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UFC 186 has gone through some notable changes since it was originally announced, but we seem to have settled on a lineup of fights. The card isn’t exactly packed with superstars, but it still rates a cut above a normal Fight Night event.

The long-awaited rematch between UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw and Renan Barao was supposed to take place as the main event. Unfortunately, for the second time, that fight was postponed. The rematch was called off once before at UFC 177 due to Barao falling ill during his weight cut.

This time, the champion had to bow out due to injury.

The UFC flyweight title fight between champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Kyoji Horiguchi replaces Dillashaw vs. Barao as the main event. Johnson is one of the best fighters in the world, but he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Size bias and ignorance are the best explanations for the lack of appreciation for one of the best fighters in the world.

Nonetheless, Johnson keeps fighting and winning. 

The co-feature between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Fabio Maldonado almost didn’t happen. A lawsuit filed by Bellator FC, Jackson’s previous promotion, initially blocked his participation in the event. However, on April 21, per Damon Martin of Fox Sports, the injunction was lifted, and Rampage was cleared to take on Maldonado.

Needless to say, UFC President Dana White was pleased with the news. Per a press release (h/t Martin) White said: “We are happy with the decision from the New Jersey Court allowing Rampage to fight in Montreal this Saturday night. I am looking forward to seeing Rampage back in the Octagon.”

Now that almost everything is intact, here’s a look at the viewing information and my predictions for every fight on the card. Let’s focus on the bouts that I predict will result in Fight Night bonuses. Those bouts are highlighted in the table below and further analyzed in the text that follows.


Fight of the Night: Makdessi vs. Campbell

Both John “The Bull” Makdessi and “Shaolin” Shane Campbell enjoy standing and striking. Makdessi’s boxing is above-average, and Campbell’s background as a kickboxer makes him a live underdog in the bout. Per Odds Shark, Campbell’s odds of 151-100 are likely enticing to bettors.

He’s a bit of an unknown commodity considering this is his UFC debut, but he is a good striker who can handle himself off his back. He’s also good at scrambling to his feet, as you can see in his TKO win over Jerrid Burke via AXS TV Fights.

Campbell will also enjoy a four-inch height advantage against Makdessi. This is a battle between two proud Canadians who are fighting in front of their countrymen. Makdessi is looking to make a significant move in the lightweight division, while Campbell wants to make an impact with the promotion overall.

While Makdessi has the edge in experience, Campbell has the physical advantages. 

Style agreement, potential career advancement and the elements of pride make this my pick for Fight of the Night.


Performance of the Night No. 1: Thomas Almeida

At just 23 years old, Thomas Almeida is 18-0 with 17 wins by stoppage. The only opponent he’s faced as a professional who has gone the distance with him is Tim Gorman in Almeida’s last bout. That fight was the Brazilian’s UFC debut.

While he dominated Gorman en route to a unanimous-decision victory, he’ll undoubtedly want to finish the job in his second bout with the promotion.

Yves Jabouin is a good candidate to be stopped. The 35-year-old has lost by knockout (four) or submission (three) in seven of his nine defeats. He’s a good athlete, but the Haitian veteran won’t be any match for Almeida’s surgical and powerful striking.

Bet on Almeida securing an impressive victory via strikes or submission after a hard shot drops Jabouin and makes him vulnerable to a choke. It should be impressive enough to garner one of the Performance of the Night bonuses.


Performance of the Night No. 2: Demetrious Johnson

As Bleacher Report’s Jordy McElroy surmises in his article about Mighty Mouse’s lack of appeal to UFC fans, Johnson’s bout might not be the most watched fight of the card.

Despite his lack of popularity, the champion is still a demon in the Octagon. He has a new challenge ahead of him in Horiguchi, but truth be told, Jackson is a little too fast on his feet and vastly superior as a grappler compared to his opponent.

This fight should turn out to be a showcase for Johnson amidst talk that he isn’t a draw. He could elect to take a few more chances to satisfy the crowd, but his fight IQ is too good to allow himself to fall victim to such insecurities.

He’ll dominate a good opponent and finish him in the second round via submission. Whether the crowd is halfway to their cars or looking at their cellphones when it happens is another story.

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UFC 186 can be added to the number of events that have been hurt by the injury bug in recent years. The marquee that was once anchored by a rematch between T.J. Dillashaw and Renan Barao is now headlined by Demetrious Johnson and Kyoji Horiguchi

But the lost luster doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause. 

Oftentimes, it’s the cards with the least amount of star power that wind up providing exciting fights. With a slew of up-and-comers and familiar veterans on the docket, the night should still wind up being filled with exciting bouts for those in attendance at the Bell Centre. 

Here’s a look at all the vital information surrounding the card as well as a look ahead at the biggest storylines to watch for on Saturday. 


When: Saturday, April 25

Start Time: Fight Pass prelims at 6:30 p.m. ET (subscription required); Fox Sports 1 prelims at 8 p.m. ET; main card pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Live Stream: UFC.tv


Just How Good is Thomas Almeida?

Leading off the pay-per-view card is a classic prospect-vs.-gatekeeper matchup with 23-year-old bantamweight Thomas Almeida in line to fight 35-year-old Yves Jabouin.

Jabouin is a veteran of the UFC, having stepped in the Octagon eight times since joining the organization in 2011. However, none of the five opponents he’s beaten are still fighting under the Zuffa banner.

Almeida—on the other hand—appears to be just getting started. He’s 18-0 and coming off his first win in the UFC. And even with just one fight under his belt on the biggest stage in MMA, he’s already drawing comparisons to professional kickboxers, via Patrick Wyman of Sherdog.com:

With 13 of his 18 wins coming by way of knockout and Jabouin losing two of his last three fights by knockout, everything points toward a highlight finish for Almeida.


Do Michael Bisping and Rampage Jackson Have Anything Left in the Tank?

The card may start with some future contenders in Almeida and Shane Campbell, but it’ll be kicking it old school in the lead-up to the main event. Both Michael Bisping and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will be making their returns to the Octagon. 

Bisping will be the first up on the senior circuit when he takes on C.B. Dollaway in middleweight action. Despite losing two of his last three fights, the British fighter is confident he can not only beat the Doberman but also challenge for the title. 

Luke Rockhold is going to beat Weidman later in the year. I’ll beat someone in summer, and then I’ll get my rematch with Rockhold,” Bisping told Rick Lee and John Morgan of MMAJunkie. “He head-butted me in that fight, and then this time next year, I’ll be the champion. There you go.”

Those comments aren’t surprising given The Count’s reputation for bravado. Still, it’s lofty talk for a guy who is 3-4 in his last seven fights. Lyoto Machida recently dominated Dollaway, but the latter won back-to-back fights prior to the loss. He’ll be a game opponent to see where Bisping is truly at in the hierarchy. 

While Bisping is one of the bigger names on the card, there’s no denying that the return of Rampage is one of the biggest storylines. Dana White even tweeted out a short hype video pumping up the former champion’s return from Bellator:

Here’s the biggest question, though. Can Rampage, a fighter who left the UFC in 2013 on a three-fight losing streak, still really be relevant?

Well, just the fact that he’s fighting for the UFC again is relevant in its own right. The announcement that an injunction linked to his contract with Bellator would be lifted and that he would be on the card was only announced five days before the fight, per Nancy Gay of UFC.com.  

With the legal issues settled for now, Rampage actually has to go out and perform. With his history of motivation issues, one has to wonder if Fabio Maldonado might be coming into this bout a little more prepared than his celebrity opponent. 


How Will Mighty Mouse Win?

Unless Kyoji Horiguchi can channel a T.J. Dillashaw– or Rafael dos Anjos-type performance that no one sees coming, Demetrious Johnson is walking away from UFC 186 with the flyweight title firmly around his waist. He’s reached the level where we can assume the crown is his until someone special comes along. 

The real question is how he’ll have his hand raised. 

Early in Mighty Mouse’s career, he had to face allegations of being a decision machine. The technical juggernaut saw his first seven UFC bouts end by decision. But lately that’s changed. 

Whether it’s due to a progression of skills or simply fighting a more aggressive style, Johnson is no longer a guy who outpoints opponents. He’s ended three of his last four bouts. 

He has more than one way to skin a cat, too. He finished Joseph Benavidez via first-round knockout but submitted both John Moraga (armbar) and Chris Cariaso (kimura). 

With his recent penchant for finishing fights, it’ll be interesting to see how he chooses to handle Horiguchi and his unique striking style. The safe bet is that he’ll find a way to end it on the ground by relentless ground-and-pound or another slick submission as he ends his night early. 

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With the UFC 186 card official, bettors can get to throwing down with Las Vegas after a long wait.

The card itself continued to alter for quite a while, but it’s hard to complain with what the promotion crafted in the end. UFC flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson versus Kyoji Horiguchi is a balancing act between old and new, and everyone with a stake in the sport will love to see the return of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

Much will unfold in the way of ladder standings in each division Saturday. For bettors, it’s a chance to make decent coin, so let’s take a look at the odds and other factors surrounding the event.


Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec

When: Saturday, April 25

Start Time: UFC Fight Pass prelims start at 6:30 p.m. ET; Fox Sports 1 preliminary card starts at 8 p.m. ET; main pay-per-view card starts at 10 p.m. ET

Watch: Pay-per-view

Live Stream: UFC.TV; Fox Sports Go (preliminary card)


UFC 186 Viewing Information and Predictions


UFC 186 Safest Bets 

No. 5 Sarah Kaufman (-200, 1-2) vs. No. 3 Alexis Davis (+185, 37-20)

What, adverse to preliminary bouts?

This one has “free cash” written all over it.  Sarah Kaufman and Alexis Davis go way back, having fought in multiple promotions before Saturday’s debut encounter between the two in UFC.

Kaufman won both prior bouts; the first in 2007 by technical knockout, the second in 2012 by majority decision. As FoxSports.com’s Damon Martin points out, the third meeting between the rivals has all the making of an instant classic:

For bettors this seems an easy decision.

Kaufman touts two wins against Davis for good reason. Per UFC.com, she lands 7.1 significant strikes per minute to Davis’ 4.98. She’s at a disadvantage in takedown average, but she touts 100 percent accuracy and defends 85.71 percent of the opposition’s attempts.

To further throw things in Kaufman’s favor, keep in mind the globe hasn’t seen Davis since a dreadful loss at the hands of Ronda Rousey in just 16 seconds last July.

While not an amazing payout, Kaufman is the obvious choice.


John Makdessi (-150, 2-3) vs. Shane Campbell (+140, 7-5)

A showdown between John “The Bull” Makdessi and “Shaolin” Shane Campbell makes for quite a sound set of entertainment given the two’s love for standing in and delivering strikes no matter what.

Campbell is the underdog here, and perhaps for good reason with Saturday being his UFC debut. Still, he’s an elite kickboxer with three consecutive TKO victories to his name and a handful of submission wins, showing he can work the mat if things go there.

Makdessi is an elite striker who lands at 48.08 percent accuracy, but recent fights showcase his deficiencies when he cannot just overwhelm the opposition. Look at his bout against Alan Patrick at UFC 169, where the opposition kept at range and peppered him with shots before punishing him in the clinch en route to the unanimous decision.

Given his background and track record, Campbell can do much of the same. Look for him to keep Makdessi at bay and take this one on the scorecards.


Quinton Jackson (-245, 20-49) vs. No. 12 Fabio Maldonado (+225, 9-4)

Everyone has to know Rampage is easy money, right?

The 36-year-old superstar rides a three-fight streak into Saturday, a return to the UFC after some successful time in Bellator. UFC president Dana White wouldn’t throw such a major draw into an impossible situation upon his return to the promotion.

Said opponent is Fabio Maldonado, who is 1-1 over the course of his last two. On paper, he seems a sound opponent for Jackson, landing almost 61 percent of his significant strikes and connecting on 5.92 per minute, according to UFC.com.

One problem—Maldonado stands in and takes multiple shots on the chin just to achieve those averages. Against Jackson, the approach just won’t work.

Still, White told ESPN’s SportsCenter why the two will put on a show, per Nancy Gay of UFC.com:

We’ll find out on Saturday night. The thing that Rampage always brings is intensity. He comes in and he tries to finish you. I love that about him. And he’s taking on Maldonado, another guy who is a finisher and loves to stand, loves to trade toe-to-toe. And those are always really fun fights.

Jackson has plenty left in the tank when matched with such an opponent. As he continues to show each time out, his jaw is unflappable and his strikes devastating.

Look for Jackson to take advantage of Maldonado when he attempts to stand in and trade blows. In his return bout, Jackson won’t let somebody beat him at his own game.


Odds via OddsShark.com as of April 25 at 7 a.m. ET. Stats and info via UFC.com, unless otherwise specified.


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Georges St-Pierre talks about cornering Rory MacDonald, his fighting future, meeting with UFC officials, the Reebok deal and more.

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UFC 186: Which Fight Will Steal the Show?MMA Corner

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This Saturday, April 25, the Octagon visits the Bell Centre in Montreal for UFC 186.

The main event of the evening is a flyweight title match between champion Demetrious Johnson and challenger Kyoji Horiguchi. Johnson is defending his title for the sixth time, while Horiguchi has yet to taste defeat in four UFC contests to date.

In the co-main event of UFC 186, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson returns to the Octagon to take on Fabio Maldonado. This on-again, off-again pairing marks Jackson’s first UFC action since 2013.

The full UFC 186 cards looks like this:


UFC 186 Main Card

  • Demetrious Johnson vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
  • Quinton Jackson vs. Fabio Maldonado
  • Michael Bisping vs. C.B. Dollaway
  • John Makdessi vs. Shane Campbell
  • Yves Jabouin vs. Thomas Almeida 


Prelims on Fox Sports 1

  • Patrick Cote vs. Joe Riggs
  • Alexis Davis vs. Sarah Kaufman
  • Chad Laprise vs. Bryan Barberena
  • Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. David Michaud


Prelims on UFC Fight Pass

  • Nordine Taleb vs. Chris Clements
  • Jessica Rakoczy vs. Valerie Letourneau
  • Aisling Daly vs. Randa Markos

Join us here when the show begins for Bleacher Report’s live play-by-play coverage of UFC 186.

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Although there was a great deal of uncertainty surrounding his status, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will make his long-awaited return to UFC Saturday when he faces Fabio Maldonado at UFC 186 in Montreal.

Jackson had been blocked from fighting Maldonado due to an injunction filed by Bellator, but he won his appeal, which means the 215-pound catchweight bout will go off as planned. Rampage has long been one of the most outspoken stars in MMA, and that has held true during the confusing lead-up to UFC’s latest event.

Maldonado has held his own in that regard as well, which is partly why there is so much intrigue surrounding the bout. Jackson’s UFC return is big in its own right, but Maldonado certainly hasn’t taken a backseat.

With the time for talking nearly over, here is a look at what both fighters have been saying prior to UFC 186.


What Rampage Is Saying

Now that Jackson is back in the big leagues after a 3-0 run in Bellator, he fully intends to make his return a successful one. That will be easier said than done against a fighter of Maldonado’s ilk, though.

The 35-year-old from Brazil has won four of his past five fights, and he is a knockout artist, with 13 of them to his credit. That makes Maldonado an extremely dangerous competitor, but Rampage prefers that type of style, according to Martin Domin of the Daily Mail:

[Maldonado is] good on paper. He’s a stand up fighter; on paper it’s the type of fight I love so it should be a good show for the fans. But I’ve heard he’s been doing a lot of wrestling so we’ll see what happens. … I’m tired of fighting guys who are cowards, who just want to take you down and lay on top of you. In fights like that, the fans lose. I am a true definition of a fighter, you know what I’m saying. My style is a brawl, a street fighter. I like the excitement of the surprise of what he’s going to bring at me.

Jackson is a true throwback in that he would rather throw fists than grapple. MMA is getting away from that in many ways, but the 36-year-old star refuses to change.

Another thing that sets him apart from other fighters is the fact that his preparation for fights does not include breaking down film on his opponents, per Daniel Austin of the Calgary Sun (h/t the Toronto Sun).

“I don’t like to watch my opponents’ tapes, I like to be taken by surprise,” Jackson said. “I feel like I’m the definition of a fighter. I’m a brawler, a street fighter. I grew up fighting in the streets, I had to beat up the bullies who tried to bully the kids in my neighbourhood.”

It can be argued that Jackson’s tactics may give Maldonado a distinct advantage, but he has carved out a hugely successful career by doing things a bit differently.

That hasn’t changed in his second UFC stint, and it should make for both an unpredictable and exciting contest Saturday.


What Maldonado Is Saying

Maldonado may not have the same star power and name recognition as Rampage, but the well-traveled veteran can change that by spoiling Jackson’s return to UFC.

While Maldonado has taken on some high-profile opponents over the years, there is little doubt that Rampage tops the list in that regard. According to Fox Sports: UFC, this is a fight that the Brazilian has craved for a very long time:

He is finally getting his wish, and it will be interesting to see what his game plan is. Maldonado has traditionally been a brawler, much like Jackson, but Rampage mentioned that his counterpart has been dabbling in wrestling.

Even so, Maldonado’s comments seem to suggest that he intends to engage in a veritable street fight with Jackson, according to Portal do Vale Tudo (h/t Lucas Rezende of BloodyElbow.com):

No doubt it’s a huge fight. I’m going all out. It only took me a second when Alex Davis asked me if I wanted it. I will concentrate and try not to do what I did against [Stipe] Miocic, I will focus more. I’ll give my best and I hope it doesn’t last only one round, because I want a really grueling fight for the both of us. I want a lot of blood on Saturday night.

Maldonado obviously wants to win, but he also seems to be focused on pulling off a great show for the fans, much like Rampage.

There is no question that Maldonado has a reputation for putting on some exciting fights whether he wins or loses, and all signs point to that being the case once again Saturday.



Due to the circumstances surrounding this fight, it truly feels as though it could go either way. Neither man was sure that the bout would even happen until recently, and that makes for an extremely interesting dynamic.

Rampage will undoubtedly be motivated to win his first fight back in UFC, but that factor could generate a ton of pressure as well. Maldonado is the one who has nothing to lose, which should allow him to take some chances and throw caution to the wind.

The manner in which Jackson and Maldonado have been talking suggests that the fight could be stopped early with a knockout, but seven of Rampage’s past 10 fights have gone to the scorecards, so don’t be surprised if they both manage to hang in there regardless of how brutal the clash is.

Jackson has some momentum entering this fight on the heels of three consecutive victories, and he will use that to confidently dissect Maldonado en route to a unanimous-decision win.


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An interesting new challenger has joined the UFC’s heavyweight division: Russian Olympic heavyweight wrestler Bilyal Makhov. The news was announced on Instagram by Makhov’s gym and training partner.

While the name may not ring a bell for MMA fans, Makhov is a highly accomplished wrestler. Makhov has medaled at the FILA world championships in freestyle wrestling on four separate occasions, taking gold in 2007, 2009 and 2010 and silver in 2011 before winning the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, he most recently won bronze at the 2014 FILA world championships in Greco-Roman wrestling.

His wrestling career has almost entirely taken place in the 120-kilogram weight class (264 pounds), meaning he will be a huge heavyweight in MMA.

Brigitte Narcise chimed in on Twitter:

Makhov lived and breathed the sport during his childhood, moving from his hometown of Nalchik to Dagestan to train in wrestling. While Makhov stated that he wanted to make a run for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in an interview with John Morgan of MMAJunkie.com, he is likely all-in on MMA with this signing.

That said, Makhov has never competed in an MMA bout before, be it professional or amateur. However, it is easy to predict at least a fair degree of success based on his wrestling credentials alone, as we have seen fighters like Joe Warren and Ben Askren successfully transition directly from the mats to the cage. Makhov is currently training at the K Dojo Warrior Tribe gym in New Jersey alongside fellow Russian UFC fighters Albert Tumenov and Alexander Yakovlev.

The UFC has yet to announce any details regarding his debut, so we don’t know when or where we may see Makhov fight.

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A lightweight duel between Daron Cruickshank and James Krause has been added to the UFC on Fox 16 lineup.

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Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is making his highly anticipated return to the UFC, as he’s slated to square off with Fabio Maldonado at UFC 186 in Montreal’s Bell Centre on Saturday.

At age 36, Jackson may not have much left to offer in the Octagon. He’s lost his past three UFC appearances but did rattle off three consecutive victories in Bellator MMA to at least provide a foundation of recent, positive results as he returns to top-flight competition.

Bellator MMA had filed a court injunction that took Jackson off the UFC 186 card until this last Tuesday, so the bout appeared to be in doubt until the last minute.

UFC.com’s Nancy Gay reported on the news and also included UFC President Dana White‘s comments about the legal decision to let Jackson fight, along with thoughts on Rampage’s enduring popularity:

We are happy with the decision from the New Jersey Court allowing Rampage to fight in Montreal this Saturday night. I am looking forward to seeing Rampage back in the Octagon. […] Rampage isn’t always the most personable person when you meet him, but he comes to fight. At the end of the day, if you’re a fight fan and you love guys who love to stand up, who love to trade, Rampage is fun to watch.

In case something goes awry and Bellator MMA upends Jackson’s bid to fight for the UFC and neglect his Bellator contract, it’s important to keep tabs on the latest happenings. For now, it appears Rampage is ready to roll for UFC 186 and may well carry on with the company due to his apparent burning of the Bellator bridge.

At Thursday’s press conference, which featured a staredown between the marquee competitors, Maldonado explained how eager he’s been to take on Rampage, per Fox Sports: UFC:

Maldonado has reason to be confident ahead of his showdown with Jackson. The Brazilian veteran registered a TKO in the second round of his outing at UFC 179 against Hans Stringer.

Although few know exactly what to expect from Rampage, his own punching power has knocked out the likes of Chuck Liddell in the past. Jackson and Maldonado are known for having strong chins, which adds to the excitement of their matchup.

Breaking MMA Odds noted how Jackson opened as the clear-cut favorite, and the latest numbers from Odds Shark haven’t done much to drastically alter the perceived fight forecast:

It should be a fascinating, hard-hitting catchweight affair between Jackson and Maldonado—a nicely juxtaposed co-main event along with the flyweight championship clash between Demetrious Johnson and challenger Kyoji Horiguchi.

With regard to how the fight will ultimately play out, there’s reason to believe Rampage should be on upset alert. He likely won’t be in peak physical condition, and Maldonado has plenty of motivational fuel as the underdog against his dream-scenario adversary.

Rampage has never truly realized his full potential, which isn’t to take away from the accolades he has achieved in the past as a former UFC light heavyweight champion. Even with the Bellator MMA legal battle serving as a distraction and a lot of lingering uncertainty as to whether Saturday’s fight would actually happen, Jackson has the tools necessary to get past Maldonado by a decision at the very least.

The fans in Montreal will be rallying behind Rampage and cheering him on in his first UFC fight since January 2013. That should be enough to rally the supremely gifted fighter and see Rampage put on a show en route to a victory, improving his UFC mark to 8-5 overall.

Read more MMA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – MMA

Lorenz Larkin’s second welterweight bout in the UFC will take place at “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4″ finale on June 27.

View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

Kevin Lee will lock horns with James Moontasri at UFC Fight Night “Mir vs. Duffee” on July 15.

View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

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