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UFC Confirms Momentous Dublin Return for August 15

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Dublin has played host to a number of historic UFC bouts and local fans will be delighted at the organisation’s return. UFC’s first foray to the iconic city came in 2009 for UFC® 93: FRANKLIN vs. HENDERSON where American light heavyweight Dan “Hendo” Henderson defeated fellow countryman Rich “Ace” Franklin via split decision.

In 2014, “The Notorious” Conor McGregor headlined the main event at UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: McGREGOR vs. BRANDAO where he spectacularly knocked out Diego “DB” Brandao to claim his third straight UFC victory in front of a raucous home crowd, and launched his career to UFC stardom.

UFC’s most recent visit to Dublin came in 2015 for UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: HOLOHAN vs. SMOLKA where Irish fans witnessed Darren “The Gorilla” Till and Nicolas “Sharpshooter” Dalby go head-to-head in a gruelling draw in the Fight of the Night.

UFC Senior Vice President, International and Content, David Shaw commented: “We kicked off the year with a phenomenal comeback from Conor McGregor at UFC 246, and now we are thrilled to announce our return to Ireland after four-years. With Irish fans amongst the most passionate UFC supporters in the world, and Dublin being such an iconic global city, we can’t wait to put on another world class event for our fans there.”

UFC Fight Club members will gain early access to tickets on Wednesday, June 24, and newsletter subscribers on Thursday, June 25. Fans are advised to register their interest for this event via ufc.com/dublin to secure their tickets in advance and to follow @UFCEurope on Twitter for all the latest updates.

Mark And Montana De La Rosa Making History, Again

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Just don’t ask them to get too excited about it before then.

“When we get those two wins, Saturday night when the fights are over, it will sink in then, ” explains Mark.

“At the moment I don’t think about it too much,” agrees Montana. “But later, down the road, it’s going to be like ‘Wow, we fought on the same card together! We made history.’”

It won’t be the first time they’ve done so. Their very marriage resulted in UFC history as the first husband-wife team on the roster at the same time. And just a few fights into promising careers in their respective flyweight divisions, it stands to reason there will be more chances to add interesting entries to the UFC record books.

But, of course, they didn’t get married to have interesting footnotes written about them. Inseparable since meeting in their late teens, the couple have the unique experience of excelling at the highest level of their chosen profession with the love of their life alongside them for the highest highs and the lowest lows.

“It definitely had its ups and downs,” Montana admits of being in fight camp at the same time as her husband. In addition to the dieting and the grueling hours in the gym, there’s the matter of running a household and caring for daughter Zaylyn.

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So who packs the lunches and does the laundry when Mom and Dad are both in camp?

“Montana is a superwife / supermom. She does all that,” beams Mark proudly. “We have a tough training schedule, but as soon as we get home she’s no longer a fighter. She’s an amazing wife and amazing mother. Supermom.”

No easy feat, to be sure. But being in the rare position of perfectly understanding their spouse’s profession is one of the anchors that helped push them through these last few weeks.

“We trained together a lot, we helped each other out a lot in camp. We were there emotionally for each other. We were focused on ourselves, but also each other.”

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So does that mean fighting on the same cards will be a regular thing? Not so fast.

“I think Saturday when the fights are over,” Montana laughs. “We’ll see if it was a good thing or a bad thing.” 

It might be silly to say something like “the family that fights together stays together,” but when it comes to Zaylyn, it’s not surprising that she’s showing an interest in the family business.

“She wants to go to the Olympics for wrestling,” Montana says of her daughter, who will be in attendance Saturday for the milestone. Mom is a three time All-American wrestler in high school herself, so truly, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

“It might lead to fighting, but whatever she wants to do, we’re going to support, for sure,” says Mark.

So as they write the blueprint for future husband-wife duos in the UFC, what advice would they offer those seeking the fighting/family balance?

“We need advice!” Montana shouts.

“We’re still figuring this out,” Mark agrees. “If you ask me about a year from now, I can probably give you some solid tips, but right now we’re still figuring it out.”

Diego Sanchez Is Ready For A New Chapter

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While Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar’s battle to determine the winner of the light heavyweight competition became an iconic clash credited with starting the UFC down the road to prominence, that evening’s main card kicked off with a bout to crown the winner of the reality TV competition’s middleweight tournament.

Less than three minutes into the contest, Diego Sanchez collected his first UFC victory and he’s been fighting in the Octagon ever since.

“Here I am, in my hometown, fighting for everything that I’ve got,” said Sanchez, who squares off with Michel Pereira in the co-main event of Saturday’s fight card from the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, a suburb of Albuquerque, where the 38-year-old veteran was born, raised, and continues to reside.

Diego Sanchez: Top TUF Moments

Diego Sanchez: Top TUF Moments

Sanchez was on the first and only other UFC fight card held in New Mexico a little over five years ago, and the opportunity to compete close to home again this weekend feels like it was meant to be.

“Let’s just put it like this: this is my event and this is my destiny,” he said when asked about getting to compete at home for a second time. “I was on the last fight of my contract my last fight and I didn’t know whether I was going to re-sign with the UFC or not, but here we are.

Watch UFC Rio Rancho On ESPN+ | On The Rise: UFC Rio Rancho

“I re-sign with the UFC, the event is here in New Mexico, and even though I’m coming off a loss, I am still placed in the co-main event. Things could not be more destined.”

As much as this weekend’s event is a homecoming and a chance to start this year’s campaign on the right foot for Sanchez, it’s also an opportunity for the enigmatic fighter — and fight fans ‑ to reflect on the long, strange trip that his UFC career has been.

Few professional athletes compete at the highest level for 15 years, yet while all of his contemporaries have either retired from the sport or are trading on their names on smaller shows, Sanchez has spent that entire time as an active fighter in the UFC. He has fought at least once per year since beating Florian to become the first person crowned “The Ultimate Fighter,” primarily floating between welterweight and lightweight, facing mostly established names and accomplished foes year after year.

His move to lightweight in 2009 sent a jolt of electricity coursing through the division, with back-to-back barnburners against Joe Stevenson and Clay Guida catapulting him into a championship fight against BJ Penn at UFC 107 that remains both the apex of his career and his most memorable setback.

But despite more losses than victories since that night in Memphis, Tennessee, Sanchez has always found a way to remain focused on the future and surprise fans with a vintage performance when they’re least expecting one.

“This week, I will be spending it out in the mountains in Placitas, New Mexico, where I rented an Airbnb,” began Sanchez, who went through a divorce and parted ways with his long-time team at Jackson-Wink MMA last year. “I will be out there, unplugged from Instagram, unplugged from society and everything that is going on in the city, and I’m going to have some time to really reflect on all my ups and all my downs.

“The mission I am on now is no longer for UFC gold. Yes, I see that belt, and I want that belt, and I want that dream to come true, and I truly believe that it will, but now the focus has shifted to the platform, the people who have gone through things and need help. I’m here to create awareness. This is why I’m working with my mentor Joshua Fabia and the School of Self-Awareness.

“At this point in my career, I do reflect and I will be reflecting on this last year and how I went through a divorce, and it was one of the hardest things I ever went through. I will reflect on how many people were truly there for me — how many people really sacrificed their time, their energy, and their love for me.

“There has been so much that has happened to me this past year,” he continues. “Going into 2020, I am focused, I am healthy, and I am trained. I have put the work in. I’m telling you, I have put the sprints in. I’ve been putting the work in, earning this victory and Saturday night, I get to go show the world what I’m about and I’m excited about it.”

Although he has always been one to focus on the future, believing he’s capable of stringing together enough victories to make a run at UFC gold, Sanchez now more readily acknowledges the fact that his career competing in the Octagon is winding down.

More From UFC Rio Rancho: Diego Sanchez’s Top TUF Moments | Fight by Fight Preview | Macy Chiasson | Free Fight: Anderson vs. Walker | Nathaniel Wood Turning It Up | 

Though he doesn’t have any specific timeline in mind for when he will call it a career, he does have a framework in place for how he will go about reaching that difficult decision whenever the time comes.

“I know I’m on my last stretch,” said Sanchez, who inked a new five-fight deal with the UFC in advance of Saturday’s bout with Pereira. “I have a lot of stuff going on, a lot of stuff happening now, but I will fight out these last five fights with the UFC. If I re-sign after that, I don’t know. All I know and all I can tell you is the honest truth and that is that I’m healthier, wiser, and I feel great.

“At the end of these next five fights, we will make a decision,” he added. “We’ll constantly go forward making decisions based on me, my health, my family, and my future, so that when the time comes to step away from the Octagon, I will step away from the Octagon and take my fight in another direction.

But this weekend, he’ll step into the Octagon, primed and ready to put on a show for his hometown fans, eager to begin the year on a high note.

“It’ll be monumentous for me,” Sanchez said of besting Pereira in front of a partisan crowd on Saturday night. “It’ll be the start to a new chapter. It’s going to be a good night; as good as it can get, really.

“Saturday night, the world is going to witness a 38-year-old man who is much smaller than his opponent go in there and do something others think is impossible. They’ve got me as the underdog, but so be it — I’ve been the underdog my whole life and it hasn’t stopped me once.

“And it won’t stop me from getting the victory that I’ve earned and deserve on Saturday night.”

The Birth Of Pereira’s Unconventional Style

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Video of his previous appearances under the Road FC banner went viral within the online MMA community, with clips of the Brazilian doing backflips off the fence and attempting any number of unconventional attacks turning him into a Twitter sensation many were clamoring to see more from. When he debuted in the Octagon last May against Danny Roberts, “Demolidor” did not disappoint.

He did a breakdancing routine through Joe Martinez’ introduction and once the bout officially got underway, he attempted to propel himself off the fence a la Anthony Pettis twice, missed with a “Rolling Thunder” heel kick, and finally finished the British veteran with a flying knee and straight right hand combo that deserved greater consideration in the Knockout of the Year conversation.

And he did all this in less than two minutes.

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“It’s just my style; it’s what I feel in my heart and in my head, and it’s the way that I like to fight,” Pereira, who takes on Diego Sanchez in the co-main event of this weekend’s UFC Fight Night event at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, said when asked about his unorthodox style that feels like a blend of kickboxing, gymnastics, and breakdance fighting that would make Zoolander and Hansel proud. “I like to perform in a way that is unique and I don’t think about it — it’s just the way that I compete.”

His performance against Roberts made anticipation for his sophomore appearance even higher, but things would not go as swimmingly for the chiseled six-foot-one upstart.

Set to compete in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Pereira’s initial opponent was forced to withdraw from the contest a week before the fight, opening the door for local veteran Tristan Connelly to seize the opportunity to make his UFC debut in his own backyard. On top of that, Pereira’s cornerman for the fight was unable to join him in the beautiful Canadian outpost due to visa issues, leaving the welterweight to execute his considerable weight cut alone.

Pereira came in one pound over the allowable limit and drew criticism from fans and observers for performing a backflip off the scale at the ceremonial weigh-ins on Friday evening. In the Octagon the following evening, he deployed the same flamboyant approach as always, but failed to have the same success he did against Roberts.

As the bout wore on, Pereira began to fade noticeably and Connelly emerged victorious.

“I’m extremely confident that I’m going to make weight this time,” began Pereira, who carries a 23-10. 2 NC record into his clash with Sanchez this weekend, his second straight “road game” inside the Octagon. “Last time, I had a coach who couldn’t get a visa approved, so I ended up doing the entire weight cut by myself, which is an absolute disaster. This time, I’m confident I will be able to make weight and perform to the best of my abilities.”

Hitting the mark on the scale is of paramount importance, but Pereira also heads into this contest dealing with questions about his approach for the first time since joining the UFC roster.

When he was storming through Roberts with flair and panache, Twitter was alight with praise for his arsenal of SportCenter-worthy attacks and willingness to take risks. But after missing weight for his bout with Connelly and tiring as the close fight ventured into the third round, many wondered aloud if he would be better served eschewing his collection of flips and rolls and flashy attacks in favor of a less taxing, less explosive fighting style.

So will Pereira dial back the acrobatics in pursuit of less criticism and hopefully greater appreciation for the skill he exhibits inside the cage?

“The public is going to say whatever they want and push whatever narrative they want about me,” said Pereira. “All I can do is give my best and put on the best performances possible. Hopefully as I continue to succeed and be successful, the fans will naturally gain respect for me as a fighter, and not just as an acrobat or a showman.

“For me, the public is extremely important,” he added. “I love my fans and my supporters — they’re why I do this, and why I want to leave a mark on the sport.”

He gets the chance to do just that on Saturday night, as he ventures into his opponent’s backyard for the second consecutive fight, ready to throw down with the 15-year UFC veteran Sanchez.

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“For me, it’s normal,” Pereira said of facing the beloved Ultimate Fighter winner in front of a partisan crowd this weekend. “I don’t get too caught up in the hype or worry about whether it’s his hometown or mine or a neutral territory; it’s a normal opponent and a normal fight night and I just have to go out there and do my job.”

While the location of the bout may not matter to the promising Brazilian, this most certainly isn’t just a normal fight.

Saturday’s bout with Sanchez is the co-main event of the evening and a pairing against easily the most experienced, established fighter he’s faced to date. Although he is not a factor in the title chase, the indomitable “Nightmare” has spoiled plenty of perceived breakout opportunities in the past and would certainly like to do the same again this weekend.

But where he’s not particularly bothered by where he’s fighting, Pereira is acutely aware of whom he’s fighting and the importance Saturday’s penultimate clash carries as he looks to rebound from his last outing and begin a successful 2020 campaign inside the Octagon.

“For me, it’s very important,” he said. “This fight is going to help ignite my career and kick off 2020 on the right note.

“Coming off a loss and still being able to fight a legend in the co-main event in his hometown is the perfect springboard back to the success I hope to enjoy this year. I’m incredibly excited and know this is an important step for my career.“

Macy Chiasson Finds Silver Lining In Rio Rancho

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Less than 24 hours removed from learning her original opponent, Nicco Montano, won’t be able to fight this Saturday, Chiasson handling the change with a savage mixture of confidence and nonchalance. 

“When my coach called me (with the news), he’s like ‘Wow, you’re taking this very well.’”

But in the bantamweight’s mind, there was little reason to get shaken up about it.

“I’ve had a great camp. There really isn’t much to change. I’m ready to fight, so whoever they put in there, it’s the same result.”

While conceding it’s never ideal to have a late opponent change, Chiasson is able to point to the silver lining that this opponent hasn’t had much time to occupy her thoughts.

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“I don’t have to think about it as much. I’ve had such a great camp. I feel so over-prepared in every single avenue. I’m just feeling very confident. I’ve very fortunate that they had someone who stepped up last minute. It’s not an easy thing for anyone. Especially when you step in and you haven’t had a camp. So I’m excited.”

That someone is UFC newcomer Shanna Young, who has fought for Invicta FC and appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series.

“So I watched a few of her fights…seems like a tough girl, very fit. But nothing I see that I don’t think I can handle.”

A quick look at Chiasson’s resumé, and it’s evident she can handle quite a bit. After winning The Ultimate Fighter 28, she followed up with show-stopping back-to-back TKO victories over Gina Mazany and Sarah Moras. Even in her lone professional loss, Chiasson went the distance with  veteran Lina Lansberg and came away stronger for it.

“Honestly, I learned a lot about myself experience-wise, and being able to push the pace where needed. It wasn’t really that she was better than me, I just didn’t perform the way I wanted to perform. Sometimes when things don’t go your way, you have to work through it, sort it out – whether that’s in the cage or out of the cage. So I think I grew a lot, mentally, from that fight. I really needed something like that to push me to be better.

“My mental space, even the physical aspect is totally different. I feel like I’ve really one-upped since that fight. I’m really happy I was able to experience something like that to push me.”

It’s rare at best to hear a fighter say they were “really happy” for a loss, even if the end result was good. But the coolness and conviction in Chiasson’s voice confirms she really means it.

That attitude and spirit is a common thread among the athletes emerging from Fortis MMA, one of the hottest and most prolific gyms on the scene. But Chiasson insists there’s no Jedi mind tricks in coach Sayif Saud’s approach.

“The secret sauce is real simple: just work hard, train hard, and have the right mindset. Everyone in there has the same mindset, so we all push each other to be better. There’s nothing special about it, we don’t have a special combination. It’s real simple. Just work hard.

“Coach is very much a father figure to all of us. He’s the one who is always guiding us and motivating us to not only be a better fighter, but a better person. Any time we walk into that gym, we have to have the utmost respect for each other. It’s a discipline and it’s a part of life, it’s not just a part of fighting.” 

There’s No Stopping For Casey Kenney

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“Not right now,” he said. “I like where I’m at. Maybe one day, but it’s still not where bantamweight’s at. You can easily say bantamweight’s one of the deepest divisions in the UFC right now. Flyweight, a fight or two and you’re top ten, top 15, no questions asked. It’s making a resurgence, but it’s got a long way to go to live up to the hype of bantamweight.”

More From UFC Rio Rancho: Fighter’s On The Rise | Free Fight: Anderson vs. Walker | Nathaniel Wood Turning It Up | Fight by Fight

Kenney is right when it comes to the depth at bantamweight, a shark tank of a division to say the least. And with the title at flyweight not to be filled until later this month, there is an opportunity there to win a couple fights and be in the championship conversation. So why take the longer road? For the 28-year-old, it’s just an attitude he was born with.

“I’ve been a competitor since as far back as I can remember,” he said. “I literally can’t remember a time when I wasn’t training martial arts. I was one of the most competitive kids around, and I still am. That’s part of it, and then obviously growing in the sport and everyone wanting to get into the UFC, that’s where the flyweight run came from in the beginning – okay, this is my quickest way in. I always had the plan of moving up eventually and at the time, the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world (Demetrious Johnson) was at flyweight too and he had beaten my coach (Chris Cariaso), so that was the first goal, to take out the best fighter in the world. But once he was gone and things happened to the flyweight division, it was time to move on.”

Statement On Michel Prazeres

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USADA announced today that Michel Prazeres of Belém, Brazil, has accepted a two-year sanction for a violation of the UFC® Anti-Doping Policy after testing positive for a prohibited substance.

Prazeres, 38, tested positive for exogenous boldenone and its metabolite 5β-androst-1-en-17β-ol-3-one as the result of two out-of-competition urine samples he provided on March 9, 2019. Confirmation of the positive test was achieved through additional analysis using the sensitive isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC/C/IRMS) method, which reported laboratory results consistent with the exogenous origin of boldenone. Boldenone is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and UFC Prohibited List.

Prazeres’ two-year period of ineligibility began on March 9, 2019, the date his positive samples were collected.

USADA conducts the year-round, independent anti-doping program for all UFC athletes. USADA is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental agency whose sole mission is to preserve the integrity of competition, inspire true sport, and protect the rights of clean athletes. In an effort to aid UFC athletes, as well as their support team members, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on the UFC Anti-Doping Program website (https://UFC.USADA.org) regarding the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements, as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs.

In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (https://UFC.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, and periodic athlete alerts. Many of the resources available to athletes are provided in multiple languages, including Russian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese.

Along with education and testing, robust anti-doping programs enable investigations stemming from tips and whistleblowers. USADA makes available a number of ways to report the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in an effort to protect clean athletes and promote clean competition. Any tip can be reported using the USADA Play Clean Tip Center, by email at playclean@usada.org, by phone at 1 877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253), or by mail.

Unfiltered Episode 366: Anthony Smith and Tevin Giles

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Matt and Jim kick off today’s episode of UFC Unfiltered with their take on who really won the main event. Jim also calls out a judge for some questionable scoring.

Then, UFC light heavyweight and analyst Anthony Smith calls in to the show. He gives his take on how the UFC can restore confidence in judges, shares who he’s hit the hardest in his UFC career, and discusses his fight against Glover Teixeira at UFC Fight Night Lincoln on April 25th.

Finally, UFC middleweight Trevin Giles joins the pod fresh off his victory over James Krause on Saturday. He discusses his performance at UFC 247, how it felt to get a new opponent less than a day before the fight, and how he became a police officer in Houston.

Follow the show @UFCunfiltered on Instagram, and check out the full video show on UFC FIGHT PASS – sign up today at www.ufcfightpass.com

Young Steps In To Face Chiasson In Rio Rancho

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With former UFC women’s flyweight champion Nicco Montano sidelined due to injury, Dana White’s Contender Series veteran Shanna Young will step in to make her UFC debut against Macy Chiasson this Saturday in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

UFC Fight Night, which is headlined by the light heavyweight rematch between Corey Anderson and Jan Blachowicz, airs live on ESPN+.

UFC Donates $10,000 To Relief Efforts In Philippines

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UFC recently donated $10,000 to the Manny Pacquiao Foundation to help relief efforts following three earthquakes that were 6.3 magnitude, 6.5 magnitude, and 6.6 magnitude that hit the southern Philippines on Sunday, December 15.

The first of three earthquakes killed 21 people and injured more than 400 residents of the town of Magsaysay, which is centrally located in the Province of Davao del Sur on Mindanao island. The second earthquake, which measured a magnitude of 6.6, followed later that night. Then the third earthquake, measured a magnitude 6.5 followed the next day. In total, more than 20,000 homes were destroyed, leaving 27,500 residents without shelter. Construction to begin rebuilding last month and will continue until displaced residents have new homes.

Shortly after the second earthquake hit, Pacquiao, currently serving as a Senator of the Philippines, made a public plea via his global social media platforms, asking friends, colleagues, and fans to help assist the rebuilding efforts of towns at the center of the damage.

“Manny Pacquiao is one of the kindest individuals I’ve ever met,” said UFC President Dana White. “He does a lot of great things for the Philippines and we’re happy to help support the recovery efforts through his foundation.”

„There are over 100,000 people who are hurting and have lost everything,” said Pacquiao. “Through our foundation and people around the world, we can put a smile on their faces and help to ease some of that pain.“

The aid from fans and charitable organizations around the world has significantly helped rebuilding efforts.

„This is what it looks like when people come together,” remarked Pacquiao! “Thank you for your outpouring of love for the people of Mindanao. You are helping impact tens of thousands of lives and we couldn’t do it without you.“

Named and Founded on behalf of eight-division world champion and future boxing Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao, The Manny Pacquiao Foundation seeks to empower communities and individuals through charitable support and a message of hope and change. Pacquiao continues to assist the people of his native Philippines through his foundation and bring awareness via his global social platforms. To learn more and to donate, please visit www.pacquiaofoundation.org

For more information and updates, sign up for the UFC Newsletter here.

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