Irshaad Sayed puts EFC title hopes on temporary hold to book May match up

Irshaad Sayed is the No. 1 contender in the bantamweight division for EFC, the leading promotion on the African continent, but the 26 year old won’t get a chance to add a second MMA title to his collection just yet, because he has other priorities.

The 9-2 South African challenger initially agreed to face 10-0 champion Demarte Pena in his native Angola this June. It would have been a fascinating title bout, pitting the two best bantamweights on the continent together in a country which is better known for its warlords than its mixed martial artists.

Sayed still expects to challenge for the title, but says as a practicing Muslim, he was simply unable to accept a fight which fell during the month of Ramadan.

“It’s a matter of priorities and for me religion comes first. Fighting during Ramadan is just too hard on the body, I tried it before and I lost, so I won’t do it again.”

It means the opportunity to add the EFC bantamweight title to the belt he won while competing for Chinese promotion Ruff is on hold for a few months. However, Sayed is determined to keep active and has instead agreed to face Oumpie Sebeko in Cape Town on May 7th.

EFC 39 will be Sayed’s third fight in a row in Cape Town which is the place where he was born and bred. He made his name training and fighting in Asia but says that there is still no place like home.

“It’s an incredible opportunity because every time I fight here I get to see all my friends and family. Being able to fight in Cape Town is a blessing.”

However, he has no plans to permanently relocate back to South Africa and says Singapore will be his base for the foreseeable future.

“I spent many years training in Thailand and Hong Kong but for an MMA fighter in Asia, there is nowhere better to be than Evolve MMA in Singapore. Training with all the MMA champions like Shinya Aoki, Rafael Dos Anjos, and Ben Askren, and all the BJJ black belts and wrestling coaches, has helped me become a much more well-rounded mixed martial artist and I am not so dependent on my Muay Thai anymore.”

Sayed was initially set to face Nkazimulo Zulu but the former former EFC 135-pound champion suffered an injury in training, so Sebeko stepped up to replace him. With three wins out of three for the promotion, the “White Tiger” has already done enough to earn a title fight and some have suggested that he should just sit and wait until a suitable date to take on Pena arises.

Going six months or more without a fight is not something Sayed was willing to contemplate and he plans to carry on, clearing out the division for as long as it takes to get that title shot.

“As a fighter I like to stay active and I train every single day at Evolve MMA, even when I don’t have a fight booked so I am always sharpening my tools. Pena is fighting Cedric Doyle and I will happily take the belt off whoever wins that fight, hopefully later this year.”

A battle between Pena and Sayed would be one of the biggest MMA bouts to ever take place in Africa. For it to happen both men will need to get through their respective assignments but ‘The White Tiger’ is determined not to let Sebeko spoil his dreams of an EFC super fight.

www.twitter.com/jamesgoyder

Continue Reading

Donald Cerrone vs John Makdessi fight set for UFC 187 with Khabib Nurmagomedov hurt

Look at “The Bull” pulling a “Cowboy” on us …

One man’s loss is another’s gain.

Less than 24 hours after Khabib Nurmagomedov was forced to withdraw from his much-anticipated Lightweight scrap against Donald Cerrone at UFC 187 because of injury (details), which was set to pop from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) matchmakers have found a willing opponent to fill the void:

John Makdessi.

The promotion announced the fight earlier today (April 30, 2015).

Makdessi is coming off a huge first-round knockout victory over Shane Campbell at UFC 186 last weekend in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The win helped him get back on the winning track after having his previous three-fight win streak snapped by Allen Patrick last year.

With nine bouts under the UFC banner to his credit, it’s safe to say his matchup against “Cowboy” will be his toughest test to date.

As for Cerrone, he has reeled off seven impressive wins in a row, which includes victories over Ben Henderson, Eddie Alvarez and Myles Jury. What’s even more impressive is that Cerrone nabbed all of those “W’s” in the span of 14 months.

Now, Makdessi will look to follow in Donald’s footsteps by stepping up on short notice to help his employer in need.

Emphasis on need, as UFC 187 suffered two major blows in the span of two days after Jon Jones was suspended by the promotion and stripped of his title for his involvement in this hit-and-run accident; which obviously meant “Bones” would not defend his title against Anthony Johnson in the main event of the card.

As a result, Daniel Cormier will step in to face “Rumble” for the vacant 205-pound strap.

Lost in the midst of all the unfortunate new is the highly-anticipated co-main event title fight that will see Chris Weidman defend his Middleweight strap against Vitor Belfort.

For all you need to know about the upcoming UFC 187 pay-per-view (PPV) event click here.

Continue Reading

Latest UFC 187 fight card and rumors for ‘Johnson vs. Cormier’ PPV on May 23 in Las Vegas

Jon Jones’ participation will be sorely missed, but the UFC 187 pay-per-view (PPV) fight card is still perhaps one of the promotion’s best in recent years. And it’s locked and loaded for May 23, 2015 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. See for yourself!

Event: UFC 187: “Johnson vs. Cormier”
Date: Sat., May 23, 2015 on pay-per-view (PPV)
Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada

UFC 187 PPV Main Event:

205 lbs.: Anthony Johnson vs. Daniel Cormier for vacant light heavyweight title with Jon Jones stripped (full details here)

UFC 187 PPV Co-Main Event:

185 lbs.: UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort

UFC 187 PPV Undercard (10 p.m. ET):

155 lbs.: Donald Cerrone vs. John Makdessi
265 lbs.: Andrei Arlovski vs. Travis Browne
125 lbs.: Joseph Benavidez vs. John Moraga

UFC 187 FOX Sports 1 “Prelims” (8 p.m. ET):

125 lbs.: John Dodson vs. Zach Makovsky
170 lbs.: Josh Burkman vs. Dong Hyun Kim
185 lbs.: Uriah Hall vs. Rafael Natal
115 lbs.: Rose Namajunas vs. Nina Ansaroff

UFC 187 Fight Pass “Prelims” (6:30 p.m. ET):

170 lbs.: Mike Pyle vs. Sean Spencer
155 lbs.: Leo Kuntz vs. Islam Makhachev
125 lbs.: Josh Sampo vs. Justin Scoggins

For more on UFC 187 click here.

Continue Reading

Video: Watch ‘Inside Mayweather vs Pacquiao’ all-access full replay, Ep. 3

Two days left.

The super fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, for which MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE coverage, starting with the pay-per-view (PPV) broadcast at 9 p.m. ET this Saturday (May 2, 2105), is fast approaching, with anticipation rising to a fever pitch.

Showtime is doing its part to fan the promotional flames, releasing the third episode of its four-part “Inside Mayweather vs. Pacquiao” series. To watch episode one and two click here and here.

The first half of the episode — aside from the customary look into Mayweather’s training camp — concerns the duo’s three mutual opponents: Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, and Ricky Hatton. All three have plenty of praise for the combatants and, after discussing…

Continue Reading

‘Karate Hottie’ draws TUF star for UFC debut on July 12

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is not without a sense of humor.

Hoping to capitalize on the “it factor” of former Invicta FC champion Michelle Waterson, the promotion has paired her off against Twitter attraction Angela Magana in a strawweight battle set for the upcoming UFC Fight Night 71 mixed martial arts (MMA) event.

Headlined by a lightweight scrap featuring Ben Henderson vs. Michael Johnson, UFC Fight Night 71 will also serve as The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 21 Finale for “ATT vs. Blackzilians,” scheduled for July 12, 2015 in South Florida at a venue to be determined.

UFC announced the pairing on Wednesday night.

Waterson (12-4) is looking to rebound from last December’s upset loss to Herica Tiburcio, her last appearance for Invicta FC on UFC Fight Pass. “The Karate Hottie” went into that contest on the strength of a six-fight winning streak, one that included five finishes.

It’s safe to say this is a showcase fight for the “Karate Hottie.”

That’s not intended to be disrespectful to Magana (11-7), but she simply hasn’t performed over the last couple of years. In addition to dropping three straight, “Your Majesty” was bounced from the TUF 20 competition in the first round, thanks to a technical knockout loss to Aisling Daly. One more and it could be splitsville.

How do you see this one fight fans … total domination, or upset special?

Continue Reading