Knockdown Daily 1/20/22: Eagle FC Announces Full Lineup For U.S. Debut
Eagle FC's U.S. debut event leads the MMA headlines for Thursday
Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Knockdown Daily. Today’s another busy issue, covering the top MMA stories from the past 24 hours.
Eagle FC, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s MMA promotion, has unveiled a full 10-fight lineup for their debut U.S. event next week. The promotion is expected to hold Eagle FC 44 from the FLX Arena in Miami, Florida, USA on January 28th, and will be broadcasted on the new streaming service GoFLX.
The card will be headlined by heavyweight veterans Sergei Kharitonov and Tyrone Spong. Spong, a fighter who is mostly known for an extensive career in boxing and kickboxing, will be fighting for his third MMA victory.
Kharitonov, a former Pride FC and Bellator fighter, is riding the momentum of a win he earned against Fabio Maldonado in November.
Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans will make his return to action in the co-main event, facing 17-fight vet Gabriel Checco. Evans will be attempting to break a five-fight losing streak that developed in the latter half of his UFC run.
A pair of former UFC bantamweights will collide on the main card, as Ray Borg and Cody Gibson will meet.
Experienced fighter John Howard will attempt to break the undefeated record of welterweight Ramazan Kuramagomedov, who enters the card with nine wins.
Former ONE Championship prospect Raimond Magomedaliev will kick off the main card, facing WEC and UFC vet Anthony Njokuani.
Here’s the full lineup:
Bout 10: Tyrone Spong (2-0) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (33-9) (Heavyweight)
Bout 9: Rashad Evans (19-8-1) vs. Gabriel Checco (12-5) (Light Heavyweight)
Bout 8: Ray Borg (14-5) vs. Cody Gibson (18-7) (Bantamweight)
Bout 7: John Howard (29-17-1) vs. Ramazan Kuramagomedov (9-0) (Welterweight)
Bout 6: Raimond Magomedaliev (8-1) vs. Anthony Njokuani (16-12) (Welterweight)
Bout 5: Dylan Salvador (3-1) vs. Arman Ospanov (11-4) (Featherweight)
Bout 4: Yorgan De Castro (7-3) vs. Shaun Asher (13-4-1) (Heavyweight)
Bout 3: Loik Radhzabov (15-4-1) vs. Zach Zane (15-9) (Catchweight 165 lbs)
Bout 2: Miles Hunsinger (7-0) vs. Demarques Jackson (11-6) (Catchweight 165 lbs)
Bout 1: Shawn Bunch (10-5) vs. Adi Alic (8-4) (Bantamweight)
Two Fights Join UFC 272 Lineup
Two more matchups have recently been confirmed for UFC 272, which is set to happen on March 5th.
Heavyweights Greg Hardy and Serghei Spivac are still expected to meet, just later than first intended. The matchup is now expected to take place at UFC 272, per an announcement made Tuesday.
Hardy and Spivac were initially expected to meet this weekend at UFC 270. However, the fight had to be removed from the card after Hardy suffered an injury.
Hardy enters the new booking on a two-fight skid. He was stopped in just over a minute in his last bout, losing to Tai Tuivasa in July 2021.
Spivac was coming in on short notice for this weekend’s show, stepping in for veteran Aleksei Oleinik. The new matchup offers him more time to prepare for the fight.
Spivac is also coming off a loss, having been finished by Tom Aspinall in September.
The UFC debut of Ihor Potieria will come on a big stage, as he will face Nick Negumereanu at the promotion’s March 5th pay-per-view event. The bout was confirmed Wednesday by Nolan King of MMA Junkie.
Poiteria secured a UFC contract in September, stopping Lukasz Sudolski within a round on the TV show “Dana White’s Contender Series.” The victory continued an impressive winning streak that he has kept intact for most of his more than 20-fight pro career.
Negumereanu will be returning after a successful 2021. He scored his first UFC victory in June 2021, fighting to a split decision win over Aleksa Camur. He followed that up with a finish win over Ike Villanueva later in the year.
UFC has loosened their COVID-19 protocol surrounding vaccinated talent.
The promotion will no longer require vaccinated fighters or coaches to quarantine or be tested during fight weeks, per a company memo that was recently reported on by Nolan King of MMA Junkie.
A requirement is still in place for vaccinated fighters and coaches to take a COVID-19 test before traveling to an event. Unvaccinated talent is still expected to obey protocol that asks for them to quarantine during fight week and be tested twice during that time.
While the change is set to fully take place during this upcoming fight week, the promotion reportedly began using the protocol at last weekend’s “Fight Night” event in Las Vegas as well.
The change opens up the potential for COVID-19 transmission at events. The recent Omicron variant of COVID-19 has caused skyrocketing cases in the U.S., in part due to how it has been able to infect vaccinated individuals.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in December that they expect that people with the Omicron variant “can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.
On Tuesday, the U.S. reported a seven-day average of 762,000 new COVID-19 cases a day.
UFC’s return to London, England is finally official. The promotion recently confirmed that they will host a “Fight Night” event at The O2 Arena on March 19th, with tickets for the event going on sale in early February.
The event will be UFC’s first in England in over three years. The promotion has been unable to visit the country in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic limiting where they could host events. Their previous appearance in London dates all the way back to March 2019.
The promotion hoped to host an event in England last year, although that event later got confirmed for Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, instead.
Many had already expected UFC’s March 19th event to mark their return to England, in part due to the reported matchups for the card. The show is currently expected to include numerous British talents, including Jake Hadley, Muhammad Mokaev, and Tom Aspinall.
PFL will debut their new recruitment show next month, the “Challenger Series,” by showcasing light heavyweights. The promotion revealed Wednesday that the first episode of their new series will air on February 18th, and will include seven 205-pound prospects from around the world.
PFL first unveiled its “Challenger Series” idea last month. The show offers prospects a chance to fight their way into PFL’s annual season and playoff format, a system that has a grand prize of $1 million.
The weekly series, which is set to air for eight episodes this year, is similar to UFC’s “Dana White’s Contender Series” show. Showcase bouts will happen on the broadcast, and by the end of each episode, a panel of judges will pick one fighter to join the promotion.
PFL has announced seven names that will compete at their February 18th event: Josh Silveira, Bruco Suoto, Taylor Johnson, Alexander Poppeck, Joao Paulo Fagundes, Simeon Powell and Mohamed Juma. More details on all of the fighters can be read here.
ONE Championship’s late-January “Only The Brave” event is set to proceed without a title fight after COVID-19 protocols have hit the card.
The promotion removed a title fight from their January 28th lineup earlier this week, as protocols forced Anatoly Malykhin out of his fight against Kirill Grishenko for the promotion’s interim heavyweight MMA title, per an announcement made Tuesday.
The fight is now expected to take place on February 11th at ONE Championship’s “Bad Blood” event. That show has two title bouts set for it now. It was previously reported that former UFC fighter John Lineker will meet Bibiano Fernandes at the event.
“Only The Brave” still has 10 bouts in total scheduled for it, including two semi-final matchups in their kickboxing grand prix. That pair of fights are now expected to headline the show.
ONE Championship has already dealt with some COVID-19 struggles this year. Their first event of the year, which took place last weekend, went from 12 bouts to eight in total just days before due to the promotion’s protocols.
In this week’s episode of “Throwback Thursday,” we took a look at Pride FC’s “Armed and Ready” card from April 28th, 2002. This seven-fight card was headlined by the first meeting between Pride FC Champion Wanderlei Silva and K-1 talent Mirko Cro Cop. This card also includes the pro debut of Bob Sapp, the promotional debut of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, the return of Rampage Jackson, and more.
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