One of the biggest events on the UFC calendar, UFC 219 will be headlined by featherweight champion Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino defending her title against Holly ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ Holm. In the running to this mega-fight, some other great fights are set to entertain the crowd on December 30 at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas.

Jimmie Rivera takes on John Lineker in the bantamweight division; the UFC pitch their new favourite Cynthia Calvillo against the first-ever UFC strawweight champion in Carla Esparza; welterweight Carlos Condit returns to the octagon to clash with Neil Magny; and the 24-0 Khabib Nurmagomedov will take on Edson Barboza in a lightweight scrap to mark the Russian’s return from a lengthy absence.

It’s a great card to get excited about, but as is often the case, the headline bout deserves all of the headlines. Given the UFC’s sordid past with both fighters, which centered on the promotion’s love of former champion Ronda Rousey, they’re both out to prove themselves to be invaluable to the UFC.

Holly Holm here to complete a comeback

It has been a tough road for former boxing champion Holly Holm. She rose to fame by annihilating the formerly considered undefeatable Ronda Rousey in a headline bout that was deemed to be the Fight and Performance of the Night at UFC 193, via a superbly timed kick to the head and follow up punches while the champion laid on the canvas.

After that, however, she fell to Miesha Tate in the first defense of her title. On the card of the McGregor versus Diaz-headlined UFC 196, Tate and Holm engaged in a thrilling battle until the fifth round, when a rear-naked choke got the best of the defending champion. Holm went on to lose two more matchups on the bounce, losing by decision to Valentina Shevchenko and Germaine de Randamie.

Most recently, however, Holm turned her recent poor form around by defeating Bethe Correia at a UFC fight Night via the same method used to defeat Ronda Rousey two years ago. With the skid ended and Holm on steady footing once more, she’s lined up to take on the woman deemed to be the most dangerous in the world by many.

Cyborg doesn’t mess around

Cristiane Justino, or ‘Cris Cyborg’ as she’s commonly known, is on a colossal 18-fight win-streak. With only one loss on her record, which came in her professional debut in 2005, Cyborg has gone on to win 16 of her ensuing 18 fights by knockout, with her last decision win coming way back in 2008.

The Brazilian mixed martial arts superstar has only engaged in three UFC fights since joining in 2016, but all of Leslie Smith, Lina Lansberg, and Tonya Evinger have found themselves ended within the rounds. A terrifying opponent, Cyborg has built her career on being hard to hurt and ferocious up close. Now she takes on a notorious giant slayer in her biggest fight with the promotion yet.

Something to prove

219

Source: UFC Fresno, via Twitter

On paper, Cristiane Justino looks to be the clear favorite, as shown by her odds of -333.33 to win on December 30. However, given that Holm has recovered from a series of losses and appears to have the same fight in her that she did as the underdog against Ronda Rousey, it’d be worth a flutter when she’s at odds of +225.

Both come into the fight having had spats with the UFC. The UFC has favorites, and when they pave the way for those favorites to reach the pinnacle of the sport and stay there – thus become more marketable – but someone throws a wrench into their plans, the UFC tends to give them a rough time. This was the case with these two fighters while the UFC was attempting to promote Ronda Rousey.

Cyborg once detailed that the UFC had made Rousey their star girl because she was blonde and American, as opposed to herself; the better fighter, but Brazilian. This resulted in a slow ascendency for the already-established top-class fighter. Holm upsetting Rousey had repercussions when she lost her belt and wanted a deserved rematch against Tate, but Tate was instead given a defense against Amanda Nunes.

In any case, this is a huge fight for both featherweights, who can finally claim the high standing in the UFC that they’ve long deserved. With Holm’s long history of professional boxing under her belt, Cristiane Justino has recruited the services of the most dominant boxer in the world right now, Cecilia Braekhus. Currently holding the IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC, and WBO world title belts in the welterweight division, she will certainly be able to give Cyborg some teachable moments in sparring.

Holm will likely try to stay at range, using her lauded history in professional boxing and kickboxing to outland the champion, while ducking and pivoting to avoid any counters. Cyborg, on the other hand, will rush to the inside and release flurries of devastating combinations. While Holm is an excellent counter-puncher, Cyborg will punish her every time the Brazilian is allowed to get a bit too close.

 

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Dead Serious MMA 26 takes place at iPlay America in Freehold, NJ on December 9, 2018. This is the last show of the year, so be sure to check it out. Tickets available at DeadSeriousMMA.com.

 

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After a hugely illustrious professional career that has spanned an incredible 16 years, Miguel Cotto finally bowed out of the sport with his head held high.

The now 37-year-old went into his swansong ring outing as the overwhelming favourite to prevail and go out on a high, but his American opponent Sadam Ali spoiled the party by securing a shock unanimous decision success in New York.

Following the legendary Puerto Rican's retirement, here is a look back at four of his finest career wins, stretching back to 2006.

Cotto

Miguel Cotto by Chamber of Fear (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Daniel Geale

Cotto bowed out with a gallant loss to Ali at his second home of Madison Square Garden in New York City, but it wasn't the final big bout of the year, with plenty more on the horizon in 2017 and beyond. This includes the highly awaited showdown between Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux, with the latter Canadian set to enter the clash as the evens outsider to prevail in the latest boxing odds.

But it was Cotto that previously stole the headlines with his brave curtain call defeat, bowing out with another strong showing on his impressive record. One of his finest wins came back in 2015 as he stopped strong Australian challenger Daniel Geale at the Barclays Center in the Big Apple.

Sergio Martinez

One of the most memorable fights in Cotto's prestigious career came in June 2014 as the iconic fighter overcame the threat of Argentine opponent Sergio Martinez. The first and only Puerto Rican fighter to win a world title in four different weight classes was truly superb on that thrilling summer night on American soil.

It was quite clear that South American Martinez was struggling with an injury to his right knee during the fight but Cotto was brilliant and exposed him, eventually breaking him down to secure a ninth-round stoppage.

Antonio Margarito

In July 2008, one of the most brutal and controversial encounters occurred, as Cotto was dismantled and stopped by long-standing foe Antonio Margarito in the 11th round of their clash at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

A year after being stopped, news broke that Margarito had used illegal hand wraps and three years later Cotto gained revenge and the ultimate redemption. In the tenth round at Madison Square Garden, Cotto halted his bitter rival and redeemed himself in front of a rapturous United States crowd.

Paulie Malignaggi

One of Cotto's earlier career wins next against a young Paulie Malignaggi back in June 2006. The latter American was an up and coming fighter and showed great heart in what turned out to be a gruelling affair at Cotto's adopted home of Madison Square Garden.

The Puerto Rican legend was sublime on the night and proved to be simply too much for 'the Magic Man', earning himself a comfortable unanimous decision victory. As was the brutality of the scrap, Malignaggi was cut in the first round and was later taken to hospital after it was revealed that he also broke his right orbital bone and injured his jaw badly.

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Ring of Combat 61 took place on Friday, November 17, 2017 at the Tropicana Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Here are the official results from all the night's bouts:
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Ring of Combat 61
Lou Neglia and Dead Serious
Professional MMA
Friday, November 17, 2017
Tropicana
Atlantic City

WCKC 11 took place on 9/30/17 at iPlay America in Freehold, New Jersey. Check out the official results of all the night's bouts. Also, here's a link to a photo gallery of the event.

Photos: WCKC 11 Pics

Official results:

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The New Jersey State Martial Arts Hall of Fame Award Dinner takes place on December 1, 2017 at iPlay America in Freehold, New Jersey. Check out the list of this year's inductees after the jump. Tickets available at NJMMAAWARDS.com

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Ring of Combat MMA 26 takes place at iPlay America in Freehold, New Jersey on October 28, 2017. For ticket info, check out DeadSeriousMMA.com.

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Killer Instinct 3 takes place at Club Amazura in Queens, New York on Friday September 29, 2017. For tickets go to Kick.Eventbrite.com.

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Warriors Cup, the nation's premier Muay Thai promotion, returns to Queens, New York at the Queens Theatre in Flushing, New York on October 14, 2107. Muay Thai is a martial art that almost every mixed martial artist adds to his or her arsenal. Muay Thai is known as the Art of Eight Limbs. Come find out why on October 14. For tickets info go to Warriors Cup.com or call 609-678-6728.
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