Don’t miss UFC’s 25th Anniversary Press Conference live, held immediately after the UFC 223 weigh-ins. With all this week’s breaking news, this is one presser you won’t want to miss!
Fort Lauderdale, Florida — Greg Jones of Jones Wrestling and Hard Knocks 365, put on a Free MMA Seminar with coaches like Henri Hooft, Kami Barzini and Evan Borins, along with fighters Rashad Evans, Kamaru Usman, Linton Vassell, Logan Storley and more , with proceeds and donations going to the Chris Hixon Scholarship Fund, in memory of the 17 victims of the unfortunate events that happened on February 14, in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS. People from as far as Tampa showed up to meet some of their favorite UFC and Bellator Fighters and was able to learn from veterans on this wonderful occasion, by participating in a full MMA style practice.
(#1) YOEL ROMERO vs. (#10) DAVID BRANCH
(#2) JESSICA ANDRADE vs. (#5) TECIA TORRIES
TICKETS FOR UFC FIGHT NIGHT® AT AMWAY CENTER GO ON SALE FRIDAY, JAN. 12
Las Vegas – UFC® returns to the Sunshine State with a thrilling fight card, featuring a battle between two exciting middleweight contenders, as No.1-ranked Yoel Romero looks to get back into the title picture when he clashes with No.10 David Branch. UFC FIGHT NIGHT® takes place at Orlando’s Amway Center on Saturday, Feb. 24.
In his most recent outing, Romero (12-2, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla. by way of Pinar del Rio, Cuba) came close to realizing his dream of being UFC champion. The 2000 Olympic silver medalist wrestler dropped a close and captivating decision to Robert Whittaker last summer, earning Fight of the Night honors in the process. Prior to the bout, Romero was undefeated at middleweight and scored stunning knockout wins over Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida and Derek Brunson.
Looking to play spoiler and resume his climb up the middleweight rankings is dangerous grappler and boxer Branch (21-4, fighting out of Brooklyn, N.Y.). A two-division champion outside the UFC, Branch returned to the world’s largest MMA organization last year with a win over ranked Krzysztof Jotko. Throughout his career, he’s earned victories over Yushin Okami, Jesse Taylor and Paulo Filho. Following a recent setback against Luke Rockhold, Branch aims to use Romero as a stepping stone into the division’s top five.
A former strawweight title challenger, Andrade (17-6, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) put on the most dominant performance of her career in September when she won a spectacular decision against Claudia Gadelha. During her stint in the UFC’s 115-pound weight class, she’s also netted impressive victories over Angela Hill, Joanne Calderwood and Jessica Penne. Andrade hopes an emphatic win will propel her into another title shot.
Torres (10-1, fighting out of Colorado Springs, Colo.) is gunning for a rubber match with newly-minted strawweight champion Rose Namajunas. The two originally met under the Invicta FC banner in 2013, with Torres winning a unanimous decision. Namajunas returned the favor in April 2016. Since then, Torres has gone on a three-fight winning streak, picking up victories against Bec Rawlings, Juliana Lima and Michelle Waterson.
Additional bouts on the card include:
- Hometown welterweight Ben Saunders (21-8-2, fighting out of Orlando, Fla.) looks to blow the roof off the Amway Center when he takes onAlan Jouban (15-6, fighting out of Los Angeles, Calif.)
- No.8-ranked bantamweight contender Sara McMann (11-4, fighting out of Gaffney, S.C.) welcomes Invicta FC champ Yana Kunitskaya (10-3, fighting out of Saint Petersburg, Russia)
- Light heavyweight standout Gadzhimurad Antigulov (20-4, fighting out of Makhachkala, Russia) looks for his 15th consecutive win when he faces hot prospect Aleksandar Rakic (8-1, fighting out of Vienna, Austria)
- In a battle of submission aces, Gilbert Burns (12-2, fighting out of Boca Raton, Fla. by way of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) meets Olivier Aubin-Mercier (11-2, fighting out of Montreal, Canada)
For the latest information on additional bouts for this event, please visit www.ufc.com. All bouts live and subject to change.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT® will air live on FOX at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Saturday, Feb. 24, with the prelims kicking off the evening on FS1 at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT and on UFC FIGHT PASS® at 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT.
Tickets for UFC FIGHT NIGHT® go on sale Friday, Jan. 12 at 10 a.m. ET and are priced at $195, $160, $135, $110, $95, $85, $75, $65 and $55 USD (prices do not include applicable service charges or fees). Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com or through the Amway Center box office. Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person.
UFC Fight Club® members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets Wednesday, Jan. 10 at 10 a.m. ET via the website www.ufcfightclub.com. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers Thursday, Jan. 11 starting at 10 a.m. ET. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through UFC.com.
Must Love MMA — Cage & Screen — Everybody Has A Story
MustLoveMMA.com’s Susan Cingari reports for Cage & Screen on the ongoing legal troubles of MMA fighter Volkan Oezdemir.
Every Fighter Has A Story.
UFC light heavyweight title contender Volkan Oezdemir appeared in Broward County’s Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Court and was arraigned today. He is due back in court on Feb 22, 2018.
Oezdemir pleaded not guilty to a charge of battery causing great bodily harm, a third-degree felony. Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), a 28-year-old Switzerland native, has been training for his upcoming title challenge against Daniel Cormier at UFC 220 with Combat Club in Lantana, Fl.
The charge stems from an altercation outside Capone’s bar in Fort Lauderdale, Fl, that occurred Aug. 12, 2017. Oezdemir was arrested Nov. 18, 2017, initially on a second-degree felony charge of aggravated battery causing serious bodily harm or disability.
According to court records, the alleged victim left the bar after hearing a friend had been knocked unconscious following a verbal altercation. When he asked what had happened, he said he “looked up and was hit in the face” by what the state prosecutor described as a “sucker punch.”
The alleged victim claims he lost consciousness for approximately 14 minutes, was treated at a local hospital for concussion symptoms, and received multiple staples for lacerations. Witnesses at the scene told the alleged victim it was Oezdemir who hit him. A second report, claiming Oezdemir struck another man, was designated inactive when he refused to cooperate with police.
In a hearing Nov. 19, Oezdemir’s attorney, Bruce A. Zimet, a former federal prosecutor, described the scene as a “bar room altercation” in which his client was not the aggressor and acted justifiably pursuant to Florida law. Oezdemir has claimed the incident was prompted when somebody approached his fiancee at the bar while he was in the restroom.
Oezdemir pleaded not guilty to the second-degree felony charges on Nov. 29 and was released on a $10,000 bond. Florida state attorney Michael J. Satz filed the new charges Dec. 15. A no-bond arrest warrant was issued the same day, to come into effect if Oezdemir failed to appear in court today (Jan. 9). That warrant was subsequently vacated.
Felony battery causing great bodily harm in Florida carries a maximum sentence of 5 years incarceration. The original charge of aggravated battery carried a potential prison sentence of 15 years.
Oezdemir remains optimistic about the future. “I have a really good team around me,” he told The MMA Hour. “Believe me, everything is going to be all right…. I don’t really know about all the details, how it’s gonna happen. But definitely I’m gonna fight and I’m gonna be champion.”
Meanwhile title holder Daniel Cormier isn’t getting drawn into debate about his opponent’s legal worries. “I really don’t have any energy anymore for all these guys’ extracurriculars anymore…. I feel like I have lost years of my life dealing with the sh-t with [Jon] Jones, in terms of the arguments, the fighting, the worry, whether we’re going to fight, when we’re going to fight…. I’ve lost a lot of time and energy just wasted on things that were out of my control.”
UFC 220 airs on Pay-Per-View Saturday 01.20.2018 at 10:00 PM ET, with prelims live on Fox Sports 1. In the headline fight, champion Stipe Miocic looks to make history as the UFC’s most successful heavyweight when he faces challenger Francis N’Gannou. Daniel Cormier vs. Volkan Oezdemir, a light heavyweight title bout, is the co-main event.
MustLoveMMA.com’s Susan Cingari was honored to be named PG Sports‘ MMA Sports Journalist Reporter of the Year. Susan was named alongside athletes and influencers from a variety of fields, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and MMA’s Conor McGregor and Lynch on Sports.
2017 was a dramatic year for MMA, and MustLoveMMA and Susan Cingari were there for every step. From the May/Mac superfight to GSP’s return, and a host of new title holders — the UFC saw Tony Ferguson take the interim lightweight belt, Max Holloway win the featherweight title, TJ Dillashaw reclaim his bantamweight belt from old rival Cody Garbrandt, Cris Cyborg took her place at the head of the women’s featherweight division, Nicco Montano was crowned women’s inaugural flyweight champ, and Rose Namajunas took the UFC strawweight belt. And of course GSP defeated Michael Bisping to take the middleweight belt, only to vacate the title. Interim titleholder Robert Whittaker was promoted to undisputed champion on Dec 7.
Bellator MMA also welcomed a host of new champions — Ryan Bader as light heavyweight, Brent Primus won the lightweight title, Patricio Freire took the featherweight belt, Darrion Caldwell won the bantamweight crown, Julia Budd became women’s featherweight champ, and Ilima-Lei Macfarlane claimed the women’s flyweight title.
Susan and the MustLoveMMA.com team are excited to see what happens in 2018, and can’t wait to bring you all the breaking news through weekly episodes of The Cage & Screen Report! Every Fighter Has A Story!