POLLOCK’S MMA UPDATE: Paige VanZant heading to BKFC, per report

Paige VanZant heading to BKFC, Ion Cutelaba off UFC 252 due to COVID, Yoel Romero out of the fight with Uriah Hall, notes from Contender Series.


**On Thursday, we will have a UFC 252 Preview Show with guest James Lynch joining me to look at the card and discuss news stories over the past week including highlights from Dana White’s Contender Series on Tuesday.

**On Saturday night, Phil Chertok and I will be going LIVE with our UFC 252 POST Show immediately after the main card at YouTube.com/POSTwrestling and we will also be taking phone calls on the show.


**ESPN’s Ariel Helwani is reporting that Paige VanZant is heading to Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship and has signed a multi-fight exclusive contract. Bellator president Scott Coker told MMA Fighting that VanZant declined an offer made by the promotion, which is where her husband Austin Vanderford competes.

VanZant (8-5) just completed the final fight of her UFC contract losing to Amanda Ribas at UFC 251 last month where she was submitted in the opening round. The 26-year old began fighting in 2012 and made it to the UFC after four pro fights debuting in November 2014 and defeating Kailin Curran, Felice Herrig, and Alex Chambers in her first UFC fights. Then, she was sent to the deep end and was overwhelmed by Rose Namajunas in December 2015 but lasted until the fifth round when she was submitted. Since 2018, she has been hampered with issues stemming from a broken arm she sustained against Jessica Rose-Clark and broke it two more times after the fight.

VanZant has grown her celebrity through appearances on Dancing with the Stars in 2016, releasing a biography in 2018 outlining the struggles she endured growing up, and there was interest several years ago from WWE wanting to use her.

**After Tuesday’s Contender Series episode, Dana White spoke to the media on the following subjects:
*Impa Kasanganay, who was awarded a contract on Tuesday, will turn around and fight Maki Pitolo on August 22nd on the Fight Night card headlined by Frankie Edgar and Pedro Munhoz
*Mike Tyson has asked White to come out to watch him train but White said he isn’t getting involved with that fight, he knows why it’s been postponed but said “it’s none of my business”
*The next series of shows in Abu Dhabi will likely be for 5-6 weeks
*White doesn’t watch any of the pre-produced packages before the fights to let it sway his decision making
*The winner of this Saturday’s main event is the greatest heavyweight of all-time and made a crack about Fedor Emelianenko

**Here are the results from Dana White’s Contender Series where all five winners received UFC contracts:
*Impa Kasanganay def. Anthony Adams by unanimous decision (29-27 all)
*T.J. Laramie def. Daniel Swain by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00 of Round 1
*Cory McKenna def. Vanessa Demopoulos by unanimous decision ( 30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Adrian Yanez def. Brady Huang by TKO at 0:39 of Round 1
*Dustin Stoltzfus def. Joe Pyfer by TKO (injury) at 4:21 of Round 1

The most gruesome moment occurred in the main event when Pyfer posted on his right arm as Stoltzfus slammed him to the mat and led to Pyfer’s arm snapping and the fight ended. Of the five, Yanez had the most impressive performance with a left hook landing clean on Huang and he followed with a beautiful combination, and Huang was finished on his feet. Prior to Dana White’s announcement of the contracts, I thought that Yanez and T.J. Laramie were guaranteed while Stolztfus would likely squeeze in, but I did not anticipate McKenna or Kasanganay getting deals. I was happy to see Kasanganay get one because he had a solid victory and dominated the second and third rounds, but often, decisions don’t get you the contract on this series and I was happy to see it’s didn’t preclude him. Granted, one factor was that Kasanganay is coming back to fight in ten days on August 22nd against Maki Pitolo and is doing the UFC a solid.

**UFC light heavyweight Ion Cutelaba is off this Saturday’s UFC 252 card after testing positive for COVID-19, which was reported by Russia’s TASS outlet and confirmed by Cutelaba’s manager to ESPN. The light heavyweight was set to fight Magomed Ankalaev on the pay-per-view portion of the card and it’s unknown if the UFC will find a replacement. This was a rematch of a fight from February, which Ankalaev won but was heavily disputed for the early stoppage and a rematch was booked for April and delayed until August due to the pandemic.

**The August 22nd Fight Night card has been hit with the loss of Yoel Romero, who had to withdraw from his fight with Uriah Hall. The removal was first reported by BJPenn.com and ESPN has confirmed the story. Romero, 43, has lost four of his last five fights against the top three fighters in the division with two fights against Robert Whittaker and losses to Paulo Costa and champion Israel Adesanya.

**There will be a UFC 252 press conference on Thursday night at 8 pm Eastern featuring Stipe Miocic, Daniel Cormier, and Dana White from Las Vegas.

**Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie spoke with Junior Dos Santos ahead of his fight with Jairzinho Rozenstruik this Saturday. The two both train at ATT and the former champion noted he’s seen him at the gym with coach Conan Silveira removing himself from working with either fighter.

**LFA has announced four shows without fans coming up with cards scheduled for August 21st (Jaleel Willis vs. Vinicius De Jesus) August 28th (Brant Moore vs. Joe Giannetti) September 4th (Zviad Lazishvili vs. Ricky Steele) and September 11th (TBA) from the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and airing on UFC Fight Pass.

From LFA CEO Ed Soares:

We brought four successful closed-door events to the Sanford Pentagon in July. This continued a great working relationship we established with the South Dakota Athletic Commission and Sanford Pentagon six summers ago, when we brought the first sanctioned MMA event to the state. Our partnership with Sanford Heath has allowed us to create a safe and healthy environment for our fighters and staff. We look forward to continuing our residency on our LFA fight campus in Sioux Falls. We return on August 21st and will host four events in a span of four weeks.

**Below is the latest edition of UFC Embedded prior to UFC 252 this weekend:

Wai Ting & John Pollock kick off their look back at the greatest combat sports film franchise of all time with a review of Rocky (1976), written by and starring Sylvester Stallone.
REWIND-A-RAW 8/10/20: Kamala Passes Away, Flair Punted, G1 Schedule
John Pollock and Wai Ting discuss WWE Raw featuring the return of Raw Underground and Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens with a big angle to end the show. Plus, we discuss the passing of Kamala, Fozzy performing this past weekend, and NJPW’s G1 Climax 30 schedule.
THE LONG & WINDING ROYAL ROAD w/ guest Daniel Makabe
WH Park and independent wrestler Daniel Makabe discuss a hidden gem tag match as Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi take on Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue from AJPW’s January 26, 1992, Korakuen Hall show.
POST PURORESU: G1 Climax, Stardom’s 5 Star Grand Prix, Mailbag Q&A
John Pollock & WH Park are joined by Dylan Fox to chat about the G1 Climax schedule, Stardom’s 5 Star Grand Prix, and a mailbag Q&A segment.
John Pollock and Wai Ting review this week’s WWE SmackDown featuring RETRIBUTION! Plus, Kevin Reilly is out at WarnerMedia and a big week for AEW Dynamite ratings.
POST PROFILE: Silva vs. Sonnen – Ten Years Later
John Pollock documents one of the biggest feuds in MMA history that led to Anderson Silva defending the UFC middleweight championship against Chael Sonnen in August 2010 at UFC 117.
BWE Retro Edition: WWF Rebellion 2001
Martin is joined by Cristen Brinkerhoff, Florence Bullock & Liv Heller (formerly of the “No Sell It” podcast) to take an irreverent look back at the UK-only PPV, WWF Rebellion 2001.

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About John Pollock 5662 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.