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ufc 187

John Makdessi knows he’s the underdog when he steps inside the Octagon this Saturday night vs. Donald Cerrone at UFC 187.

But for Makdessi, the fight presents all that he has worked for.

The 30-year-old has won four of his last five, including a recent first round finish over Shane Campbell to improve to 13-3. He’s topped Sam Stout, Daron Cruickshank and Renee Forte during his recent run, losing only via decision to Alan Patrick.

Makdessi will be stepping in for the injured Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Cerrone, who is possibly fighting to become the next contender to the lightweight title.

“This is like a dream come true,” Makdessi told Submission Radio during a recent interview. “I feel like I’m dreaming to be honest with you. I’ve been dreaming about this all my life to be on a big card, to be a part of a big event. This is what I’ve been working all my life for. I’m excited, I’m staying calm and focus on the task at hand.”

Despite taking the fight on short notice after besting Campbell late in April, Makdessi believes the timing of it all is perfect.

“I just finished off training camp, I’m already in top shape and I have a couple of days to rest my body,” he said. “I’m the type of fighter, I train all year long. I don’t believe in training camps so I’m consistently training.

“It’s actually the best thing that happened to me because that mentally keeps me sharp and gets me back to the grind and (to) stay focused and just keep doing what I do.”

zach makovsky

UFC officials did a solid job in putting together a seven-fight prelim lineup for this Saturday night’s UFC 187 card.

It features a top flyweight contender, former champions from Bellator MMA and the World Series of Fighting, a rising star out of The Ultimate Fighter and a finalist from TUF.

The event takes place inside MGM Grand Garden Arena and FightLine will have complete coverage of all the action.

Here’s a closer look at the fights set for UFC Fight Pass (at 6:30 p.m. ET) and FOX Sports 1 (at 8 p.m. ET):

UFC Fight Pass Prelims

Flyweights will open up the action, as Justin Scoggins (9-2) and Josh Sampo (11-4) square off. During their careers, these two have amassed several finishes, and each knows coming into a big card that another spectacular stoppage could vault them into the Top-15.

Scoggins prefers the knockout for his offensive attack, while over 50-percent of Sampo’s finishes have been via submission. Wrestling is also to the advantage of Scoggins, while Sampo has proven an effective defensive fighter.

Lightweights Islam Makhachev (11-0) and Leo Kuntz (17-1-1) have impressive records to their credit, and both will be making their official Octagon debuts. Kuntz is the more effective striker, while Makhachev has shown power in the past, but also sports a strong submission game.

The early prelims will conclude with a battle of the veteran vs. the prospect in Mike Pyle and Colby Covington. Pyle (26-10-1) has fought the who’s who of MMA at welterweight, while Covington (7-0) is unbeaten and has looked very strong in his UFC career.

FOX Sports 1 Prelims

Nothing like a good old female strawweight affair to begin things, as Rose Namajunas (3-2) takes on Nina Ansaroff (6-4). Namajunas advanced to the finals of TUF, falling to Carla Esparza for the title. She has a 100-percent finishing rate via knockout for her career, with Ansaroff coming in at 67-percent in terms of knockout stoppages.

From there, we’ll shift to the middleweight ranks with fellow TUF finalist Uriah Hall (11-4) taking on Rafael Natal (19-6-1). Hall has come on like gangbusters since a loss to John Howard, connecting with over three strikes per minute. Natal has a strong ground game, averaging almost three takedowns per, and is sound with the submissions.

Dong Hyun Kim and Josh Burkman own 47 career wins to their credit, and Burkman is a former World Series of Fighting champion. Burkman (28-11) and Kim (19-3-1) each like the takedown, averaging a combined six per fight. Kim, though, holds an 81-percent takedown defense rate.

The final fight of the prelims boasts John Dodson (17-6) and Zach Makovsky (19-5). Dodson fought for the title in the UFC once before, and many believe a win over “Fun Size” would position him right back for a shot at Demetrious Johnson. Makovsky, who is ranked inside the Top-10, is a former Bellator champion and averages 4.5 takedowns per fight.

vitor belfort

The UFC returns to North America this weekend with UFC 187 from Las Vegas.

Set for Saturday and the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the card boasts two title fights.

In the main event, Anthony Johnson and Daniel Cormier collide for the vacant light heavyweight title, while Chris Weidman defends his middleweight belt vs. Vitor Belfort in the co-main event.

Also, Donald Cerrone squares off with John Makdessi, Travis Browne and Andrei Arlovski lock horns and Joseph Benavidez faces John Moraga.

The action starts on UFC Fight Pass at 7 p.m. ET, with more prelims set for FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET. The pay-per-view main card begins at 10 p.m. ET. FightLine will have complete coverage of all the action.

Below is the current lineup and an extended video preview for the card:

MAIN CARD (PPV/10 p.m. ET)

Vacant UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson

UFC Middleweight Championship
Chris Weidman (c) vs. Vitor Belfort

Lightweight: Donald Cerrone vs. John Makdessi

Heavyweight: Travis Browne vs. Andrei Arlovski

Flyweight: Joseph Benavidez vs. John Moraga

PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX Sports 1/8 p.m. ET))

Flyweight: John Dodson vs. Zach Makovsky

Welterweight: Dong Hyun Kim vs. Josh Burkman

Middleweight: Uriah Hall vs. Rafael Natal

Female Strawweight: Rose Namajunas vs. Nina Ansaroff

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass/6:30 p.m. ET)

Welterweight: Colby Covington vs. Mike Pyle

Lightweight: Islam Makhachev vs. Leo Kuntz

Flyweight: Justin Scoggins vs. Josh Sampo

shinya aoki

ONE Championship returns this Friday with a lightweight championship match from Singapore and the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The online pay-per-view event features Shinya Aoki defending his 155-pound title vs. Koji Ando, while Roy Doliguez and Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke square off for the first-ever men’s strawweight title.

Other planned bouts include Kuat Khamitov vs. Lowen Tynanes, Rob Lisita vs. Timofey Nastyukhin and Eddie Ng vs. Ariel Sexton. Also, Marat Gafurov and Ev Ting meet in a No. 1 contender match for the ONE featherweight title.

The first four planned fights will stream live on ONE’s Facebook page beginning at 7 a.m. ET, while the main card starts at 9 a.m. ET.

Below is the current lineup:

MAIN CARD (iPPV/9 a.m. ET)

ONE Lightweight Championship
Shinya Aoki (c) vs. Koji Ando

Inaugural ONE Strawweight Championship
Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke vs. Roy Doliguez

Featherweight: Marat Gafurov vs. Ev Ting

Lightweight: Kuat Khamitov vs. Lowen Tynanes

Featherweight: Rob Lisita vs. Timofey Nastyukhin

Lightweight: Eddie Ng vs. Ariel Sexton

Bantamweight: Stephen Langdown vs. A La Teng Hei Li

PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook/7 a.m. ET)

Featherweight: Shannon Wiratchai vs. Amir Khan

Featherweight: Benedict Ang vs. Waqar Umar

Women’s Strawweight: Angela Lee vs. Aya Saeid Saber

Flyweight: Ali Yaakub vs. Yang Jian Bing

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urijah faber

The UFC put forth a “Thriller in Manila” Saturday morning, as former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar battled ex-WEC titleholder Urijah Faber in the first Octagon bout from the Philippines at UFC Fight Night 66.

Despite neither wearing gold, Edgar and Faber put on a show for the Filipino fans, as “The Answer” scored on several takedowns and implored his quantity of offensive strikes in pulling out the decision win.

Edgar has now won four in a row, including victories over Faber, Cub Swanson and BJ Penn. The loss for Faber was the first of his career in a non-title fight, snapping a two-fight win streak in the process.

Coming off a win over Dan Henderson, former Strikeforce champion Gegard Mousasi improved to 4-2 with the UFC by dominating Costas Philippou. Mousasi imposed his will, taking Philippou down with ease and doing damage on the ground.

It was just as he dreamed it would be, as Mark Munoz scored a decision victory over Luke Barnatt in his retirement fight. The Filipino-American fighter dominated, executing his game plan of wrestling and trademark “Donkey Kong” punches – much to the delight of the home crowd.

Neil Magny accepted an overseas fight with a tough opponent in Hyun Gyu Lim, and after eating a series of big-time shots, he executed his game plan and earned his seventh straight win. For Magny, it was the third consecutive finish, as he picked up a second round TKO.

After five years away, Phillipe over made a triumphant return to the UFC with a split decision victory over Yui Chul Nam. Making his Octagon debut, Levan Makashvili used his wrestling to grind out a split decision vs. Filipino fighter Mark Eddiva.

The prelims featured four finishes among six fights, including a first round stoppage by Jon Tuck over Tae Hyun Bang in the “main event.” Tuck dropped Bang, pouncing on his back and quickly locking up a rear-naked choke victory in just under four minutes.

Li Jingliang had an even shorter night, scoring a first round knockout of Dhiego Lima in just 85 seconds. Ning Guangyou finished Royston Wee, while Jon Delos Reyes choked out Roldan Sangch-An.

Kajan Johnson took a decision from Zhang Lipeng and Yao Zhikui was awarded a split decision victory over Nolan Ticman to begin the card.

Reyes and Sangch-An earned “Fight of the Night” honors, while Tuck and Magny each picked up “Performance of the Night” awards. All four won $50,000 bonuses.

The attendance inside the Mall of Asia Arena was announced at 13,446, which marked a sellout.

Complete results can be found below:

Frankie Edgar def. Urijah Faber via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)

Gegard Mousasi def. Costas Philippou via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Neil Magny def. Hyun Gyu Lim via TKO (strikes) at 1:24 of Round 2

Phillipe Nover def. Yui Chul Nam via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Levan Makashvili def. Mark Eddiva via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

Jon Tuck def. Tae Hyun Bang via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:53 of Round 1

Kajan Johnson def. Zhang Lipeng via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Li Jingliang def. Dhiego Lima via KO (strike) at 1:25 of Round 1

Ning Guangyou def. Royston Wee via TKO (strikes) at 4:59 of Round 2

Jon Delos Reyes def. Roldan Sangch-an via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:13 of Round 2

Yao Zhikui def. Nolan Ticman via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

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