UFC Returns to Newark with Pivotal Welterweight Bout

Jun 26, 2019








LAS VEGAS – UFC® returns to Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. for the first time in three years with a thrilling welterweight contenders’ bout that sees former interim titleholder and No. 2 ranked Colby Covington take on former champion and No. 10 Robbie Lawler. Among the other highly anticipated bouts will be a top-10 light heavyweight clash featuring former title challenger and No. 7 rankedVolkan Oezdemir against hard-hitting No. 9 Ilir Latifi.

UFC FIGHT NIGHT ON ESPN® will air live from the Prudential Center exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 3, with the prelims kicking off at 12 p.m. ET. on ESPN and in Spanish on the ESPN App.  Doors open at 11 a.m. ET. All UFC live events will also be available in English and Spanish.

Currently riding a six-fight win streak, Covington’s (14-1, fighting out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) last outing saw him secure an impressive decision victory over Rafael Dos Anjos one year ago. A NCAA Division I wrestler known for his relentless pressure, Covington has also netted dominant wins against former title challenger Demian Maia, Dong Hyun Kim and Bryan Barberena. He now aims to take out a former champion en route to earning a shot at the 170-pound belt.

Considered one of the most exciting KO artists in MMA history, Lawler (28-13 1NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.) first captured the welterweight championship against Johny Hendricks in late 2014. Lawler then went on to have epic title defenses against Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit. Lawler has also netted wins over Donald Cerrone, Matt Brown and Josh Koscheck during his career. He now hopes to stop Covington’s momentum and re-assert himself as one of the division’s most dangerous contenders.

A skilled kickboxer with heavy hands, Oezdemir (15-4, fighting out of Fribourg, Switzerland) earned his nickname “No Time” with a pair of rapid-fire knockouts that secured him a light heavyweight title shot in 2017. During his UFC tenure, Oezdemir has netted impressive wins over contenders Ovince Saint Preux, Misha Cirkunov and Jimi Manuwa. He now aims to re-assert himself in the championship picture with yet another highlight-reel finish.

A powerful and gritty grappler, Latifi (15-6 1NC, fighting out of Malmo, Sweden) has proven equally dangerous striking as he is on the mat. The Allstars Training Center standout has utilized relentless pressure to pick up spectacular victories against Ovince Saint Preux, Tyson Pedro and Gian Villante. Latifi now looks to add a former light heavyweight title challenger to his impressive resume to continue his ascent up the 205-pound ladder.

Announced bouts on the card include:

  • In a spectacular clash of lightweight veterans, New Jersey native Jim Miller (30-13 1NC, fighting out of Sparta, N.J.) locks horns with Clay Guida (35-15, fighting out of Johnsburg, Ill.)
  • Talented finisher Joaquim Silva (11-1, fighting out of Curitiba, Brazil) aims to put on another show-stealing performance against streaking Nasrat Haqparast (10-2, fighting out of Hamburg, Germany)
  • No. 8 ranked flyweight contender Jordan Espinosa (13-5 1NC, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) looks to keep his momentum going against No. 12 Matt Schnell (13-4, fighting out of Shreveport, La.)
  • No. 8 ranked Lauren Murphy (10-4, fighting out of Glendale, Ariz.) faces No. 12 Mara Romero Borella (13-5 1NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla. by way of Ponte dell’Olio, Italy) in a clash of women’s flyweight contenders
  • Dana White’s Contender Series signeeAntonina Shevchenko (7-1, fighting out of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan) looks to put on a striking clinic against gritty Lucie Pudilova (8-4, fighting out of Pribram, Czech Republic) in a battle of flyweight prospects
  • Trevin Giles (11-1, fighting out of Houston, Tex.) takes on Gerald Meerschaert (28-11, fighting out of Milwaukee, Wisc.) in an exciting middleweight bout
  • Hard-hitting light heavyweights throw down when Darko Stosic (13-2, fighting out of Belgrade, Serbia) faces Kennedy Nzechukwu (6-1, fighting out of Dallas, Tex.)
  • Ramazan Emeev (18-3, fighting out of Makhachkala, Russia) goes for his eighth consecutive win against submission ace Claudio Silva (13-1, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • Scott Holtzman (12-3, fighting out of Knoxville, Tenn.) hopes to return to the win column when he squares off with battle-tested Dong Hyun Ma (16-9, fighting out of Busan, South Korea)

For the latest information on additional bouts for this event, please visit www.ufc.com. All bouts live and subject to change.

Visit the UFC® Press Portal for information and content to support your UFC coverage. Please click here to apply for the event.

Tickets for UFC FIGHT NIGHT ON ESPN® go on sale Friday, June 28 at 10 a.m. ET. Tickets are available for purchase at ticketmaster.com. Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person.

UFC Fight Club® members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets Wednesday, June 26 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, June 27 starting at 10 a.m. ET. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through UFC.com.

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Jun 22, 2019


(ABOVE: Elias Espadas and D’Mitrius Ballard demonstrated a lot of sportsmanship after fighting to a no decision in the third-round of their fight on June 20 at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City)

PhotosPhoto Credit: Jeff Fusco-Hoganphotos/Golden BoyATLANTIC CITY, N.J.

(June 20, 2019): Middleweight contenders D’Mitrius “Big Meech” Ballard (20-0, 13 KOs) of Temple Hills, Maryland and Elias “Latin Kid” Espadas (18-5, 13 KOs) Yucatan, Mexico fought to a no decision in the third round due to a cut caused by an accidental head-butt in the 10-round main event of the June 20 edition of Golden Boy Fight Night on Facebook Watch at Ocean Casino Resort/Ovation Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. The event was streamed live globally on Facebook Watch via the Golden Boy Fight Night Page. “I felt like the fight could’ve went on,” said D’mitrius Ballard. “I’m not the judge. I’m not the doctor. He decided to stop the fight, so I just have to live with the decision and move forward.” “If I don’t fight Espadas in the next fight, I want to do a rematch for a belt. This is my first time fighting at 160, and I feel good and strong. I’m confident in my abilities, and there are a lot of great fighters at 160. I’m here to take my claim in the ring.” “I respect any man that comes into that ring. We are battling for our lives on that ring. Espadas is a tough fighter; he is a good quality opponent and a real quality fighter. I’m sure he will be back after this and I have much respect for him.” “I knew this was a hard and complicated fight, but my team did a great job,” said Elias Espadas. “I think we are doing things correctly. I would love to get better, continue to train hard and my team will decide if we do a rematch with Ballard.” Eddie “E-Boy” Gomez (23-3, 12 KOs) of the Bronx, New York defeated Saul Corral (30-14, 20 KOs) of Douglas, Arizona via knockout in the second round of a welterweight fight originally scheduled for ten rounds. Gomez won with time of 1:55 of the aforementioned round. “It was a great fight,” said Eddie Gomez. “We have a great team. I worked hard and it showed tonight. My opponent was a tough fighter, and we knew he was tough coming in. I just knew I had to do my job.” Franchon “The Heavy-Hitting Diva” Crews-Dezurn (5-1, 2 KOs) of Norfolk, Maryland stopped Kayla Williams (0-3-1) of New Iberia, Louisiana in the fifth round of a super middleweight battle originally slated for eight rounds. Crews won via TKO with time of 1:40 of the round just mentioned. “Thank you so much Golden Boy for letting me fight on this show,” said Franchon Crews.“I hope the fans enjoyed it. Every time I come, I’m going to bring action, and I’m just going to fight because I’m fighting for my dreams. My opponent definitely brought it to the ring, and she is a tough cookie; I appreciate her for taking the fight.”
Gabriel Pham (11-1, 5 KOs) of Atlantic City, New Jersey defeated Jaba Khositashvili (4-1, 2 KOs) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania via unanimous decision in a six-round super middleweight fight. Pham won with scores of 54-59, 53-60, and 54-59. “I boxed well,” said Gabriel Pham.“He was a tough guy and kept coming forward. I just had to use the angles and move around, just like my trainer told me to do. I followed the game plan and came out victorious, so I’m happy.” Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed (25-2, 13 KOs) of Washington, D.C. defeated Angel Hernandez (15-14-2, 9 KOs) of McAllen, Texas via unanimous decision in an eight-round welterweight battle. Reed won with scores of 79-73, 79-73, and 78-74.  “This was a very tough fight, exactly what I needed right now,” said Mike Reed. “I’m looking for the world title at 135 or 140. I feel really good.” George Rincon (7-0, 4 KOs) of Dallas, Texas stopped Greg Young (4-2, 1 KO) of Hoover, Alabama in the fourth round via knockout in a welterweight clash originally scheduled for six rounds. Rincon won with time of 2:01 of the aforementioned round.  “I started strong and I thought I got him on the first round,” said George Rincon. “I was a little anxious to finish, but it was a great fight. I learn with each fight and I’m ready for the next one.” Dan Murray (5-2) of Barnegat, New Jersey defeated Leonardo Kenon (3-6, 1 KO) of Quincy, Florida via unanimous decision in a four-round super lightweight fight. Murray won with scores of 40-36, 39-37, and 40-36. “It was a good fight,” said Dan Murray.“I was thinking too much in there, that’s why I hesitated a lot, but all around I had him a couple of times. It’s a learning experience. This is why we are here. I’m glad for my win, my team, my advisor, my manager. Thank you, Golden Boy, for this opportunity.”Ballard vs. Espadas was a 10-round middleweight fight presented by Golden Boy. The event was sponsored by Tecate “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Hennessy “Never Stop, Never Settle.” The event took place Thursday, June 20 at Ocean Casino Resort/Ovation Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. The fights was streamed live globally on Facebook Watch via the Golden Boy Fight Night Page

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Jun 22, 2019


Las Vegas – The 8th annual UFC International Fight Week™ will take place from Wednesday, July 3 through Sunday, July 7, with numerous events throughout Las Vegas, including the Downtown Las Vegas Event Center, The Palms Casino Resort, and T-Mobile Arena.

UFC International Fight Week is highlighted by the prestigious 2019 UFC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and an easily-accessible and fully interactive two-day UFC Fan Experience®, concerts, and more! The week-long festivities are anchored by the highly anticipated UFC® 239: JONES vs. SANTOSpresented by Modelo, which takes place on Saturday, July 6 at T-Mobile Arena. Tickets for UFC 239 are available viaAXS.

On Friday, July 5, UFC will host the 2019 UFC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonypresented by Toyo Tires®, at 7 p.m. at The Pearl at Palms Casino Resort.  The annual ceremony honors contributors and athletes that helped shape UFC and left an indelible mark on the sport of mixed martial arts. Tickets to the induction ceremony are priced at $20.00 (does not include fees), with all proceeds benefitting Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster. The ceremony will be streamed live on UFC FIGHT PASS®

Immediately following the ceremony, UFC will host its Official UFC International Fight Week Concert, headlined by multi-platinum recording artist Godsmack, at 10 p.m. at the Joint at Hard Rock Hotel. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster

Spanning more than 85,000 square feet, UFC’s two-day Fan Experience at the Downtown Las Vegas Event Center will be the one-stop shop for all fight fans, providing unparalleled free access to UFC champions, top-ranked contenders, UFC Hall of Famers, UFC personalities, and a UFC store.

UFC fans will have the opportunity to engage with a record-number of athletes and talent during free autograph sessions and meet and greets at the Downtown Las Vegas Event Center. This free of charge event will be part of the two-day UFC Fan Experience at the Downtown Las Vegas Event Center, which will be open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on both Friday, July 5 and Saturday, July 6.

Fans will be able to purchase exclusive UFC merchandise at the UFC store and, while also having the chance to participate in numerous activities with brand partners such as: Assault Fitness, Modelo, Monster Energy, Motel 6, PokerStars, Trifecta and Toyo Tires®.

The UFC International Fight Week app is the official destination for the most updated schedule of events, as well as the only place to secure your spot for autograph sessions. All of these exciting events are in addition to the regularly scheduled fight week activities. The UFC International Fight Week app is available on the App Store and Google Play.

For additional information, please visit UFC.com/fightweek.

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Jun 17, 2019

UFC’s First-Ever Talent Evaluation Event to Debut with Opening of New UFC Performance Institute® in Shanghai

LAS VEGAS – UFC®, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, today announced it will launch UFC Academy Combine, the company’s first-ever talent evaluation event that will offer athletes a platform to showcase their skills and abilities for a potential career in MMA.

The inaugural UFC Academy Combine will take place in Shanghai, China on Monday, June 17 and Tuesday, June 18, in conjunction with the opening of the new 93,000 square foot UFC Performance Institute in the city’s Jing’An district. The event will be invite only and host approximately 50 athletes.

Athletes from the UFC Academy Combine will also have the opportunity to receive a scholarship into UFC Academy, an MMA talent development program created and managed by the UFC Performance Institute®.   

“The UFC Academy Combine has been developed to support the assessment of MMA talent using a series of skill-based evaluations, profiling exams, and physical performance tests,” said Dr. Duncan French, UFC Vice President of Performance – UFC Performance Institute. “The first iteration of the UFC Academy Combine will be structured so we can conduct it ‘in-house’ at one of our facilities. The larger vision is to then develop a ‘field-based’ version of the combine, which can be implemented anywhere around the world and generate scores for comparison between MMA fighters from different countries.”

The inaugural UFC Academy Combine will be a two-day showcase in which a total of 72 individual metrics will be collected from the participating athletes. Each test will sit within one of 12 categories, including anthropometry; clinical evaluation; cognitive evaluation; grappling; striking; wrestling; alatic energy production; mechanical power; strength; lactic energy production; combat agility; and reaction/cognitive processing. 

Athletes will move between different ‘stations’ in order to complete the combine evaluation. Multiple tests will be running in parallel at any given time across both floors of the facility in order to allow for the completion of all tests. On each day of the event, athletes will be grouped together and move through a pre-designed schedule of testing.

The scoring system to be utilized at the combine will be designed so that clear comparisons can be made between individual fighters at the level of each test in each category, ultimately leading to an overall UFC Academy combine ranking for each athlete. Combine results will influence and shape the trajectory of an athlete’s development within UFC Academy.

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Blockbuster heavyweight championship rematch headlines UFC 241

Jun 12, 2019








Las Vegas – UFC® returns to Anaheim with a blockbuster heavyweight championship rematch that will see No.1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter Daniel Cormier defend against former titleholder and No. 1 contender Stipe Miocic. In a can’t miss welterweight thriller, No. 8 ranked Anthony Pettis welcomes back Nate Diaz.

UFC® 241: CORMIER vs. MIOCIC 2 takes place Saturday, August 17 at Honda Center and will stream live nationally on Pay-Per-View exclusively through ESPN+ in the U.S. at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT in both English and Spanish.

ESPN+ is the exclusive provider of all UFC Pay-Per-View events to fans in the U.S. as part of an agreement announced in March and continuing through 2025.

As UFC® 241: CORMIER vs. MIOCIC 2 approaches, fans will be able to purchase itonline at ESPNPlus.com/PPV or on the ESPN App on mobile and connected-TV devices.  ESPN+ is available as an integrated part of the ESPN App on all major mobile and connected TV devices and platforms, including Amazon Fire, Apple, Android, Chromecast, PS4, Roku, Samsung Smart TVs, X Box One and more.

Preliminary fights will air nationally in English and Spanish on ESPN and ESPN Deportes linear networks starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT with the early prelims simulcast on UFC Fight Pass and ESPN+ at 6:15 p.m. ET/3:15 p.m. PT.

A two-time member of the United States Olympic freestyle wrestling team and one of only four fighters to simultaneously hold championships in two UFC divisions, Cormier (22-1 1NC, fighting out of San Jose, Calif.) dethroned Miocic via KO during their initial encounter at UFC 226 last year. Throughout his legendary career, he has netted spectacular victories over Derrick Lewis, Alexander Gustafsson, Dan Henderson and Anthony Johnson (twice). Cormier now aims to secure his second title defense against the division’s most dominant champion.

Holder of the record for most successful consecutive heavyweight title defenses in UFC history at three, former champion Miocic (18-3, fighting out of Independence, Ohio) looks to even the score with Cormier. After capturing the championship in 2016 via first-round KO against Fabricio Werdum, Miocic went on to earn thrilling wins against Francis Ngannou, Junior Dos Santos and Alistair Overeem. With revenge on his mind, Miocic is now gunning to become only the fourth fighter to reclaim the UFC heavyweight championship.

Former UFC lightweight champion Pettis (22-8, fighting out of Milwaukee, Wisc.) made a huge splash at welterweight when he became the first fighter to knock out Stephen Thompson this past March. Known for his flashy striking and slick ground game, he has also finished Charles Oliveira, Gilbert Melendez, Benson Henderson and Donald Cerrone. Pettis now hopes to keep his momentum rolling with another show-stealing performance against one of the most dangerous fighters on the UFC roster.

Winner of The Ultimate Fighter season five, Diaz (20-11, fighting out of Stockton, Calif.) makes his highly anticipated first appearance since his epic double-bill against Conor McGregor. A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt with a relentless striking attack, Diaz has beaten some of the biggest names in the sport. On top of submitting McGregor, he has bested Michael Johnson, Gray Maynard, Jim Miller and Donald Cerrone. Diaz now looks for another big finish and to remind fans why he is one of the most exciting fighters in MMA.

Additional bouts on the card include:

  • In a highly anticipated middleweight contenders’ bout, No. 2 ranked Yoel Romero (13-3, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla. by way of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba) battles undefeated No. 8 Paulo Costa(12-0, fighting out of Contagem, Brazil)
  • No.3 ranked bantamweight contender Raphael Assuncao (27-6, fighting out of Alpharetta, Ga. by way of Recife, Brazil) looks to re-assert himself in the title picture against surging No. 9 Cory Sandhagen (11-1, fighting out of Aurora, Colo.)
  • No.9 ranked middleweight contender Derek Brunson (19-7, fighting out of Wilmington, N.C.) hopes to build on his momentum against rising No. 11 Ian Heinisch (13-1, fighting out of Englewood, Colo.)

·         Streaking featherweights collide when Gabriel Benitez (21-7, fighting out of Tijuana, Mexico) meets Sodiq Yusuff (9-1, fighting out of Bladensburg, Md. by way of Lagos, Nigeria)

  • Sabina Mazo (6-1, fighting out of Medellín, Colombia) takes on Shana Dobson (3-3, fighting out of Fort Worth, Tex.) in a clash of flyweight prospects

For the latest information on additional bouts for this event, please visit www.ufc.com. All bouts live and subject to change.

Visit UFC.com for information and content to support your UFC coverage. Please click here to apply for the event.

Tickets for UFC® 241: CORMIER vs. MIOCIC 2 go on sale Friday, June 14 at 10 a.m. PT. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.ticketmaster.com. Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person.

UFC Fight Club® members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets Wednesday, June 12 at 10 a.m. PT via the website www.ufcfightclub.com. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers Thursday, June 13 starting at 10 a.m. PT. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through UFC.com.

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LA Galaxy listo para iniciar campaña 2019 de la U.S. Open Cup

Jun 12, 2019


LOS ANGELES (Lunes, 10 de junio, 2019) – LA Galaxy (9-6-1, 28 puntos) está listo para su debut en la cuarta ronda de la U.S. Open Cup 2019, cuando el equipo reciba al Orange County FC el miércoles, 12 de junio en el Dignity Health Sports Park Track & Field Stadium.

Galaxy ha registrado un récord de 34-18-0 en todos los tiempos en la Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. El club ha participado en la Copa Abierta todos los años desde 1999, ganando el torneo en el 2001 y 2005 y llegando a la final de la Copa Abierta en otras dos ocasiones. El año pasado, el Galaxy avanzó a los octavos de final antes de caer ante Portland Timbers en condición de visitante. 

Galaxy regresará a la acción de la MLS ante FC Cincinnati el sábado, 22 de junio a las 4:30 p.m. PT en el Nippert Stadium (Spectrum SportsNet).

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Newark Native Shakur Stevenson to face Hairon Socarras July 13 at Prudential Center Live on ESPN

Jun 12, 2019

Newark Homecoming: Brick City Native Shakur Stevenson to face Hairon Socarras July 13 at Prudential Center Live on ESPN

Stevenson-Socarras and Joshua Greer Jr.-Nikolai Potapov to be televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT

Entire undercard to stream live on ESPN+ starting at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT

 Shakur Stevenson, born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, and closing in on a world title shot, is coming home. Stevenson, a 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist and the WBO No. 1 featherweight contender, will face fellow unbeaten Hairon Socarras in the 10-round main event Saturday, July 13 at Prudential Center, home of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

In the co-feature, fast-rising bantamweight contender Joshua Greer Jr. will face Nikolai Potapov in an IBF eliminator for the organization’s No. 2 ranking.

Stevenson-Socarras and Greer-Potapov will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.

The entire undercard will stream live on ESPN+ — the leading multi-sport streaming service — starting at 7 p.m. ET. 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Vijender Singh (10-0, 7 KOs), India’s most prominent professional boxer and the only Olympic boxing medalist in his nation’s history, will make his long-awaited return on the undercard in an eight-round super middleweight bout. Singh’s countryman, top super welterweight prospect Vikas “The Indian Tank” Krishan (2-0, 1 KO), will see action in a six-rounder.

Promoted by Top Rank, tickets priced at $100, $75, $50 and $25 (not including applicable fees) go on sale Tuesday, June 11 at 10 a.m. ET and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 and in person at the Prudential Center box office starting Wednesday, June 12 at 11 a.m. ET.

“Newark, I’m coming home! I’ve wanted to fight at Prudential Center since my pro debut, and the time has finally come,” Stevenson said.  “I haven’t fought in Newark in over four years, and I promise it will be worth the wait.  On July 13, I’m going to show the ESPN audience and Hairon Socarras what Brick City is all about. Socarras is an undefeated fighter, but he has never been in the ring with anyone like me. This is my first main event, and my hometown fans are going to see the best Shakur Stevenson yet.”

“I am so excited to be on such a big stage,” Socarras said. “I am looking forward to fight night. This is what boxing is about. I will bring my ‘A’ game and give it my all. I have a surprise for Shakur. I have the utmost respect for my opponent until the bell rings. Although my mother isn’t here on earth any longer, I want to thank her for all the great years she gave me, and this one’s for her. Thank you to ESPN for this platform, and Top Rank for giving me a shot at their top prospect. I’m coming to win.”

“I’ve been ready for these types of fights. I’ve been perfecting my craft every day, and I’m ready to put on a great show,” Greer said. “I’m going to continue to be Mr. ESPN, and watch out, I have something special planned for everyone who tunes in. Potapov looks like my toughest fight on paper, but he’s an average fighter. I’m going to show that there are levels to this game. He will be exposed because I am on a different level. I’m the best fighter he ever fought.”

Stevenson (11-0, 6 KOs) returned from the 2016 Rio Olympics as one of the sport’s most highly touted prospects. He graduated from prospect to contender status in 2018, knocking out longtime contender Viorel Simion in one round as the ESPN-televised co-feature to the Terence Crawford-Jose Benavidez fight in Omaha, Nebraska. Stevenson shined on the Crawford-Amir Khan pay-per-view undercard April 20 at Madison Square Garden, dominating former world title challenger Christopher Diaz over 10 rounds.

Socarras (22-0-3, 14 KOs), who moved from Cuba to Miami at the age of 11, is an eight-year pro who is taking a massive step up in competition against Stevenson. A 5-foot-6 boxer-puncher who has competed as high as lightweight, he is 6-0 with three knockouts since the start of 2018, most recently knocking out Jesus Martinez in five rounds on May 10 in Hollywood, Florida.

Greer (20-1-1, 12 KOs) has emerged as one of the bantamweight division’s hardest punches, as he’s riding a seven-bout knockout streak dating back to early 2017. The Chicago native will be making his second consecutive ESPN appearance. Last time out, Feb. 15 in Hinckley, Minnesota, Greer got up off the deck in the third round to stop Giovanni Escaner in the eighth. Potapov (20-1-1, 11 KOs) has won three in a row since a TKO defeat to longtime flyweight and junior bantamweight world champion Omar Narvaez. Potapov was last seen on American airwaves in March 2017 when he edged Antonio Nieves by split decision. On that same card, Greer debuted his famed “Night Night” pillow celebration following his one-punch knockout over James Smith. Greer, whose pillows have become more elaborate with each passing fight, is having a special one designed for his New Jersey debut.

For more information, visit: www.toprank.comwww.espn.com/boxing; Facebook:facebook.com/trboxing; Twitter: twitter.com/trboxing.

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Sweet Six: Oscar Valdez Decisions Jason Sanchez

Jun 12, 2019

 Sweet Six: Oscar Valdez Decisions Jason Sanchez

Valdez defeats Sanchez by unanimous decision, defends WBO featherweight title for the sixth time

Gabriel Flores Jr. defeats Salvador Briceno, improves to 14-0

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank)

RENO, Nev. (June 8, 2019) — For the third time in his WBO featherweight world title reign, Oscar Valdez turned away the challenge of a previously undefeated fighter. Valdez, a two-time Olympian for his native Mexico, defeated Albuquerque product Jason Sanchez via unanimous decision to defend his world title for the sixth time.

The scores — 118-109 2x and 117-110 — were reflective of the action, but Sanchez, appearing in his first world title contest, made the longtime champion work for the victory.

Valdez (26-0, 20 KOs) knocked down Sanchez with a lead left hook to open the fifth round and played the role of boxer-puncher throughout the evening.

Sanchez (14-1, 7 KOs) was game, but he did not have an answer for Valdez, who has become a less of a brawler and more of a defensive-minded, catch-and-shoot tactician under the guidance of trainer Eddy Reynoso.

“I hope {to fight at featherweight again}. I also have to listen to my body. We’re going to see what’s best,” Valdez said. “Sometimes I get tired in there, and I’m not sure if it’s because of the weight loss. We’ll talk about {my next move} as a team and will do what is best. I want to fight everybody at 126, 130. Let’s do it.”

“Sanchez lacked experience, but he showed tremendous guts. Oscar Valdez fought him back and showed his championship heart,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “We’re going to look for a fight later on in the year between Valdez and Carl Frampton if Frampton is successful in his next fight.”

Flores Jr. improves to 14-0

Gabriel Flores Jr., 35 days removed from his last ESPN appearance, authored quite the encore. Flores (14-0, 6 KOs), the Stockton, California, native who packed more than 10,000 fans into the Stockton Arena on May 4 for his third-round knockout over Eduardo Pereira Reis, made the short drive to Reno and outfought Salvador Briceno to earn an eight-round unanimous decision (79-73 and 78-74 2X) in the co-feature.

Briceno (15-4, 9 KOs), from Guadalajara, Mexico, saw his two-bout winning streak come to an end, while Flores improved to 3-0 in 2019.

At 19 years of age, Flores cemented his status as one of boxing’s sublime teenage talents.

“I want to fight in the next two, three months. If they want me to fight next month, we can talk about it,” Flores said. “I am only 19, and I am only getting better. I’m staying busy and fighting better opponents. Top Rank is developing me perfectly, and it’s about fighting all different types of fighters to get me ready for the championship level.”

In other action:

— Light heavyweight contender Michel Seals (23-2, 17 KOs) took matters into his own hands, knocking out veteran Christopher Brooker (14-7, 5 KOs) with a single right hand at 2:00 of the second round. Seals has won three in a row since a controversial disqualification loss.

“He’s a tough guy. I did my homework on him,” Seals said. “I knew he was crafty, so I had to take my time. I knew I was going to walk him into something.”

— Robson Conceicao, a 2016 Olympic gold medalist for his native Brazil, improved to 13-0 with an eight-round unanimous decision over Carlos Ruiz (16-7-2, 6 KOs). Ruiz, who has fought the likes of Shakur Stevenson and former world champion Hozumi Hasegawa, has never been stopped as a pro. The judges scored the bout as followed: 80-72 (2x) and 79-73.
— Diego Elizondo (2-0-2, 0 KOs) and Sergio Vega (2-0-1, 2 KOs) fought to a four-round draw in a crowd-pleasing lightweight bout. All three judges scored the contest 38-38.

— Reno native JJ Mariano had a successful pro debut, scoring a fourth-round TKO over William Flenoy in a super lightweight bout. Flenoy (0-1) injured his shoulder and was unable to continue.

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Jun 12, 2019


Las Vegas ­– UFC® today announced that the classic 2009 fight between season one winner of The Ultimate Fighter® Diego Sanchez and former Strikeforce® lightweight champion Clay Guida will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame’s ‘Fight Wing’ as a part of the class of 2019. The 2019 UFC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Toyo Tires®, will take place on Friday, July 5, at The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Tickets can be purchased via Ticketmaster. The event will be streamed live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS® starting at 7 p.m. PT. 

“There are certain guys that when you match them up, there’s no doubt in your mind that it’s going to be a good fight, and this was one of those fights,” UFC President Dana White said. “This fight represents everything that fans around the world love about UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts. Diego and Clay are two maniacs and as soon as the fight began, they both came out blasting each other, it was crazy! This was an absolute war and both guys gave everything they had for all three rounds. This fight was so good it was named the 2009 Fight of the Year. It is one of the best displays of heart, endurance and will to win that you will ever see. Congratulations to Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida on a fight that will always be remembered as one of the best ever!” 

As the main event of The Ultimate Fighter®: United States vs. United Kingdom Finale, which took place on Saturday, June 20, 2009, at the Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, both athletes entered the highly-anticipated matchup on three-fight winning streaks.

Sanchez entered the Octagon® with an impressive 22-2 record that included victories over former WEC® welterweight champions Nick Diaz and Karo Parisyan, former WEC® middleweight champion Joe Riggs and 2007 Strikeforce middleweight grand prix champion Jorge Santiago.

“The fight with Guida was really fun,” said Sanchez. “My mentality was that it was time to get street on this wrestler and that’s exactly what I did!”

Guida arrived at the Palms with a 25-6 record and wins over season five winner of The Ultimate Fighter® and current UFC welterweight Nate Diaz, season six winner of The Ultimate Fighter® Mac Danzig and former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson.

“When you take a rampaging beast like Diego Sanchez, and a wild Tasmanian devil like me, you get a recipe for Fight of the Year, and that’s what we gave UFC fans that night,” said Guida. “The fans were the true winners and they deserved it more than anyone. Thank you for inducting this prolific battle into the UFC Hall of Fame! On behalf of my team, family, and friends that helped us prepare for that fight, we are truly honored!” 

Known for their intense personalities and tenacious fighting styles, both athletes ignited the crowd with their pre-fight antics and met in the center of the Octagon following introductions for an epic staredown that would be an indicator of things to come over the next three rounds.   

Sanchez quickly advanced to Guida’s side of the Octagon as the fight began and both athletes stood toe to toe exchanging punches until Diego connected on a right uppercut that almost floored Clay ten seconds into the first round. Sanchez continued his attack with a barrage of flying knees and punches as Guida covered up in an attempt to regain his footing. A third flying knee by Sanchez sent Guida’s mouthpiece out of his mouth and onto the canvas, as he moved to avoid Diego’s punches.

Sanchez continued as the aggressor, bombarding Guida with flying knees, uppercuts and jabs until Clay was able to secure his first takedown, directly into full guard, 69 seconds into the fight. Now with the advantage, Guida began landing a series of elbows while pushing Sanchez into the side of the Octagon as Diego, now bleeding, feverishly scrambled to get up off the canvas. Sanchez was able to shake Guida off as both fighters stood up at the 2:20 mark of the round.

Referee Josh Rosenthal immediately stopped the action to allow Clay to go to his corner and secure his mouthguard before fighting resumed at the center of the Octagon. Both fighters circled the center of the canvas for nine seconds until Sanchez connected on a left head kick that floored Guida, allowing Diego to resume his attack. Sanchez would take Clay down into side control with 37 seconds remaining, maintaining control for the remainder of one of the most explosive rounds in UFC history. At the conclusion of the round, both fighters combined to throw 114 significant strikes and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

The action continued in round two, with Guida taking Sanchez down 30 seconds into the round and controlling the action via ground-and-pound. Known for his jiu-jitsu, Diego attempted various submissions from his back and connected on a series of elbows from guard position. Guida maintained control throughout the round, matching Diego’s opening round success heading into the third.    

Having each won one round, both athletes were exhausted entering round three, with Guida starting the action by throwing punches to try and set up a takedown. Both athletes traded punches for the majority of the round, until Guida’s takedown attempt at the 1:50 mark was countered by Sanchez, resulting in Diego taking Clay’s back and trying to submit him via arm triangle. Diego lost his arm triangle bid and Clay ended up on top in full guard with Sanchez maneuvering to attempt a kimura. Guida was able to defend Diego’s submission attempt and the fight ended with a final barrage of punches from both fighters.

Sanchez would win the bout via split decision, earning a title shot against UFC Hall of Famer BJ Penn for the lightweight title in the main event of UFC® 107: PENN vs. SANCHEZ. He would lose his title bid against Penn but has continued to fight the best athletes in the world inside the Octagon.

During his career, Sanchez has competed in 29 fights inside the Octagon and is one of only two fighters that have competed in UFC’s middleweight, welterweight, lightweight and featherweight divisions, joining Kenny Florian. Diego is currently on a two-fight winning streak and most recently defeated Mickey Gall via TKO at UFC® 235: JONES vs. SMITH, in Las Vegas on Saturday, March 2, 2019. 

Guida has also continued to flourish inside the Octagon following this historic fight, winning 10 of his last 18 fights, including three of his last four. Clay recently earned a unanimous decision victory over Penn atUFC® 237: NAMAJUNAS vs. ANDRADE, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday, May 11, 2019.  

The 8th Annual UFC International Fight Week™ will take place from Wednesday, July 3 – Sunday, July 7 in Las Vegas. For more information, download the official UFC International Fight Week app, that is available on the App Store and Google Play.

To view the Hall of Fame fight library, please visit UFCHOF. To see a complete list of UFC athletes and fights enshrined in the UFC Hall of Fame, as well as details regarding the UFC Hall of Fame format, please visit UFCHOFFAQ. For additional information, please visit UFC.com.

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Oscar Valdez-Jason Sanchez Headline Saturday’s Top Rank on ESPN Show

Jun 12, 2019
Weigh-In Results: Reno Fight Night

Valdez vs. Sanchez
Flores Jr. vs. Briceno

Reno-Sparks Convention Center (Reno, Nevada)
LIVE on ESPN/ESPN Deportes, TOMORROW at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT
Undercard Streaming on ESPN+ at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT 

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank)

ESPN & ESPN Deportes (10 p.m. ET)

Oscar Valdez 125.4 lbs vs. Jason Sanchez 124.8 lbs
(Valdez’s WBO Featherweight world title – 12 Rounds)
Judges/Referee: Tim Cheatham, Eric Cheek and Glenn Trowbridge/Vic Drakulich

Gabriel Flores Jr. 132.8 lbs vs. Salvador Briceno 132.2 lbs
(Lightweight  – 8 Rounds)
Judges/Referee: Robert Hoyle, Patricia Morse Jarman and Dave Moretti/Robert Byrd

ESPN+ (7:30 p.m. ET)

• Robson Conceicao 127.8 lbs vs. Carlos Ruiz 127.2 lbs
(Super Featherweight – 8 Rounds)

• Diego Elizondo 134.8 lbs vs. Sergio Vega 133.6 lbs

(Lightweight – 4 Rounds)

• Michael Seals 175.2 lbs vs. Christopher Brooker 174.6 lbs
(Light Heavyweight – 10 Rounds)

•  JJ Mariano 138.2 lbs vs. William Flenoy 139.4 lbs
(Super Lightweight – 4 Rounds)

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Let’s Get It On Promotions and Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, tickets for this world championship event priced at $103, $68 and $43 (including facility fees) are on sale now and can be purchased via Ticketmaster.com or in person at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa gift shop.

For more information, visit: www.toprank.comwww.espn.com/boxing; Facebook: facebook.com/trboxing; Twitter: twitter.com/trboxing.

Sign-up to ESPN+ at www.espnplus.com.
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