a surprising and little talked-about twist, DREAM Featherweight Champion Takaya lost a split decision to unranked regional fighter Robert Peralta. Takaya slipped from #3 to #7 in the Featherweight Rankings. Takaya’s ranking was no fluke. His only recent losses were to top guys like Michihiro Omigawa and Bibiano Fernandes, which he followed up with wins over Chase Beebe, Joachim Hansen and Fernandes. Peralta has to log two more qualifying fights before he enters the rankings but will likely come in with a strong score thanks to his win over “The Streetfight Bancho.”

Go here to view the full results.

askren_thompson

Also on Sat. night, Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben Askren took on Nick Thompson in a non-title superfight at Bellator 40. “Funky” controlled “The Goat” throughout and moved up one spot, from #15 to #14 in the Welterweight Rankings, but that’s more likely due to the fact that Paul Daley fell back in the poll.

Jay Hieron scored a spot in the Welterweight Tournament final with a decision win over Brent Weedman. Hieron held on to his #19 ranking and Weedman dropped just one spot, from #45 to #46. Michael Chandler punched his ticket to the Lightweight Tournament final with a win over Lloyd Woodard. Chandler moved from #57 to #42 in the Lightweight Rankings.

Go here to view the full results.

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(Guess that high level wrestling experience didn’t include inverted triangle defense.)

At FIGHT! Magazine, we believe there is a need for a completely objective and unbiased ranking system for fighters to replace the myriad subjective rankings that have become skewed, in many instances, by fighter popularity. In an effort to address this issue FIGHT! Magazine brings you its computerized rankings system which takes into account a fighters strength of opponent, strength of performance, and frequency of activity. Go here for a detailed explanation of how FIGHT!’s rankings work.

All the fights are in the books and the rankings have been updated. M-1 Global crowned two new champions on Showtime, Bobby Lashley and Phil Baroni looked bad even in victory, all the guys we thought would win their Bellator light heavyweight tournament quarterfinal matches didn’t, and MMA pundits rushed to saddle Phil Davis with “the next Jon Jones” expectations before the afterglow of the current Jon Jones’ title win has even worn off. Additionally, Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard retained his CFC Middleweight Championship and UCMMA hosted a heavyweight throwdown in London. Let’s take a quick look ahead what effect the fights had on the rankings.

M-1 Challenge XXIV

M-1 Global kicked off its broadcast partnership with Showtime with a Friday night M-1 Challenge card in Norfolk, Va. Jose Figueroa upended the M-1 Global Lightweight Champion, Artiom Damkovsky, vaulting from #103 to #44 in the Lightweight Rankings. Damkovsky fell hard, from #64 to #140. Magomed Sultanakhmedov finished Tyson Jeffries to win the vacant M-1 Global Middleweight Championship. “The White Wolf” moves from #75 to #37 in the Middleweight Rankings, while Jeffries falls from #62 to #108. UFC vet Vinny Magalhaes defeated unheralded Jake Doeer on the card, getting a bump from #66 to #65 in the Light Heavyweight poll. Full results can be viewed here.

Titan Fighting Championship 16

Bobby Lashley was able to take natural middleweight John Ott down but he wasn’t able to do much with him when he got there. Lashley moves from #91 to #74 in the Heavyweight Rankings with the lackluster win. In the night’s other heavyweight bout, Aaron Rosa moved from #51 to #34 after stopping Abe Wagner, who falls from #62 to #86. PRIDE and UFC vet Phil Baroni outlasted regional fighter Nick Nolte on the card. Baroni moves from #132 to #100 in the Middleweight Rankings while Nolte enters the Welterweight Rankings at #183. Eric Marriott stopped Willian De Souza quickly but actually dropped one spot, from #24 to #25 in the Featherweight Rankings (thanks to Mackens Semerzier – see below). WEC and Bellator vet James Krause moved from #182 to #157 in the Lightweight poll with a quick undercard win. Full results can be viewed here.

In Australia, Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard held on to his CFC Middleweight Championship and his #7 Middleweight Ranking with a doctor’s stoppage win over Joe Doerksen. “El Dirte” fell from #41 to #43. In London, UCMMA: Lights Out hosted a heavyweight throwdown between Oli Thompson and Ben Smith. Thompson added a submission win to his resume and comes in at #68 in the Heavyweight Rankings. Smith enters the rankings at #101.

Bellator 38

Bellator’s season four light heavyweight tournament got underway on Saturday with four quarterfinal fights and they didn’t go down the way anybody planned. Tim Carpenter took out Daniel Gracie and entered the Light Heavyweight Rankings at #44. Gracie falls from #46 to #61 following the loss. Raphael Davis dropped from #40 to #76 following his TKO loss to unranked DJ Linderman. No other ranked fighters appeared on the card. Full results can can be viewed here.

UFC Fight Night 24

The UFC visited Seattle for the first time on Saturday night and set Fight Night records for attendance and gate receipts. Phil Davis left Seattle with a signature win over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, moving from #20 to #12 in the Light Heavyweight Rankings in the process. ‘Lil Nog falls from #21 to #39 following the loss.

A welterweight feature bout supported the main event but Dan Hardy vs. Anthony Johnson failed to deliver the fireworks everyone hoped for. Johnson jumps from #34 to #17 in the Welterweight Rankings, while Hardy continues his slide, falling from #19 to #39. In other welterweight action, Amir Sadollah moved from #41 to #26 with his win over DaMarques Johnson, who plummeted from #55 to #99. John Hathaway won his fight but lost out in the rankings, dropping from #33 to #64 with his split decision over Kris McCray. McCray moves from #137 in the Middleweight poll to #103 at Welterweight. Johny Hendricks stopped previously unranked T.J. Waldburger but slipped a spot, from #30 to #31. Waldburger enters the rankings at #125.

In a rematch of an all-time great barnburner, Chan Sung Jung beat Leonard Garcia definitively and bounced back from #91 to #48 in the Featherweight Rankings. Garcia fell hard from #51 to #96 following the loss. In other featherweight action, Mackens Semerzier found his way into the top 25, jumping from #59 to #21, with a win over unranked TUF vet Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres.

Mike Russow keeps spoiling the UFC’s plans, overacheiving in his role of solid opponent to take out up-and-coming heavyweights like Todd Duffee and now Jon Madsen. Russow moves from #19 to #11 in the Heavyweight Rankings, while Madsen slides from #21 to #33. In the night’s other heavyweight fight, unranked Christian Morecraft choked Sean McCorkle unconscious. McCorkle enters the rankings at #89.

At 135 pounds, Michael McDonald kept his #8 Bantamweight Ranking with a win over unranked Edwin Figueroa, Aaron Simpson moved from #45 to #39 in the Middleweight Rankings with a win over Mario Miranda, who fell from #68 to #82, and in the night’s opener, Nik Lentz leapt from #38 to #19 in the Lightweight Rankings with his win over Waylon Lowe, who fell from #49 to #78. Full results can be viewed here.

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The UFC visits Seattle for the first time on Saturday night. UFC Fight Night 24 airs live on Spike TV and is headlined by Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (#21 Light Heavyweight) vs. Phil Davis (#20). Watch the UFC Fight Club Q&A live from Seattle’s Key Arena on Fightmagazine.com at 5 p.m. EST / 2 p.m. PST and catch the weigh ins at 7 p.m. EST / 4 p.m.

UFC Fight Night 24 airs live on Spike TV at 10 p.m. EST / 7 p.m. PST Sat., March 26. The Facebook stream starts at 7:30 p.m. EST / 4:30 p.m. PST.

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We’ve got an action-packed weekend coming up with two cards airing live Friday night on premium cable, two cards airing live Saturday night on basic cable and five fights streaming live on Facebook. M-1 Global will crown champions in two weight classes on Showtime, Bobby Lashley returns to action on HDNet, eight light heavyweights start the chase for Bellator gold on MTV2, and one UFC 205er will move closer to title contention on Spike TV. Additionally, Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard will fight in Australia and UCMMA hosts a heavyweight throwdown in London. Let’s take a quick look ahead at what’s in store.

M-1 Challenge XXIV

M-1 Global kicks off its broadcast partnership with Showtime with a Friday night M-1 Challenge card in Norfolk, Va. Champ Artiom Damkovsky (#64 Lightweight) will face challenger Jose Figueroa (#103) for the M-1 Global Lightweight Championship, while Magomed Sultanakhmedov (#75 Middleweight) and Tyson Jeffries (#62) vie for the vacant M-1 Global Middleweight Championship. UFC vet Vinny Magalhaes (#66 Light Heavyweight) also appears on the card, which can be viewed here.

M-1 Global XXIV airs live on Showtime at 11 p.m., Fri., March 24.

Titan Fighting Championship 16

Titan FC is HDNet’s newest addition to its broadcast portfolio. Tonight, Bobby Lashley (#91 Heavyweight) returns to action against unranked, undersized John Ott, Phil Baroni (#132 Middleweight) faces unranked regional fighter Nick Nolte, and Eric Marriott (#24 Featherweight) squares off with Willian De Souza. But I think the most interesting bout on the card is Aaron Rosa (#51 Heavyweight) vs. Abe Wagner (#62). Wagner is coming off a quick stoppage win over former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia and another strong win over a solid opponent would go along way toward erasing the memory of his short sting on TUF. WEC and Bellator vet James Krause also appears on the card, which can be viewed here.

TFC 17 airs live on HDNet at 10 p.m., Fri., March 25.

In Australia, Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard (#7 Middleweight) defends his CFC strap against Joe Doerksen (#41) and in London, UCMMA hosts a heavyweight throwdown. Full results will be added to FIGHT!’s ranking database when the fights are in the books.

Bellator 38


(Lots of things can happen in a tournament, but given the high level of MMA success enjoyed by former NCAA/Olympic team wrestlers, let’s just pencil in Nik Fekete as the early favorite.)

Bellator’s season four light heavyweight tournament gets underway on Saturday with four quarterfinal fights: Daniel Gracie (#46 Light Heavyweight) vs. Tim Carpenter, Chris Davis vs. Christian M’Pumbu, Raphael Davis (#40) vs. DJ Linderman, Nik Fekete vs. Richard Hale Blagoi Ivanov, the man best known for defeating Fedor Emelianenko in a combat sambo bout, headlines the untelevised portion of the card, which can be viewed here.

Bellator 38 airs live on MTV2 at 7 p.m., Sat., March 26.

UFC Fight Night 24

The UFC visits Seattle for the first time on Saturday night. UFC Fight Night 24 airs live on Spike TV and is headlined by Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (#21 Light Heavyweight) vs. Phil Davis (#20).

The main card is rounded out by Dan Hardy (#19 Welterweight) vs. Anthony Johnson (#34), DaMarques Johnson (#55 Welterweight) vs. Amir Sadollah (#41), and Leonard Garcia (#51 Featherweight) vs. Chan Sung Jung (#91).

Five preliminary card bouts will be streamed live on FacebookAlex Caceres vs. Mackens Semerzier (#59 Featherweight), Jon Madsen (#21 Heavyweight) vs. Mike Russow (#19), John Hathaway (#33 Welterweight) vs. Kris McCray (#137 Middleweight), Edwin Figueroa vs. Michael McDonald (#8 Bantamweight), Sean McCorkle vs. Christian Morecraft – leaving only three unaired prelims, Mario Miranda (#68 Middleweight) vs. Aaron Simpson (#45), Johny Hendricks (#30 Welterweight) vs. T.J. Waldburger, Nik Lentz (#38 Lightweight) vs. Waylon Lowe (#49).

UFC Fight Night 24 airs live on Spike TV at 10 p.m. EST / 7 p.m. PST Sat., March 26. The Facebook stream starts at 7:30 p.m. EST / 4:30 p.m. PST.

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Each week, FIGHT! brings you the best from our friends around the web.

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– Dana White “Worried” for UFC Champ Jon Jones (5thRound)

– Five Lessons: UFC 128 (Versus MMA Beat)

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