FIGHTERS COMPETING IN SATURDAY’S SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® MAIN AND CO-MAIN EVENTS, PLUS, SHOWTIME SPORTS® PRESIDENT STEPHEN ESPINOZA MEDIA AVAILABILITY QUOTES
Photos / Credit: SHOWTIME
Uncasville, Conn. – July 30, 2020 – Fighters taking part in Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®main and co-main events participated in a virtual media availability ZOOM webinar on Thursday in advance of SHOWTIME®’s first live boxing event since March.
On Wednesday evening, it was announced previous main event fighter Stephen Fulton Jr. tested positive for COVID-19 and was removed from the 122-pound title fight versus Angelo Leo. Tramaine Williams will now step in to face fellow unbeaten Leo for the vacant WBO Jr. Featherweight World Championship in the main event. Ra’eese Aleem, who was previously scheduled to face Williams, will instead face 122-pound contender Marcus Bates in a rematch of their 2018 bout that saw Aleem walk away with a unanimous decision victory. The winner of Aleem vs. Bates will be in line for a shot at the WBA Super Bantamweight World Title.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast also features a light heavyweight rematch between Houston’s Joe George and Argentina’s Marcos Escudero that opens the telecast. The card is presented by Premier Boxing Champions and promoted by TGB and Mayweather Promotions in association with Kings Promotions. The main event is promoted in association with New World Sports and Warriors Boxing.
SHOWTIME Sports’ President of Sports & Event Programming Stephen Espinoza also spoke on Thursday’s conference call.
“These things happen in boxing, so you just have to stay focused and prepared for anything. Luckily, Tramaine isn’t too much of a different fighter from Fulton. He’s got similar styles, the only difference is he’s southpaw. We’ll make some small adjustments but I’m in shape for whoever. I’m in the best shape of my life and once I get in that ring, I’ll make the necessary adjustments.
“I definitely want to paint a Picasso-like painting for the fans on Saturday night. Something really nice. I want to leave the fans happy with a great performance and I want them to know who the real Angelo Leo is.”
“When I got the news that I would be stepping up the main event, it was bittersweet. It was bitter because Stephen Fulton prepared eight weeks to fight for a world title. He’s been dreaming of that his whole life and he didn’t get that opportunity so my heart goes out to him. It was sweet on my end because I get to fight for a world title and that’s something I’ve always wanted to do my whole life.
“About a year ago, I started a top-five or top-ten fighters I had on notice. I always paid attention to all of the fighters in my weight class. I’ve been prepared for the chance to face Leo for a while. I’ve had my eye on all of these guys for a year and some change now. It’s not like he’s a random opponent for me, I’ve had my eye on him.”
“My first fight against Marcus was a good fight, I believe I won every round. That was my first fight back after a two-and-a-half-year layoff. I just couldn’t get a fight and he accepted the challenge at that time. I gave him his first loss and you always remember your first loss. I’m sure he thinks about me at night.
“Facing a new opponent on late notice doesn’t take away from my aggression, if anything it amps it up. I’m probably going to be more aggressive, if anything, because it is more of a grudge match. The first time that I fought him, head-to-head, I beat him fair and square and he has the audacity to say that something was up with his water or whatever. Real fighters don’t make excuses and that’s exactly what he has done. He called me out and told people I was scared to fight him. Well, now he gets his chance and it’s going to be more than what he bargained for.”
“I’ve been working hard to get to where I’m at and everybody who boxes dreams of being a world champion. For this to fall into place at this point of my career, I think it’s perfect timing a perfect opportunity. I’ve wanted the rematch with Aleem and I couldn’t get it, so for us to get the rematch on SHOWTIME is great. If I win this, I will be in position to fight for a world title and every boxer’s dream is to get a belt.
“Even though there was a chance I wouldn’t be fighting, I came here expecting to fight. I didn’t come all the way up here just to go home without a fight. Once they told me I was definitely fighting and it was going to be a rematch to the only guy I’ve lost to, I was very excited. I always wanted to fight him again after I lost to him so I’m so excited.”
“We are thrilled with the quality of the card, we are obviously disappointed for Stephen [Fulton], but it’s not a huge surprise to be completely honest. We have worked very hard to minimize the risk but we know we can’t eliminate the risk altogether. In some sense, this was inevitable. We were going to get some positive tests and we worked hard to be prepared. One of the things that we did notice in observing other combat sports and other sports generally, was that there really is no way to avoid positive tests. At this point, our focus was on being prepared and having backup fighters prepared, trained, COVID-tested, so that in the event of an unfortunate positive test we would be prepared and could move forward hopefully seamlessly as we have on this card.
“I think the key for this card is storylines. Even before the changes this was a card filled with up-and-coming young boxers, promising prospects and rising stars. With the loss of Stephen Fulton Jr., that has remained the same nonetheless. We have Angelo Leo, a Mayweather Promotions prospect from Albuquerque, N.M., who is a very good young boxer and excellent body puncher looking for the opportunity at his first world title. Tramaine Williams came here expecting to be on the undercard in the co-feature and instead he has found himself with the biggest opportunity of his career. We thank the WBO for working with us and maintaining the title fight. We have now instead of the No. 1 and No. 2 contenders in the WBO, we have the No. 2 and No. 6 so no real drop-off in quality of the fight.”
Las Vegas – UFC® continues its run of August events at UFC APEX, headlined by a battle of heavyweight contenders, as No. 4 ranked Derrick Lewis squares off with No. 11 Aleksei Oleinik. The co-main event will feature No. 11 ranked middleweight contender Omari Akhmedov, who aims to take out his first former UFC champion when he faces Chris Weidman.
The event will be closed to the public and will be produced with only essential personnel in attendance pursuant to a Health, Safety and Operations plan approved by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT ON ESPN+®: LEWIS vs. OLEINIK will take place Saturday, August 8 at UFC APEX in Las Vegas, with all fights carried exclusively on ESPN+ in English and Spanish. The main card begins at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT on Saturday, August 8, with the prelims kicking off at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT.
A former title challenger, Lewis (23-7 1NC, fighting out of Houston, Texas) is among the most exciting KO artists in the heavyweight division. Throughout his UFC run, he has delivered impressive KO finishes against Alexander Volkov, Marcin Tybura and Travis Browne. Lewis also holds a decision victory over perennial top contender Francis Ngannou. Lewis now looks to earn his third consecutive win to re-assert himself as a dangerous title threat.
Considered among the most skilled heavyweight grapplers, Oleinik (59-13-1, fighting out of Moscow, Russia) continues to turn heads with his trademark Ezekiel choke submission. A 24-year MMA veteran, he has delivered spectacular victories over Fabricio Werdum, Mark Hunt and Mirko Cro Cop. Oleinik now hopes to add another top heavyweight to his hit list and crack the UFC heavyweight top five for the first time in his career.
Unbeaten since returning to the middleweight division in 2017, Akhmedov (20-4-1, fighting out of Makhachkala, Russia) goes for his most important win yet. A gritty Sambo fighter, Akhmedov secured hard-fought wins over Ian Heinisch, Zak Cummings and Tim Boetsch. In the biggest spotlight of his career, Akhmedov has his sights set on taking out his first former UFC champion to continue his ascent up the 185-pound ladder.
A former UFC middleweight champion, Weidman (14-5, fighting out of Baldwin, N.Y.) returns to the 185-pound division ready to climb back to the top of the mountain. A decorated grappler, Weidman dethroned all-time great Anderson Silva for the middleweight belt in 2013. During his reign he netted successful title defenses against Silva, Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort. Weidman now aims to re-enter the middleweight rankings with a dominant win over a tough emerging contender.
Additional bouts on the card include:
Maki Pitolo (12-5, fighting out of Mākaha, Hawaii) squares off with Darren Stewart (11-4 1NC, fighting out of London, England) in an exciting middleweight bout
No. 8 ranked women’s bantamweight contender and former women’s featherweight title challenger Yana Kunitskaya (12-5 1NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, FL by way of Saint Petersburg, Russia) meets debuting Julija Stoliarenko (9-3-1, fighting out of Kaunas, Lithuania)
In a battle of rising lightweights, No. 14 ranked contender Beneil Dariush (18-4-1, fighting out of Yorba Linda, Calif.) takes on Scott Holtzman (14-3, fighting out of Knoxville, Tenn.)
Tim Means (29-12-1 1NC, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) makes his 22nd UFC appearance against Laureano Staropoli (9-2, fighting out of La Plata, Argentina)
Nasrat Haqparast (11-3, fighting out of Hamburg, Germany) hopes to return to his winning ways when he faces undefeated Alex Munoz (6-0, fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.)
Uncasville, Conn. – July 29, 2020 – Boxing is back on SHOWTIME and five fighters taking part in Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®tripleheader participated in a media availability on Wednesday to discuss the bouts Presented by Premier Boxing Champions and taking place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.Philadelphia’s 122-pound rising star Stephen Fulton Jr. will headline Saturday’s tripleheader (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) against talented, fellow undefeated contender Angelo Leo of the Mayweather stable in a marquee 12-round matchup for the vacant WBO junior featherweight world title. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast features Tramaine Williams, of New Haven, Conn., clashing with Las Vegas-based Ra’eese Aleem in an intriguing, 50-50 matchup between talented, undefeated prospects in the co-featured bout and a light heavyweight rematch between Houston’s Joe George and Argentina’s Marcos Escudero that opens the telecast. Here is what the fighters had to say on today’s call. Due to a scheduling conflict, Fulton was unable to participate.ANGELO LEO“This is something I’ve worked my whole life for, so my preparation has been the best I’ve ever had, both physically and mentally. This is the day I’ve been waiting for and I have to seize the opportunity. “Floyd was in the gym with me a couple of times giving me pointers and helping work through my game plan. His wisdom combined with my trainer’s knowledge really meshed together for me. Floyd just told me to just stay calm, treat it like any other fight and do what I do best. I know the mental strength that Floyd has, and I’ve learned from it. I’ve learned from the best. “I definitely expect to be able to hurt Fulton. He talks a lot about how he’s fought a lot of undefeated fighters, but if you look closely, he’s been hurt before. I just want to make that point clear that he’s not untouchable. “This would be a great win for my hometown of Albuquerque. We haven’t had a champion since Johnny Tapia and to become a champion after him would mean a great deal to me and to the city. “It’s possible he’s overconfident. He’s been talking a lot, and I know he has to have confidence, but I think he’s a bit overconfident. I don’t really get effected by his talk or people thinking I’m the underdog. I’m just focused on the job. “As far as not having fans in the arena, I don’t think it will have an effect on this fight. It’s like sparring but more intense. I’m the type of fighter that if I smell blood, I’m going to go for the kill. “Being in Las Vegas was probably the best move I made in my career. I’ve seen Fulton’s style in the gym and it’s nothing I’m not prepared for. I’ll adapt in the ring and make my adjustments. Ultimately, I’m going to come out with the victory. “I just need to vary up my attack. I have good footwork to get on the inside. My head movement is strong, and all of that is going to be key in this fight. I think he has some trouble with fighters who move backwards against him, so I’m going to use my boxing too. We’re prepared for anything we need to do in there.”TRAMAINE WILLIAMS“It’s a bit of an unusual situation but I take every fight as if were just another day in the gym or another sparring session, so this will be nothing different. As boxers, as fighters, as humans, we just have to adapt. No excuses, whatever comes our way we’ve got to figure it out and that’s what I’m going to do on Saturday. I’ll adapt to no crowd and you guys may hear me talk a little bit in the ring. “My preparations changed a bit because of the social distancing and you want to be careful with who you interact with. If you’re sparring with a select few guys, you want to make sure those guys are practicing social distancing as well. It was kind of hard to get a lot of people to spar with because you want to be careful. “I prepared for Aleem the same way I prepare for every fighter. I stay focus and try to prepare for 10 or 12 rounds, whatever the fight may be, and focus three minutes at a time. He’s a little awkward. You never want to underestimate anyone so I’m treating him like he is a world champion. “I’m pretty sure I’ll take him to deep waters, and deep waters doesn’t mean the seventh, eighth, or ninth round -deep waters means the third round and he’s still got seven to go. “Aleem is much different from my last opponent (Yenifel Vicente) because he’s a cleaner fighter. You can tell he’s a respectful opponent and he comes from a good boxing lineage in Detroit. He’s a lot different from Vicente, who came in there just swinging for the fences and looking to land a lucky shot. I had him frustrated so maybe he was looking for an out or try to distract me but Aleem will be much different from that. “If I win this fight, I definitely think a title shot could be next against the winner of Saturday’s main event. Or I would fight Figueroa or [Murodjon Akhmadaliev]. I’ve been ready for all of these guys. I should have already been in the position that Fulton and Leo are at right now, fighting for a world title.”RA’EESE ALEEM“I feel like my win over Adam Lopez was definitely a big upset. I feel like I made a big statement and I want to make another big statement on Saturday night. As far as that being my TV debut, there was no extra emotion behind it. I was completely confident in myself and just ready to go in there and do what I do. “The super bantamweight division is a very stacked division. It’s tough because a lot of the champions have been champs for years. The big money fights are there, they just need to be made and right now is the perfect time to make those fights because we have to give the fans what they want. I’m ready for the big fights right now. “This is a huge opportunity for me to catapult myself into the top spots. It’s going to raise me in the rankings and even if my next fight isn’t for a world title fight, I’m going to be next. It’s a huge opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it. “Leo and Fulton are both great fighters so to be able to see them up close is great because I want to fight both of them. Either one, it doesn’t matter. Whoever wins, that’s who I want. I have to show up and show out because just winning isn’t good enough for me. I have to dominate and that will really solidify what I’m about. “Tramaine Williams is a really smart fighter. He has really fast hands, fast feet. I think my biggest advantage going into this is he’s never fought a fighter like me. I just have to be cautious. I don’t believe he’s a big puncher but I have to be cautious of his skill and his boxing IQ. I don’t feel like he’s faced a real dog. Somebody who is showing up to win, somebody who has faster hands and feet than him. “I’m telling myself I have 10 rounds to knock him out. You can expect a lot of action from me on Saturday night. I don’t think my opponent really wants a lot of action, but I definitely want to get him out of there. But I’m going to let it come to me, I’m not going to just go in there and force it. It will come, though. It won’t go the distance. I’m prepared to go the distance but my ultimate goal is to get him out of there.”JOE GEORGE“I’m in better shape for this fight compared to our first fight. We’re working on fighting off of the ropes better and fighting in the center of the ring more effectively. “A knockout is always good, but I like to take it one round at a time. If the knockout comes, it comes, and we’re going to take advantage. I’ve been dropping fighters in camp, so the chance of a knockout is pretty high. “He was an okay opponent. He had a chin and was in shape. His punches weren’t effective though. I made sure my punches landed and I hurt him a few times, I just couldn’t really finish him. “This fight will be different because I’m going to work off the ropes more instead of letting him gain momentum with his punches. Last fight was just him being really active and having a good chin -that’s all that stopped him from getting knocked out. If I was in better shape, I could have finished him. If I get the opportunity this fight, I’ll finish it. “I expect to see a slight difference in Escudero. If you change trainers, then you should have made some changes. I had a good hard camp and whatever he brings, I’ll be ready for it. “Some people think that Escudero won, and that’s their opinion. But I knew what I was doing. He wasn’t effective. I think just by me being on the ropes it made some people think that I was losing. But for me, I’m very comfortable fighting on the ropes. “I didn’t really spar with people my weight in camp, it was either with heavyweights or guys who are lighter. The lighter guys helped with my speed and the heavyweights helped with my power. It worked out perfectly and I got the best of both worlds. “My manager Trent Williams is a young athlete so he knows how this goes. He knows the things to do and what to say. You never see him angry or frustrated, the only time he’s aggressive is when he’s training or on the field. His work ethic is incredible and that’s motivation in itself. He’s a great role model and I learn a lot from watching him.”MARCOS ESCUDERO“Everyone saw what happened in the first fight. I believe I did enough to get the win, but it is what it is. I’ve changed my team and am working with Kevin Cunningham now and that is going to make the biggest difference heading into this rematch. Everyone is going to see a different fighter than the first fight on Saturday night. “With Coach Kevin we’ve watched the tape of the first fight over and over again. We knew we needed to take care of little details, be more effective and that we couldn’t leave it up to the judges. I have to be more intelligent in my game plan and change my angles. I think those were the most important things we worked on. “Obviously we plan to bring the fight to George and make it entertaining. I know that I have enough power to make sure it doesn’t go to the cards. That’s what we’re looking for. “I’ve known Kevin for a while. He’s worked with a lot of world champions and I’ve seen how different it is to have a strong team on my side. To be a great fighter you need to have a great team supporting you. “I’m much more confident heading into this fight than the last one. He knows that he lost the fight. I know that I did enough work to get the victory. Now in the rematch, I’m going to show my confidence in the ring. My only goal is to beat Joe George. I am working toward becoming a world champion, so I had to get this rematch settled before anything else. After Saturday night, we’ll keep moving forward.
OAKLAND, CA (July 28, 2020) – Undefeated WBA Super Lightweight champion, Mario “El Azteca” Barrios (25-0, 16 KOs), has arrived in the Bay Area, CA, to start training camp with his coach, 2011 Trainer of the Year, Virgil Hunter. Barrios is scheduled to defend his title against Ryan Karl (18-2, 11 KOs) in a 12-round bout as part of SHOWTIME / Premier Boxing Champions PPV Doubleheader on September 26, 2020. Barrios vs. Karl will be the co-feature to the 12-round unification bout, showcasing Jermell Charlo (33-1, 17 KOs) vs. Jeison Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) for the WBC, WBA and IBF 154-Pound titles. Jermall Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs) vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs) for the WBC Middleweight World Championship will be the opening main event on the two-part SHOWTIME / Premier Boxing Champions PPV. “I’m extremely excited to be defending my title on SHOWTIME against a tough opponent like Ryan Karl,” said Mario Barrios, who was the first fighter to capture a world title from his hometown of San Antonio, TX, in the last 25 years. “I wanted to get a full training camp with Virgil, so I made the decision to get out to the Bay Area as soon as my fight was announced. Right now, Virgil and I are working on a great strategy for this upcoming fight. I came to camp in great shape as me and my dad Martin were putting in a lot of hard work back home. I’m going to be ready to put on a great performance come September 26th.” Mario Barrios captured the WBA Super Lightweight title with a gritty performance last September, defeating a tough undefeated fighter in Batyr Akhmedov, a fight that happened close to a year ago. Barrios is ready to take his career to the next level. “Now that I’m champion, I’m working harder than ever to keep my belt.” Barrios continued. “I more dedicated now than ever to stay on top. I know with hard work, I’ll become one of the biggest names in the sport. I’m very grateful to my team and the fans for all their support. Everyone can expect me to take my career to new heights.”
RASHIDI ‘SPEEDY’ ELLIS BUSCARÁ MOSTRAR SU CALIDAD COMO RETADOR TITULAR ANTE BRAD ‘KING’ SOLOMON EN EL CO ESTELAR DE LINARES VS. FORTUNA BEKTEMIR ‘BULLY’ MELIKUZIEV, ALEXIS ‘LEX’ ROCHA, LAMONT ROACH JR. Y MARLEN ESPARZA TAMBIÉN ESTARÁN EN EL RESPALDO VIERNES 28 DE AGOSTO EN EL FANTASY SPRINGS RESORT CASINO Y TRANSMITIDO EN VIVO POR DAZNINDIO,
California 27 de julio de 2020.— Para Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis (22-0, 14 nocáuts), no es si tendrá una oportunidad por la corona mundial, sino cuando. Ellis, quien liderará el evento co estelar de Linares vs. Fortuna este 28 de agosto, tendrá la ocasión de mostrar por qué se merece esa ansiada oportunidad cuando se enfrente al experimentado contendiente Brad “King” Solomon (28-3, 9 nocáuts) en una defensa a 10 asaltos de su cinto welter Continental de las Américas AMB. El evento, que se efectuará en el Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, estará cerrado para el público y los medios, a la vez que se transmite por la poderosa plataforma DAZN. “Rashidi Ellis es un gran problema para todos en las 147 libras”, afirmó Óscar De La Hoya, Presidente y Jefe Ejecutivo de Golden Boy. “Puede ser que sea el peleador más rápido en el boxeo, y está ansioso de pelear contra los mejores de su división. Estamos orgullosos de tenerlo como líder de nuestro respaldo para el 28 de agosto, que también cuenta con algunos de los mejores contendientes del boxeo como el poderoso Bektemir Melikuziev y el contendiente en ascenso de peso welter Alexis Rocha”, puntualizó. Ellis, de 27 años de edad, está listo para los mejores que la división welter puede ofrecer. El nativo de Lynn, Massachusetts jamás ha probado el sabor de la derrota desde que debutó como profesional en el 2018, y también ha tenido el privilegio de pelear en México, Puerto Rico, La República Dominica y en varias ciudades en Estados Unidos. Ellis anteriormente fue campeón welter Norte América de la FIB, y actualmente posee el fajín welter Continental de las Américas de la AMB que capturó cuando derrotó en la revancha a Eddie “E-Boy” Gómez esta vez por decisión unánime. Ellis encarará uno de los retos más grandes de su carrera en el nombre de Solomon, y el resultado indicará a todos donde se encuentra en la división de las 147 libras. “Finalmente regresaré al cuadrilátero este 28 de agosto en DAZN”, afirmó Rashidi Ellis. “Y estoy contento porque será en mi lugar favorito que es el Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. Brad Solomon viene de unos retos muy difíciles, pero vengo a dejar una buena impresión. Vengo a mostrarles a todos que soy el mejor peso welter de la división y que estoy listo para un título mundial. ¡Sigan sintonizados!”, declaró. Solomon es un contendiente de 36 años de edad quien fue un destacado amateur antes de debutar en el boxeo de paga en el 2008. El nativo de Lafayette, Luisiana, además de ganar varios torneos Golden Gloves, también posee una victoria amateur ante Javier Molina. Solomon, como profesional, también ha derrotado a fuertes peleadores como Freddy “El Riel” Hernández y Adrián “El Tigre” Granados. Solomon retornará tras dos derrotas en fila ante Vergil Ortiz Jr. y Alexis Rocha, pero promete que este combate volverá a ponerlo en los niveles más altos de las clasificaciones de peso welter”. “Mis respetos a Golden Boy por traerme de nuevo en uno de sus eventos”, aseveró Brad Solomon. “Combatiré contra un buen prospecto, alguien que está en ascenso. Pero eso es lo que siempre he querido, a los mejores prospectos en ascenso. En esta pelea voy a mostrarles a todos de lo que soy capaz. Voy a demostrar al deporte del boxeo que he regresado. Voy a volver a poner mi carrera en la cima donde debe de estar”, amenazó. Bektemir “Bully” Melikuziev (5-0, 4 nocáuts), el poderoso contendiente de Uzbekistán, continuará su rápido acenso en las clasificaciones de las 168 libras cuando defienda su cetro supermediano Continental de las Américas AMB en un duelo a 10 rounds ante Alan “La Amenaza” Campa (17-5, 11 nocáuts) de Sonora, México. Alexis “Lex” Rocha (16-0, 10 nocáuts) de Santa Ana, California defenderá su cinto Continental de las Américas del CMB en una batalla a 10 episodios contra Jameson Bacon (23-4, 15 nocáuts) de Cebú, Filipinas. El ex retador al título mundial Lamont Roach Jr. (19-1-1, 7 nocáuts) de Washington, D.C., se enfrentará a Neil Tabanao (17-7, 11 nocáuts) de Cebú, Filipinas en un combate a 10 giros en las 130 libras. Marlen Esparza (7-1, 1 nocáuts) de Houston, Texas regresará tras su única derrota en un duelo a ocho asaltos en peso mosca contra Jacky Calvo (12-5-1, 1 nocaut) de Ciudad de México, México. Linares vs. Fortuna es un duelo a 12 episodios por el cinto Diamante ligero del CMB presentado por Golden Boy en asociación con Teiken Promotions y Sampson Boxing. El evento es patrocinado por Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle” y “BetOnline – Your Online Sportsbook Experts.” El evento se llevará a cabo el viernes 28 de agosto en el Fantasy Springs Resort Casino y será transmitido en vivo por DAZN.
RISING WELTERWEIGHT STAR VERGIL ORTIZ JR. STOPS SAMUEL VAR
Click HERE for Photos, for Video of Virtual RoundtablePhoto Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy
INDIO, CALIF. (July 24, 2020) – Rising 147-pound star Vergil Ortiz Jr. (16-0, 16 KOs) of Grand Prairie, Texas defended his WBA Gold Welterweight Title via seventh-round stoppage against Samuel Vargas (31-6-2, 14 KOs) of Bogota, Colombia tonight in Golden Boy and DAZN’s return to regularly scheduled pugilistic action. The bout took place inside a fan-less Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.“I didn’t really notice fighting with no fans,” said Vergil Ortiz Jr. “I’m so focused on the fight. We usually spar without fans, so didn’t make a difference. I hit Vargas to the body a lot. I don’t know how he didn’t go down. He was hurt the entire time. I asked him, so I know he was hurt.. I also knew it was time to take him out in round seven. If it had gone to eight rounds, he would have been hurt worse. When I take rounds off like that, I try to get used to the timing and make them miss some shots.” “I would like to fight Danny Garcia or Keith Thurman,” Ortiz Jr. continued. “They’re good opponents I can beat. I want to take risks. I’m not here to take easy fights. I’m in the hardest division in boxing, so when I win a title it will mean a lot more.” In the co-main event, Shane Mosley Jr. (16-3, 9 KOs) of Pomona, California scored an eight-round unanimous decision win against Jeremy Ramos (11-9, 4 KOs) of Colorado Springs, Colorado in a middleweight bout. “This was a great experience,” said Shane Mosley Jr. “This was my first fight as a Golden Boy fighter. I’m glad I got the win and got to knock some dust off of me. It was different due to the circumstances. Ultimately, it’s still a fight. He came to win. I think it was a good performance from me, but I still have to add some more things to my game, like adding more punches to the body.” Seniesa “SuperBad” Estrada (19-0, 8 KOs) of East Los Angeles, Calif. scored a devastating first-round knockout win against Miranda Adkins (5-1, 5 KOs) of Topeka, Kansas in a scheduled eight-round defense of her WBC Silver Light Flyweight. The fight only lasted seven seconds. “It was the outcome I expected,” said Seniesa Estrada. “I give her respect for stepping into the ring with me while having a 5-0 record. If it weren’t for her, I probably wouldn’t have had an opponent tonight, so I thank her. Hopefully next time I can fight someone who is a world champion.” Hector Valdez (13-0, 8 KOs) of Dallas, Texas retained his undefeated record by beating Josue Morales (11-12-4, 1 KO) of Houston, Texas via eight-round unanimous decision in a 122-pound bout. The judges scored the fight 80-72, 80-72, and 79-73 for Valdez. “I felt I had an OK performance,” said Hector Valdez. “I give myself a 7 out of 10. I was calm, which is good. But now I need to work on being calm and being active with my punches. Now I’m going to go back to the gym, and I hope to come back soon on another Golden Boy card.” Welterweight prospect Evan Sanchez (8-0, 6 KOs) of Parlier, Calif. scored a six-round unanimous decision victory against Issouf Kinda (18-5, 7 KOs) of the Bronx, N.Y. The judges scored it 59-54, 58-55, and 60-53 for Sanchez. “I felt a little rusty in there,” said Evan Sanchez. “But I’m honored to be opening up for Golden Boy. I know a lot of people were watching. I hope to get a two-week break and come back very soon.” Ortiz Jr. vs. Vargas was a 12-round fight for the WBA Gold Welterweight Title presented by Golden Boy. The event was sponsored by Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle” and “BetOnline – Your Online Sportsbook Experts.” The event took place on Friday, July 24 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino and was streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
Ortiz vs. Vargas is a 12-round fight for the WBA Gold Welterweight Title presented by Golden Boy. The event is sponsored by Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle” and “BetOnline – Your Online Sportsbook Experts.” The event will take place Friday, July 24 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN. For more information, visit www.goldenboypromotions.com andDAZN.com. Follow on Twitter @GoldenBoyBoxing and @DAZN_USA. Become a fan on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GoldenBoyBoxing/ and https://www.facebook.com/DAZNUSA/. Follow on Instagram @GoldenBoy and @DAZN_USA. Follow the conversation using #OrtizVargas. Photos and videos are available for download by clicking here or copying and pasting the link http://bit.ly/OrtizVargas into a browser. Credit must be provided to Golden Boy for any photo and/or video usage
UFC® RETURNS TO UFC APEX WITH FIVE ACTION-PACKED CARDS IN AUGUST
TOP MIDDLEWEIGHT CONTENDERS CLASH AS (#8) DEREK BRUNSON AND (#9) EDMEN SHAHBAZYAN HEADLINE FIRST AUGUST EVENT
(#3) JOANNE CALDERWOOD vs. (#6) JENNIFER MAIA
(#12) VICENTE LUQUE vs. RANDY BROWN
Las Vegas – UFC® returns to Las Vegas with a series of action-packed cards every Saturday night in August, kicking off with a clash of top middleweight contenders as No. 8 Derek Brunson looks to hand No. 9 Edmen Shahbazyan his first professional loss.
The remaining cards will be announced at a later date. All events will be closed to the public and will be produced with only essential personnel in attendance pursuant to a Health, Safety and Operations plan approved by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT ON ESPN+®: BRUNSON vs. SHAHBAZYAN will take place Saturday, August 1 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas with all fights carried exclusively on ESPN+ in English and Spanish. The main card begins at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, with the prelims kicking off at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT.
A staple of the middleweight top 10, Brunson (20-7, fighting out of Wilmington, N.C.) returns to action intending to once again stop the ascent of another fast-rising prospect. Despite his All-American wrestling background, Brunson has developed into one of the most explosive strikers in the division with knockout wins over Lyoto Machida, Uriah Hall and Sam Alvey. He now looks to extend his current win streak and work his way back towards the top five by becoming the first person to defeat Shahbazyan.
One of the youngest athletes on the entire UFC roster, Shahbazyan, 22 (11-0, fighting out of Glendale, Calif.) has quickly developed into the middleweight division’s top prospect. Hailing from the same gym as former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, Shahbazyan has shown incredible skills during his young MMA career by finishing all but one of his victories in the first round, including wins over Brad Tavares, Jack Marshman and Charles Byrd. He now takes a step up in competition and looks to prove that the hype around him is deserved with his most critical victory yet.
Additional bouts on the card include:
· A critical bout in the women’s flyweight division sees No. 3 ranked contender Joanne Calderwood (14-4, fighting out of Glasgow, Scotland) step up on short notice to take on No. 6 ranked Jennifer Maia (17-6-1, fighting out of Curitiba, State of Paraná, Brazil)
In an exciting welterweight bout, No. 12 ranked contender Vicente Luque (19-7-1, fighting out of Brasilia, Brazil) looks to defend his spot in the rankings against rising prospect Randy Brown (12-3, fighting out of Queens, N.Y.)
In an thrilling lightweight rematch, Lando Vannata(11-4-2, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) and Bobby Green (25-10-1, fighting out of Fontana, Calif.) look to replicate their first Fight of the Night performance
Light heavyweight veterans meet when veteran Ed Herman (26-14 1 NC, fighting out of Portland, Ore.) meets Gerald Meerschaert (30-13, fighting out of Milaukee, Wisc.) on short notice
Kevin Holland(18-5, fighting out of Fort Worth, Texas) and Trevin Giles(12-2, fighting out of Houston, Texas) look to build their win streaks in a clash at middleweight
Veteran bantamweight Frankie Saenz (13-6, fighting out of Scottsdale, Ariz.) aims to make a statement against Jonathan Martinez(11-3, fighting out of Plainview, Texas)
Perennial top contender Ray Borg(13-5, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) looks to spoil the debut of UFC newcomer Nate Maness (11-1, fighting out of Henderson, Ky.)
Middleweights Eric Spicely(12-6, fighting out of Olneyville, R.I.) and Markus Perez (11-3, fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil) battle to return to the win column
In a battle of featherweight prospects looking to earn their first UFC win, Jamall Emmers(13-5, fighting out of Mentone, Calif.) welcomes the debuting Timur Valiev (16-2, fighting out of Moscow, Russia)
Visit the UFC.com for information and content to support your UFC coverage.
SHOWTIME SPORTS® AND PREMIER BOXING CHAMPIONS RETURN TO THE RING WITH ROBUST LIVE BOXING SCHEDULE SPANNING FIVE MONTHS
Nine Live Events * 18 Undefeated Fighters * Nine World Champions and Eight World Championship Fights Begin Saturday, August 1
For media use and across social platforms #SHOBoxingReturns
NEW YORK – July 22, 2020 – SHOWTIME Sports and Premier Boxing Champions announced today a lineup of nine live boxing events featuring 18 undefeated fighters, nine world champions, and eight world championship fights including one world title unification bout. The schedule comprises 22 critical matchups from bantamweight to heavyweight and features some of the biggeststars in the sport today – Gervonta Davis, Leo Santa Cruz, Jermall Charlo, Jermell Charlo, David Benavidez and more. It is the largest collection of world championship boxing announced since the COVID-19 pandemic forced a stoppage of the sport.
The SHOWTIME boxing schedulebegins on Saturday, August 1 and runs through the end of 2020. Initially, each live telecast will be presented without fans in attendance from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Included in the schedule are four world title eliminators, three interim title fights and 13 bouts in all pitting top-10 ranked fighters.
There are two SHOWTIME PPV® events in the lineup presented by Premier Boxing Champions. The first in late September is a pay-per-view doubleheader featuring four world title bouts in back-to-back three-fight events on the same night all for one price. Doubleheaders are common in the NFL, NBA and MLB. There hasn’t ever been a boxing PPV doubleheader – until now. The second blockbuster PPV event in October is a unique clash with the winner earning world titles in two weight classes.
“We are proud to announce the strongest and most comprehensive schedule of fights in all of boxing,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports and Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “Each bout on this schedule, our largest schedule announcement since 2018, carries high stakes and significant implications. From highly regarded prospects to emerging stars to established champions – all in tough matchups – this lineup delivers on our promise to provide boxing fans with the best talent, the most exciting fights and the highest quality presentation in the sport. We are thrilled to return to live boxing with this star-studded schedule of exciting, meaningful fights.”
Philadelphia’s 122-pound rising star Stephen Fulton Jr. will headline SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®on August 1 (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) against talented, fellow undefeated contender Angelo Leo of the Mayweather stable in a marquee 12-round matchup for the vacant WBO junior featherweight world title. The Premier Boxing Champions event is promoted by Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions. This will mark the first live boxing event on SHOWTIME since ShoBox: The New Generation on March 13 when the network presented what was to be the last nationally televised professional sporting event in the U.S. for several weeks.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be finally getting back to boxing,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “Everyone has been patiently waiting and the series of fights that we will collectively put on over the next few months will be great for boxing and the sports world in general. We’re kicking things off August 1 with a world title opportunity for our rising contender Angelo Leo who has been consistently grinding and taking care of business. He’s facing another young and focused undefeated fighter and only one of them can be crowned champion. Both guys are confident that the title belongs to them, which is going to make for a great fight from the first bell.”
“I have been really impressed with both Fulton and Leo,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Fulton’s resume includes victories over eight undefeated fighters. Angelo Leo will be the third straight unbeaten fighter he’s faced. Leo has passed every test he’s had with victories against some of the toughest fighters in the division. The winner of this match will be soaring to new heights in the division.”
“This is my time. I’ve prepared for this my whole life,” said Fulton. “He will be a world champion one day, but not this time.”
“I’m excited to get back in the ring and to continue where I left off,” said Leo. “It’s an honor to be the main event on SHOWTIME and to be fighting for the WBO belt.”
The fight-by-fight schedule follows:
Main Event: Stephen Fulton Jr. (18-0, 8 KOs) vs. Angelo Leo (19-0, 9 KOs) – Vacant WBO Junior Featherweight World Championship
Co-Feature: Tramaine Williams (19-0, 6 KOs) vs. Ra’eese Aleem (16-0, 10 KOs) – Super Bantamweight Title Eliminator
Co-Feature: Joe George (10-0, 6 KOs) vs. Marcos Escudero (10-1, 9 KOs) II – Light Heavyweight Bout
About: Fellow Americans and undefeated fighters Fulton and Leo are legitimate top-10 junior featherweight contenders who will meet for the vacant WBO 122-pound world title. A southpaw from New Haven, Conn., Williams will clash with Las Vegas-based Aleem in an intriguing, 50-50 matchup between talented, undefeated prospects. Managed by All-Pro lineman Trent Williams, Houston’s George upset Escudero in an exciting ShoBox affair last November.
Main Event: David Benavidez (22-0, 19 KOs) vs. Roamer Alexis Angulo (26-1, 22 KOs) – WBC Super Middleweight World Championship
Co-Feature: Rolando Romero (11-0, 10 KOs) vs. Jackson Marinez (19-0, 7 KOs) – WBA Lightweight Interim Title
Co-Feature: Otto Wallin (20-1, 13 KOs) vs. Travis Kauffman (32-3, 23 KOs) – Heavyweight Bout
About: Undefeated Benavidez, 23, kicks off his second reign as WBC Super Middleweight Champion. In 2017, he became the youngest 168-pound champion in boxing history by defeating Ronald Gavril on SHOWTIME at just 20 years old. Angulo is coming off an upset win over heavily hyped and then unbeaten prospect Anthony Sims Jr. The power-punching “Rolly” Romero of the Mayweather stable, who has scored five first- or second-round stoppages in his last six fights, is an undefeated ShoBox alum ranked No. 10 by the WBA while Marinez is ranked No. 6. Wallin vs. Kauffman is an intriguing heavyweight matchup between the Swedish southpaw and the veteran Kauffman. Both fighters have survived bouts with the COVID-19 virus, made full recoveries and are anxious to get back in the ring. The winner will undoubtedly receive another big fight. The loser will go to the back of the line in the busy heavyweight division. This Premier Boxing Champions event is promoted by TGB Promotions and Sampson Boxing. The Romero vs. Marinez bout is co-promoted by Mayweather Promotions.
Main Event: Erickson Lubin (22-1, 16 KOs) vs. Terrell Gausha (21-1-1, 10 KOs) – WBC Super Welterweight Title Eliminator Bout
Co-Feature: Tugstsogt Nyambayar (11-1, 9 KOs) vs. Eduardo Ramirez (23-2-3, 10 KOs) – WBC Featherweight Title Eliminator Bout
About: Lubin, already a veteran at just 24 years old, has excelled since his shocking first-round loss to Jermell Charlo three years ago. Gausha is a former U.S. Olympian with just one loss. Both men are poised and hungry for a signature win and the opportunity to fight for a unified 154-pound title, which will be on the line the following week. Nyambayar and Ramirez are legitimate top-10 contenders. Nyambayar faced Gary Russell Jr. in February on SHOWTIME in the last SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast before the COVID-19 shutdown. Ramirez, of Mexico, is coming off a stoppage of previously unbeaten Leduan Barthelemy. A graduate of the popular ShoBox: The New Generation series, Philadelphia native Ennis has fought twice on ShoBox and twice on SHOWTIME BOXING: Special Edition cards. Ennis is a former National Golden Gloves Champion ranked No. 12 by the WBO and No. 14 by the IBF. This Premier Boxing Champions event is promoted by TGB Promotions and the Ennis bout is in association with D & D Boxing.
September 26 – SHOWTIME/Premier Boxing Champions PPV Doubleheader
In One of the Main Events: Jermall Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs) vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs) – WBC Middleweight World Championship
Co-Feature: Brandon Figueroa (20-0-1, 15 KOs) vs. Damien Vasquez (15-1-1, 7 KOs) – WBA Super Bantamweight World Championship
Co-Feature: Diego Magdaleno (32-3, 13 KOs) vs. Isaac Cruz (19-1-1, 14 KOs) – IBF Lightweight Title Eliminator Bout
About: Houston’s Charlo will defend his title against WBC No.-1 ranked Ukrainian Derevyanchenko in one of the main events of this pay-per-view twin bill that boasts four world title fights. Charlo has held the WBC middleweight title since 2019 and reigned as the IBF junior middleweight champion from 2015 to ‘17. Charlo holds wins at 154 pounds against championship-level fighters including Cornelius Bundrage, Austin Trout and Julian Williams. Derevyanchenko has twice challenged for the IBF middleweight title in 2018 and ‘19, losing only to top-level opponents Daniel Jacobs and Gennadiy Golovkin. The 23-year-old Figueroa claimed the interim WBA 122-pound title with an eighth-round stoppage of Yonfrez Parejo last April, before successfully defending the title with a homecoming KO of Javier Chacon in Edinburg, Texas. After being upgraded to the “regular” titlist, Figueroa retained his belt after a 12-round draw against Julio Ceja last November. The southpaw Vasquez is coming off a stoppage win over Alejandro Moreno in February of 2020. Magdaleno vs. Cruz is an IBF title eliminator matchup of ShoBox alums currently ranked 10th and sixth, respectively.
The Other Main Event: Jermell Charlo (33-1, 17 KOs) vs. Jeison Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) – WBC, WBA and IBF 154-Pound Unification Bout
Co-Feature: Mario Barrios (25-0, 16 KOs) vs. Ryan Karl (18-2, 11 KOs) – WBA Super Lightweight World Championship
Co-Feature: Daniel Roman (26-3-1, 10 KOs) vs. TBA – Super Bantamweight Bout
About: In the other main event of this two-part, six-fight pay-per-view telecast, Jermell Charlo will take on Rosario in just the eighth world title unification fight in the 154-pound division’s history. It is also just the second fight with three super welterweight world title belts up for grabs. In January, Rosario upset Julian Williams to win the WBA and IBF titles. Last December, Charlo regained the title by stopping Tony Harrison. At stake is supremacy in a talent-rich division. The 25-year-old Barrios from San Antonio has held the WBA (regular) super lightweight title since September of 2019. His opponent Karl hails from Houston and is ranked No. 9 by the WBA. A regular sparring partner of Erislandy Lara and Jermell Charlo, Karl is trained by Ronnie Shields. Roman is a former unified super bantamweight champion, having held the WBA (Super) and IBF titles from 2019 to January 2020. Roman’s 19-bout winning streak was snapped in January in a split-decision loss to Murodjon Akhmadaliev. Ranked in the top five by all four sanctioning bodies, Roman previously held the WBA title from 2017 to 2019. This unique PPV doubleheader is presented by Premier Boxing Champions and promoted by Lions Only Promotions and TGB Promotions. The Jermell Charlo-Jeison Rosario match is co-promoted with Sampson Boxing.
Main Event: Sergey Lipinets (16-1, 12 KOs) vs. Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (15-0, 8 KOs) – IBF Welterweight Interim Title
Co-Feature: Xavier Martinez (15-0, 11 KOs) vs. Claudio Marrero (24-4, 17 KOs) – Super Featherweight Bout
Co-Feature: Malik Hawkins (18-0, 11 KOs) vs. Subriel Matias (15-1, 15 KOs) – Super Lightweight Bout
About: The 31-year-old Lipinets has won three significant fights in a row since his lone loss to Mikey Garcia, including a dominant stoppage that sent former word titlist Lamont Peterson into retirement. Uzbekistan’s Abdukakhorov is coming off his biggest win to date over former world titlist Luis Collazo and is yet to taste defeat since turning professional in 2015. With Abdukakhorov ranked No. 1 by the IBF and Lipinets ranked No. 3, the winner will be in prime position to challenge the unified 147-pound world champion Errol Spence Jr. Sacramento’s Martinez of the Mayweather stable is an exciting prospect who thrilled ShoBox viewers when he scored one of the quickest knockouts in the history of the series last November, while Marrero is a grizzled veteran who held the WBA interim featherweight title in 2017. Hawkins of the Mayweather stable is trained by Calvin Ford and a teammate of two-division world champion Gervonta Davis. Every one of Matias’ 15 career victories as a pro has come by way of knockout, with his only setback a unanimous-decision loss to Petros Ananyan back in February. This Premier Boxing Champions event is promoted by TGB Promotions, Top Rank, Inc. and Mayweather Promotions.
October 24 – SHOWTIME/Premier Boxing Champions PPV
Main Event: Gervonta Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) vs. Leo Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) – WBA Super Featherweight World Championship/WBA Lightweight World Championship
About: This blockbuster main event will be contested at the super featherweight limit of 130 pounds. The winner of the match, however, will be in the unique position to earn world championships at 130 and 135 pounds on the same night.Two crowd favorites with massive followings will meet with Santa Cruz’s newly won WBA (Super) 130-pound world title on the line. The unbeaten “Tank” Davis is a two-division world champion and reigning WBA lightweight titlist at the age of 25. He emerged as a bona fide star in 2019 with sold-out main event bouts in Baltimore and Atlanta. “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz is a four-division world champion who avenged his only professional loss to Carl Frampton. The stage is set for one of the best matchups that can be made in all of boxing. Both men are all-action fighters. Davis boasts a knockout percentage of .957 while Santa Cruz is one of the busiest punchers in the sport. The winner of this fight will rightfully earn a top-10 spot on the coveted pound-for-pound list. This Premier Boxing Champions event is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, TGB Promotions, GTD Promotions and Santa Cruz Boxing Club.
Main Event: Chris Colbert (14-0, 5 KOs) vs. Jaime Arboleda (16-1, 13 KOs) – WBA Super Featherweight Interim Title
Co-Feature: Richardson Hitchins (11-0, 5 KOs) vs. Argenis Mendez (25-5-3, 12 KOs) – Super Lightweight Bout
About: The WBA interim super featherweight champion Colbert has fought five times in the past 20 months. Arboleda of Panama earned a split-decision win over veteran Jayson Velez in a WBA junior lightweight eliminator in February. New York City’s Hitchins of the Mayweather stable represented his parents’ home country of Haiti in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and Mendez is a former IBF Super Featherweight champion from the Dominican Republic. This Premier Boxing Champions event is promoted by TGB Promotions and Sampson Boxing. The Hitchins vs. Mendez bout is co-promoted by Mayweather Promotions.
Main Event: Nordine Oubaali (17-0, 12 KOs) vs. Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26 KOs) – WBC Bantamweight World Championship
About: France’s Oubaali will be defending the WBC bantamweight world title for the third time. Donaire is the No. 1-ranked contender and fighting for his eighth world championship. A four-division titlist and former pound-for-pound mainstay, Donaire fought brilliantly in what many picked as 2019’s Fight of the Year, a decision loss to Naoya Inoue. At age 37, Donaire is attempting to defy the belief that the smaller the fighter, the earlier the prime. The Premier Boxing Champions event is promoted by TGB Promotions.
PIVOTAL MIDDLEWEIGHT BOUT BETWEEN NO. 1 ROBERT WHITTAKER AND NO. 5 DARREN TILL HEADLINES
FINAL UFC FIGHT ISLAND CARD
MAURICIO RUA vs. ANTONIO ROGERIO NOGUEIRA 3
(#14) FABRICIO WERDUM vs. (#7 – LHW) ALEXANDER GUSTAFSSON
Las Vegas – The final event of the UFC® run of shows on UFC FIGHT ISLAND is set to be headlined by a pivotal middleweight bout as former champion and No. 1 ranked contender Robert Whittaker takes on No. 5 Darren Till. Also on the card, MMA legends Mauricio Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira look to settle their historic trilogy. All events on UFC FIGHT ISLAND are the result of a partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT ON ESPN®: WHITTAKER vs. TILL will take place Saturday, July 25 at Flash Forum on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island. The full event will be simulcast airing live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ (English and Spanish) with the prelims starting at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT and the main card at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. The event will be closed to the public and will be produced with only essential personnel in attendance
The first New Zealand-born UFC champion, Whittaker (21-5, fighting out of Sydney, Australia) aims to return to his winning ways and secure the next shot at his lost title. Whittaker first captured his championship after moving up in weight and going on an incredible winning streak that included stoppage wins over Jacare Souza, Derek Brunson and Brad Tavares. This streak was capped off with back-to-back wins over Yoel Romero to earn and retain the belt, in two of the best fights in the division’s history. He now intends to make a statement and cement his claim as the clear No. 1 contender.
Former UFC welterweight title challenger, Till (18-2, fighting out of Liverpool, England) made an immediate impact in the middleweight division with a victory over perennial top contender Kelvin Gastelum. Prior to moving up in weight, Till had established himself as one of the best welterweights in the world with marquee wins over Donald Cerrone and Stephen Thompson. Now, Till seeks to earn another shot at UFC gold by taking out his first former champion.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rua (26-11, fighting out of Curitiba, Brazil) looks to make it three in a row against fellow Brazilian legend Nogueira. One of the most exciting and dangerous athletes to compete in UFC and PRIDE, Rua has secured wins over a who’s who of MMA icons, including Alistair Overeem, Chuck Liddell, Mark Coleman, Rampage Jackson, Forrest Griffin and Lyoto Machida. He now intends to prove that he still has what it takes to compete with the best in the world.
Nogueira (23-9, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) plans to make the most of his third fight with Rua with a career-defining win. A former PRIDE standout, Nogueira made waves when he joined the UFC in 2009 by earning wins over former champions Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans. Now, he looks to get back in the win column with another signature finish in what could be his last bout.
Additional bouts on the card include:
Former UFC champion and No. 14 ranked Fabricio Werdum(23-8, fighting out of Los Angeles, Calif.) takes on former three-time light heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson(18-6, fighting out of Stockholm, Sweden) in the heavyweight division
In a matchup of top women’s strawweight contenders, former champion and No. 7 ranked Carla Esparza(17-6, fighting out of Irvine, Calif.) attempts to hand undefeated No. 9 Marina Rodriguez(12-0-2, fighting out of Santa Catarina, Brazil) her first loss
Paul Craig(12-4, fighting out of Coatbridge, Scotland) battles fellow light heavyweight grappler Gadzhimurad Antigulov(20-6, fighting out of Makhachkala, Russia)
An exciting welterweight matchup sees Alex Oliveira(20-8, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) take on Peter Sobotta(17-5, fighting out of Balingen, Germany)
Looking to set a record for fastest back-to-back UFC wins, Khamzat Chimaev(7-0, Stockholm, Sweden) returns to welcome Rhys McKee (10-2-1, fighting out of Northern Ireland)
Veteran lightweight Francisco Trinaldo (25-7, fighting out of Federal District, Brazil) looks to spoil the UFC debut of Jai Herbert (10-1, fighting out of England, United Kingdom)
Nicolas Dalby (15-2, fighting out of Copenhagen, Denmark) intends to put on another exciting performance when he meets Jesse Ronson(21-10, fighting out of London, Ontario, Canada) on short notice at welterweight
In a heavyweight bout, Tom Aspinall(7-2, fighting out of England, United Kingdom) aims to make a good first impression on UFC fans when he takes on Jake Collier (11-4, fighting out of Cuba, Mo.)
Undefeated featherweight prospect Movsar Evloev(12-0, fighting out of Ingushetia, Russia) looks to hand Mike Grundy (12-1, fighting out of England, United Kingdom) his first UFC loss
Streaking Canadian heavyweight Tanner Boser (18-6-1, fighting out of St. Albert, Alberta, Canada) steps up on short notice to take on Raphael Pessoa (10-1, fighting out of Atuba, Parana, Brazil)
No. 13 ranked women’s bantamweight Bethe Correia(11-4, fighting out of Campina Grande, Paraiba, Brazil) aims to defend her spot in the rankings against Pannie Kianzad(13-5, fighting out of Helsingborg, Skane County, Sweden)
Ramazan Emeev (18-4, fighting out of Makhachkala, Russia) looks to bounce back into the win column against short-notice replacement Niklas Stolze(12-3, fighting out of Magdeburg, Germany) in a welterweight bout
Top English bantamweight prospect Nathaniel Wood (16-4, fighting out of England, United Kingdom) aims to get back to his winning ways with a statement win over John Castaneda(14-2, fighting out of Minneapolis, Minn.)
UFC will then wrap up its first series of events on UFC FIGHT ISLAND with UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: WHITTAKER vs. TILL on Saturday, July 25.
For the latest information on additional bouts for this event, please visit www.ufc.com. All bouts live and subject to change.
A full line of UFC FIGHT ISLAND products, including t-shirts, hats, water bottles, tote bags, and more are available now on UFCStore.com