Knockdown Daily 9/18/21: Covering A Busy 48 Hours

Covering a busy 24 hours, and previewing an even more busy 24 hours

Welcome to the Saturday edition of the Knockdown Daily. This issue will be covering all the top news that has happened, and the headlines that will come in the next few days. This includes: last night's CES and Titan FC cards, recent UFC departures and a retirement, and the upcoming UFC, Bellator and RIZIN lineups.

It’s a big issue.


Matt Bessette Becomes Two-Division CES Champion, Announces Retirement From MMA

Matt Bessette announced his retirement from MMA on Friday night after defeating short-notice opponent Ryan Dela Cruz and becoming a two-division CES champion.

The final fight of his career headlined CES 64, which took place at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut, USA.

Bessette’s near-perfect performance against Dela Cruz came to a close in the third round with a rare inverted triangle choke from the back that forced a tap. The finish was only part of a dominant win for the MMA veteran.

Dela Cruz was dropped early in the second round as Bessette marched forward with a combination of punches. Bessette then attempted a rear naked choke that Dela Cruz was able to escape. Bessette remained on top until the round concluded.

The win gave Bessette the vacant CES Lightweight Championship. The Bellator and UFC alum entered the fight already recognized as the promotion’s featherweight titleholder as well.

Bessette, 36, revealed his departure from competition in the sport after the win.

“I’ve done everything. I’ve got nothing else I ‘gotta do,” said Bessette in his post-fight interview, taking off his gloves and confirming retirement from MMA.

Bessette was originally set to compete in a grudge match against Bruce Boyington. The opponent changed after Boyington tested positive for COVID-19.

Bessette walks away from MMA with 25 wins through 35 appearances. This includes 10 fights in Bellator and over a dozen between CES and Reality Fighting.

A full report on CES 64 can be read here.

Victor Dias Retains Titan FC Flyweight Championship, Catches Ryskulbek Ibraimov With Armbar

Victor Dias defended his Titan FC Flyweight Championship for the first time on Friday night, ending the win streak of Ryskulbek Ibraimov with a third-round armbar submission. The title fight headlined Titan FC 72, which took place at the InterContinental Hotel Miami in Miami, Florida, USA.

The finish win for Dias came after his most successful round yet, as he spent minutes searching for submissions on the ground.

Dias was also successful earlier in the bout.

He took the back of Ibraimov in the second round and attempted a rear naked choke. Confusingly, he was stood up due to inactivity. Dias landed another takedown before the round concluded.

Ibraimov scored a takedown early in the second round, although it was Dias that took most control time by the time the round wrapped up.

Dias first secured the Titan FC belt in March with a first-round submission over Wascar Cruz. The title fight was part of a three-fight winning streak that he had put together in the promotion.

Ibraimov was entering Titan FC on an eight-fight winning streak that mostly took place on the Kyrgyzstan regional scene.

A full report on Titan FC 72 can be read here.

UFC Vet Luke Sanders Announces Retirement

Eight-fight UFC vet Luke Sanders has made the call to retire from MMA.

The 35-year-old revealed his decision earlier this week on social media.

“I’m officially retired,” said Sanders via Instagram. “It’s been a great ride…thank you to all my coaches, friends, Family, and fans[.] All this was for y’all.”

Sanders joined the UFC roster in 2016 after attaining an undefeated 10-fight record on the regional scene. His run in the promotion started strong, securing a “Performance of the Night” bonus for a first-round rear naked choke against Maximo Blanco.

Sanders wrapped up his UFC run with a promotional record of three wins and five losses.

His last fight was in May, where Felipe Colares earned a unanimous decision victory. It was reported that he had parted ways with the UFC following the loss.

UFC Parts Way With Four Fighters, Including ‘Contender Series’ Standout Roosevelt Roberts

A four-pack of fighters is no longer part of the UFC roster, per a report from Guilherme Cruz and Damon Martin of MMA Fighting.

Anderson dos Santos, Drako Rodriguez, Jamey Simmons and Roosevelt Roberts are reportedly not under contract with the UFC at this moment.

All four fighters depart the roster after recent appearances in the octagon.

Roberts has gone winless in his past three bouts. He was knocked out late in his last bout, getting stopped by Ignacio Bahamondes last month.

Roberts was signed to the UFC roster in 2018 after a win on TV show “Dana White’s Contender Series.” The then-undefeated lightweight wraps up his promotional run with four wins and three losses.

Dos Santos also took a loss last month, getting finished by Miles Johns at UFC 265. The fight was his third loss through four UFC appearances.

Rodriguez had the shortest UFC stint of all fighters in the recent departure. The 25-year-old signed with the promotion last year off a “Dana White’s Contender Series” win, and is leaving after suffering two losses this year.

Simmons is off the UFC roster after being finished two consecutive times. He was submitted last month in a fight against Johnny Munoz.


UFC on ESPN+ 50: Smith vs. Spann

UFC will present a large show on Saturday night, holding 14 fights from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The long card will be the promotion’s 50th on subscription broadcasting platform ESPN+.

The evening will be headlined by light heavyweights Anthony Smith and Ryan Spann. The latter of the two will be making his first UFC main event appearance.

The large card includes many debuts, like Erin Blanchfield, Mandy Bohm and Brandon Jenkins.

Click this link for a full preview of UFC on ESPN+ 50.

Preliminary Card (4:00PM EDT / 1:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / TSN 2)
Bout 1: Emily Whitmire (4-4) vs. Hannah Goldy (5-2) (Flyweight)
Bout 2: Gustavo Lopez (12-6) vs. Alantengheili (14-8-1) (Bantamweight)
Bout 3: Impa Kasanganay (9-1) vs. Carlston Harris (16-4) (Welterweight)
Bout 4: Erin Blanchfield (6-1) vs. Sarah Alpar (9-5) (Flyweight)
Bout 5: Montel Jackson (10-2) vs. JP Buys (9-3) (Bantamweight)
Bout 6: Rongzhu (17-4) vs. Brandon Jenkins (15-7) (Lightweight)
Bout 7: Pannie Kianzad (15-5) vs. Raquel Pennington (11-8) (Bantamweight)
Bout 8: Tafon Nchukwi (5-1) vs. Mike Rodriguez (11-6) (Light Heavyweight)
Main Card (7:00PM EDT / 4:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / TSN 2)
Bout 9: Joaquin Buckley (12-4) vs. Antonio Arroyo (9-4) (Middleweight)
Bout 10: Nate Maness (13-1) vs. Tony Gravely (21-6) (Bantamweight)
Bout 11: Christos Giagos (19-8) vs. Arman Tsarukyan (16-2) (Lightweight)
Bout 12: Mandy Bohm (7-0) vs. Ariane Lipski (13-7) (Flyweight)
Bout 13: Ion Cutelaba (15-6-1) vs. Devin Clark (12-5) (Light Heavyweight)
Bout 14: Anthony Smith (35-16) vs. Ryan Spann (19-6) (Light Heavyweight)

Bellator 266: Davis vs. Romero

The long-awaited Bellator debut of Yoel Romero will happen on Saturday night, as he faces Phil Davis in the main event of Bellator 266 at the SAP Center in San Jose, California, USA.

Romero, a former UFC title challenger, will be fighting for the first time since he lost to Israel Adesanya in early 2020. Davis will be looking to bounce back from a recent loss against Vadim Nemkov.

You can read a bout-by-bout preview of Bellator 266 here.

Preliminary Card (7:00PM EDT / 4:00PM PDT) (Youtube)
Bout 1: Jesse Delgado (0-0) vs. Joshua Dillon (1-1) (Catchweight 130 lbs)
Bout 2: Edwin De Los Santos (0-0) vs. Jon Adams (0-1-1) (Flyweight)
Bout 3: Rhalan Gracie (0-2) vs. Shane Keefe (1-0) (Welterweight)
Bout 4: Bobby Seronio III (0-0) vs. Erin Hunter (0-0) (Bantamweight)
Bout 5: Abraham Vaesau (5-3) vs. Albert Gonzales (2-2) (Catchweight 175 lbs)
Bout 6: Khalid Murtazaliev (15-2) vs. Anthony Adams (8-2) (Middleweight)
Bout 7: Grant Neal (6-0) vs. Alex Polizzi (8-1) (Middleweight)
Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 7:00PM PDT) (Showtime)
Bout 8: Christian Edwards (5-0) vs. Ben Parrish (4-1) (Light Heavyweight)
Bout 9: Georgi Karakhanyan (31-11-1) vs. Saul Rogers (14-4) (Lightweight)
Bout 10: DeAnna Bennett (10-7-1) vs. Alejandra Lara (9-4) (Flyweight)
Bout 11: Neiman Gracie (10-2) vs. Mark Lemminger (12-3) (Welterweight)
Bout 12: Yoel Romero (13-5) vs. Phil Davis (22-6) (Light Heavyweight)


Japanese MMA promotion RIZIN is set to return to the prolific Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on Sunday morning for RIZIN 30. The card includes the quarter-finals of a bantamweight tournament that kicked off just months ago.

The card also includes RIZIN Super Atomweight Champion Ayaka Hamasaki and former K-1 Japan Kickboxing Champion Yuta Kubo, who will make his MMA debut against Greco-Roman wrestling Olympian Shinobu Ota.

A full preview of RIZIN 30 can be read here.

Main Card (1:00PM EDT / 2:00PM JST) (Live-Now / RIZIN Live)
Bout 1: Panchan Rina vs. Momoka (103 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
Bout 2: Shoji Maruyama (18-14-1) vs. Chihiro Suzuki (5-2) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 3: Shinobu Ota (0-1) vs. Yuta Kubo (0-0) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 4: Ulka Sasaki (23-8-2) vs. Yoshinori Horie (10-3) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 5: Koji Takeda (12-1) vs. Yusuke Yachi (22-11) (157 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 6: Ayaka Hamasaki (22-3) vs. Emi Fujino (25-11) (108 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 7: Yuki Motoya (28-9) vs. Kenta Takizawa (12-7) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
Bout 8: Hiromasa Ougikubo (22-5-2) vs. Takafumi Otsuka (29-18-1) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
Bout 9: Naoki Inoue (16-2) vs. Kintaro (14-9-2) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
Bout 10: Kai Asakura (17-3) vs. Alan Yamaniha (18-8-4) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)

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