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wsof 18

A special Thursday night helping of MMA will come our way this week, as World Series of Fighting 18 goes down from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The four-fight main card airs on NBC Sports Network at 9 p.m. ET and features a main event between bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes (13-4-1) and Josh Hill (10-0).

Also in action on NBCSN will be Shane Campbell (10-2) vs. Derek Boyle (13-6), Mukai Maromo (8-4) vs. Jose Rodriguez (7-3) and Hakeem Dawodu (3-0) vs. Tristan Johnson.

Competing on the prelims, which stream online, will be Cody McKenzi (15-6), a former UFC and Ultimate Fighter alum.

Below is the current lineup, along with a video preview:

MAIN CARD (NBC Sports Network/9 p.m. ET)

WSOF Bantamweight Championship
Marlon Moraes (c) vs. Josh Hill

Derek Boyle vs. Shane Campbell

Mukai Maromo vs. Jose Rodriguez

Hakeem Dawodu vs. Tristan Johnson

PRELIMINARY CARD (Online/11 p.m. ET)

Andrew McInnes vs. Cody McKenzie

Mark Drummond vs. Spencer Jebb

Dan Lariviere vs. Garret Nybakken

PRELIMINARY CARD (Online/8 p.m. ET)

Matt Baker vs. Ali Mokdad

Marcus Hicks vs. Graham Park

robbie lawler

For Robbie Lawler, the grind of four fights in a calendar year was one that took its toll both on his body and mind.

Lawler, the reigning UFC welterweight champion, went 3-1 in 2014, including a victory over Johny Hendricks to win the title. He also bested Matt Brown and Jake Ellenberger, losing only to Hendricks via decision.

After the grind, his team and coaches – along with UFC officials – advised “Ruthless” to take time off and recover.

“My body is going to be fresher,” said Lawler, during a recent interview with MMAFighting.com. “I’m going to be mentally fresher. It was busy (in 2014). It was a lot of training, but I think I’m gonna be fresher.

“Now I have time to work on stuff. I can work on my strength, I can work on my speed, I can work on my technique.”

Lawler (25-10) doesn’t have an opponent lined up for his first title defense, as the division is in sort of a jumbled mess at the moment. Officials were set to make Lawler-Hendricks a trilogy, but the former champion decided to take a fight with Brown instead of waiting.

Rory MacDonald was expected to be the No. 1 contender, but he’ll now meet Hector Lombard. Lawler and Lombard are training partners in Florida at American Top Team, but they are not against competing vs. one another.

“We’ll cross that path when we need to,” he said. “There’s no sense in talking about something that might not happen. We’ll talk to all the trainers if we need to and just take care of it, if it comes up. But right now, that’s not an issue.”

ufc 184

Later this month, Ronda Rousey will try to add another name to her already-impressive resume when she faces Cat Zingano at UFC 184.

In the video below, check out Rousey’s successful finish of Alexis Davis from last year.

nick diaz

For his own part, Nick Diaz has remained quiet since news broke that he failed the UFC 183 post-fight drug test for marijuana metabolites.

The failure is a third for the former Strikeforce champion, and he’s likely to be suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission.

On Instagram late Wednesday night, Diaz hinted at retirement – something he did previously following a loss to Georges St-Pierre. He has dropped his last three to GSP, Anderson Silva and Carlos Condit.

Love my people #mma #lodi #dunfighting

A photo posted by nickdiaz209 (@nickdiaz209) on

will brooks

Will Brooks will make his first official title defense this April vs. Dave Jansen at Bellator 136, according to a report by ESPN. Bellator officials have since confirmed plans for the fight.

Brooks-Jansen will main event an April 10 card from Irvine, California and the Bren Events Center. Brooks (15-1) became the undisputed lightweight champion when he finished Michael Chandler last year.

Jansen (20-2) secured a tournament title in 2013 when he topped Marcin Held, Magomed Saaduleav and Ricardo Tirioni. Bellator has since done away with granting future title shots to tournament winners.

Also, the report states that Joe Schilling (2-3) will face Rafael Carvalho (10-1). Schilling, who competes this Friday night at Glory 19, earned a knockout win over Melvin Manhoef, while Carvalho dropped Brian Rogers.

“I’m really looking forward to this one,” Bellator president Scott Coker said. “Brooks and Schilling were two huge components to our successful show last November, and I wanted to get them another fight as quickly as possible.

“With Will Brooks, you’ve got a phenomenal athlete with a tremendous personality. He is someone who brings it each and every time he gets in the cage. Joe Schilling is one of those incredible strikers who just has danger written all over him. I think our team has really done a great job in finding both of these guys extremely tough opponents in Jansen and Carvalho respectively, and I’m happy that I’ll have one of the best seats in the house.”

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