Superstar Cody Bollinger replaces Josh Hill, Faces Reigning Bantamweight Champ Marlon Moraes in World Series of Fighting 13 Main Event Live on NBC Sports Network from Bethlehem, Penn. on Sept. 13 – Confident Moraes putting belt on the line despite competing at catchweight

Cody Bollinger

With undefeated Canadian contender Josh Hill forced to withdraw from a planned title fight with reigning World Series of Fighting bantamweight (135 pounds) champion Marlon Moraes (13-4-1) of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. via Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, submission ace Cody Bollinger (16-2) of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. has agreed to step up on short notice and face Moraes in the headlining bout of the World Series of Fighting 13 event at Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, Penn. on Saturday, Sept. 13, live on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN).

Moraes and Bollinger will meet in a 140-pound catchweight contest, and while World Series of Fighting officials initially expected the contest to be a non-title affair, Moraes is so confident in his chances, he’s promised to send Bollinger the bantamweight title belt should “The Cali Cowboy” prove victorious.

“I don’t know how we can make it official, but as far as I’m concerned, this is a title fight,” said a fired up Moraes. “Anytime I’m fighting, I’m fighting as a champion and I’m defending my belt. I don’t know how everybody else will see it but, to me, this is my next title fight and, if Cody wins, I’ll send him my belt. If I’m going to be a champion, I have to beat everybody I fight.”

“This is an amazing opportunity that came my way from a first-rate fight promotion, and I plan on making my fans proud,” said Bollinger. “I will be ready to go at it full force come fight time, shock the world and put an end to Marlon’s win streak.”

“World Series of Fighting 13: Moraes vs. Bollinger” takes place Saturday, Sept. 13, at Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, Penn. Tickets for the event, which include cageside seats for just $129, are currently on sale at Ticketmaster.com.

Doors to the venue open at 5 p.m. ET, with a full preliminary card getting underway at 6 p.m. ET. The live, NBCSN-broadcast main card kicks off at 9 p.m. ET.

“I thought Moraes vs. Hill was going to be an incredible championship fight, but this new pairing might better,” World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo said. “Marlon isn’t exactly Cody’s biggest fan, and Marlon guaranteed me he was going to knock Cody out. Meanwhile, Cody didn’t hesitate for one moment when he was given the opportunity to step in on just 10 days’ notice, proving what a warrior he really is at heart.

“Now with Marlon promising to put his belt on the line despite fighting at 140 pounds, I think this fight just got even more interesting.”

Brazilian striking specialist Moraes has staked his claim as one of the biggest superstars of World Series of Fighting, a process that started nearly two years ago when he upset former WEC champion Miguel Torres by split decision. He then registered additional wins against Tyson Nam, Brandon Hempleman and Carson Beebe before claiming the inaugural World Series of Fighting bantamweight title fight against Josh Rettinghouse earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Bollinger fought most recently in July, earning a first-round submission win over Pablo Alfonso. While the 23-year-old impressed with his performance, he struggled to make weight for the bantamweight matchup and was planning a move to 145 pounds. However, the opportunity to take on Moraes was too enticing to pass up, and Bollinger believes he’ll prove his worth by defeating World Series of Fighting’s bantamweight title holder.

World Series of Fighting matchmaker Ali Abdelaziz said didn’t expect the belt to be on the line for the contest but is happy to honor the wishes of his two athletes in what’s quickly shaping up to be an epic grudge match.

“Cody simply can’t make 135 pounds in a little more than a week, but he’s confident he can beat Marlon, and that’s why he took this fight,” Abdelaziz said. “And honestly, I think Marlon offering to put his title on the line anyway shows what an incredible champion he is. I’ve been telling everyone for a while now, I think Marlon Moraes is the best bantamweight fighter in the world. I think he can beat anybody in the world at 135 pounds – anybody. Now he’s proving that he has the true heart of a champion, as well, willingly moving up in weight for this challenge and promising to put his belt on the line, anyway. It’s incredible.”

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M-1 Challenge heavyweight championship

M-1 Challenge 53 - Battle in China

Marcin Tybura defends against Denis Smoldarev

M-1 Challenge 53 streaming live Nov. 11 from Russia on M1Global.TV

(L-R) M-1 Global promoter Vadim Finkelchtein and M-1 Challenge heavyweight champion Marcin Tybura

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (September 4, 2014) — M-1 Challenge 53: Battle in China is shaping up as an MMA heavyweight extravaganza, November 11 at Wukesong Arena in Beijing, to be held in conjunction with the International Economic Forum.

Newly crowned M-1 Challenge heavyweight champion Marcin “Tybur” Tybura (11-0-0, 4 KO/TKO, 5 SUB) headlines in his first title defense against undefeated challenger Denis Smoldarev (8-0-0, 3 KO/TKO, 3 SUB).

M-1 Challenge 53 will be streamed in high definition on www.M1Global.TV, live from China. Viewers will be able to watch the preliminary fights and main card by logging on to register at www.M1Global.TV. Fans may watch all of the action on their computers, as well as on Andriod and Apple smart phones and tablets.

Tubura, fighting out of Poland, captured the M-1 Challenge heavyweight title in his last fight, choking defending champion and fellow Pole, Damian “Polish Pitbull” Grabowski (19-2-0, 6 KO/TKO, 10 SUB), last month in M-1 Challenge 50. Smoldarev is known at home as the “Brock Lesnar of Estonia.”

Also scheduled to fight on the Nov. 11 show are Russian heavyweight star Sergei “The Paratrooper” Kharitonov (21-5-0, 11 KO/TKO, 9 SUB), Japanese heavyweight and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii (12-3-1, 1 KO/TKO, 4 SUB), and Russian welterweight Muslim “King of Kung Fu” Salikhov (2-1-0, 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB).

During his 5 ½ year professional career, the 6′ 4″, 260-pound Kharitonov has defeated the likes of Fabricio Werdum, Pedro Rizzo, Andrei Arlovski and Alistar Overeem, while Ishii’s victims include notables such as Jeff Monson, Pedro Rizzo and Tim Sylvia.

Additional fights and opponents will soon be announced. All fights and fighters are subject to change.

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WSOF - Amateurs

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is the fastest-growing sport in the world, and with so many young men and women training every day, World Series of Fighting officials will look to tap into that pool of talent and provide a clear path to future stardom in the professional ranks of the sport when they launch the World Series of Fighting U.S. National Amateur Division in 2015.

Winners of the World Series of Fighting U.S. National Amateur Division, which will function as an amateur MMA circuit aimed at discovering and developing the best, young MMA prospects in the nation, will receive a multi-year, multi-fight contract with the world championship fight promotion and make their professional debuts live on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN).

“We are proud to launch this exciting new division of World Series of Fighting and, through this, we will maintain the goal of finding the absolute best new talent that exists in the U.S.,” World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo said.

“For the first time in history,” continued Sefo, “amateur fighters who have the desire and the drive to turn professional and make a career for themselves in MMA, will be given a distinct path that will allow them to attain their goals of becoming future superstars in the professional ranks of our incredible sport.”

The new circuit will be divided into four regions: East, South, Mountain and West. Additional information regarding the World Series of Fighting U.S. National Amateur Division will be announced soon.

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (July 9, 2014) On Saturday, August 30, 2014 King of the Cage (KOTC) returns to Las Vegas at Eastside Cannery Casino Hotel for “Future Legends 25” for another action packed night of MMA fighting.

The KOTC 145 lb. Amateur Bantamweight Title will be on the line when current Champion David Hernandez (Team Allegiance) from Apple Valley, California battles Christian Cardona (Torres MMA) from Las Vegas, Nevada. The challenger, Cardona, has earned one of the fastest knockouts ever recorded in KOTC amateur history which was 0:10.

In the co-main event in the light heavyweight division, Dan Lewis (Rice Brothers BBJ) from Redding, California takes on Prentice Williams (Extreme Couture) from Las Vegas, Nevada. This match will be for the number one contender in the light heavyweight division.

Other key matchups will feature:

  • Adam Gentile vs. Austin Haggerty (Heavyweight)
  • Jason Pacheco vs. Oscar Sanchez (125 lbs.)
  • Graig Slattery vs. Chris Flores (145 lbs.)
  • Will Hope vs. Felix Carreras (185 lbs.)
  • Dylan Oligo vs. Bruce Harleysville (115 lbs.)
  • Farley Thomas vs. Justin Hernandez (135 lbs.)
  • Omar Romero vs. Daniel Rodriguez (170 lbs.)
  • Johnny Lopez vs. Jordan Christensen (165 lbs.)

Other fighters appearing on the card will be Jose Lopez, Paul Uhi, Steve Hartman, Ken Rose, Ty Bethley, Don Murphin, Alberto Gomez, Mateusz Gruziaz, Raul Hernandez, AJ Smith, Ricky Alvarez, Justin Robinson, Javier Hernandez and more.

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BattleGrounds MMA (www.battlegroundsone.com) announced today that it has confirmed two Superfights – a lightweight (155 pounds) showdown between Ryan Couture (7-3) of Las Vegas, Nev. and Jonny “The King of Late Night” Carson (11-6) of San Francisco, Calif., and a women’s atomweight (105 pounds) scrap between Nicdali “The Night Queen” Rivera-Calanoc (8-7) of Tulsa, Okla. and Jen “Tink” Aniano (0-2) of Kalamazoo, Mich. – for its highly-anticipated O.N.E. event that will be headlined by a one-night, eight-man tournament at BOK Center in Tulsa on Friday, June 27.

The tournament affair, featuring an assembly of established and fast-rising stars in the welterweight (170 pounds) division, marks the first one-night, eight-man, single-elimination MMA affair in Tulsa since UFC 4 on Dec. 16, 1994, and will award its winner a hefty grand prize of $50,000.

“We are excited to showcase such high-caliber talent on what is, without a doubt, our most superb fight card to date,” said BattleGrounds MMA President and Olympic wrestling gold medalist Kenny Monday. “Fans are going to see a mix of fast-paced, high-pressure tournament fights as well as several nationally recognized and local, emerging stars facing off in single, Superfights with potential tournament opportunities at stake in each bout.”

Ryan Couture vs. Jonny Carson
Couture, the 31-year-old son and protégé of retired legend Randy “The Natural” Couture, is coming off his second consecutive victory, a second round (1:34) submission (rear-naked choke) of Shakir McKillip at BattleGrounds MMA 4 on May 17. In his previous start, Couture made quick work of Kyle Sjafiroeddin, using the rear-naked choke to submit Sjafiroeddin in the first round (2:14) of action at BattleGrounds MMA 3 on Jan. 18.

Prior to signing with BattleGrounds MMA, Couture compiled a career record of 6-1 while competing for Strikeforce. His greatest win to date – a split decision over UFC star K.J. Noons – came during Strikeforce’s final event in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Jan. 12, 2013.

The matchup with Couture represents the 28-year-old Carson’s first start of 2014. He will look to notch his second consecutive win after earning a unanimous decision over Marcio Navarro in Catoosa, Okla. on April 12, 2013.

Carson is a member of the Skrap Pack, the vaunted, San Francisco, Calif.-based fight squad founded and headed by UFC superstar Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez. Carson relocated from his native Broken Arrow, Okla. to The Golden Gate City six years ago after receiving an invitation from Melendez to become a full-time member of the team.

Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc vs. Jen Aniano
Rivera-Calanoc, the 28-year-old wife of retired kickboxing and MMA star Travis Calanoc, will look to return to the win column after suffering a first round (4:57) submission (rear-naked choke) defeat in her Invicta Fighting Championships world title bid against reigning champion Jessica Penne on July 13, 2013.

One fight prior to the championship matchup, the feisty Rivera-Calanoc, who has been touted as the “female Wanderlei Silva” for her hard-charging, aggressive-minded fighting style, earned a unanimous decision victory over Angelica Chavez on July 28, 2012. An eight-year veteran of professional MMA, Rivera-Calanoc began boxing at age 11 as a means of emulating her childhood hero, Oscar De La Hoya.

Also 28 years of age, Aniano brings over a decade of experience in martial arts to the BattleGrounds MMA cage. A former high school and collegiate wrestler who competed in freestyle rules wrestling tournaments while attending community college, Aniano added Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to her repertoire and continued studying the submission fighting art while pursuing a master’s degree in education at the University of Michigan.

After graduating in 2010, Aniano moved to Kalamazoo to train under Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt Clint Crabtree and MMA coach Master Amir Khillah. Aniano also holds a position as an alternative education middle school teacher where she mentors at youth risk.

Slated for action in the one-night, eight-man BattleGrounds MMA tournament are fellow submission aces Dennis “Superman” Hallman (53-14-2, 1 NC) of Yelm, Wash. and Cody “AK Kid” McKenzie (15-4) of Spokane, Wash.; undefeated upstart and former NCAA National Wrestling Championship runner-up Chris Honeycutt (4-0) of Fresno, Calif.; two-time, one-night tournament winner Brock Larson (37-8) of Brainerd, Minn.; Luigi “The Italian Tank” Fioravanti (24-11) of St. Louis, Mo.; Urijah Faber protégé David “Bulletproof” Mitchell (14-4) of Lower Lake, Calif.; Josh “The Beast” Bryant (14-4) of Broken Arrow; and Roan “Jucao” Carneiro (16-9) of Atlanta, Ga.

Additional bouts will be announced soon.

Tickets for the BattleGrounds MMA event, priced from $65, can be purchased online at www.bokcenter.com as well as at Arby’s Box Office at the BOK Center, all ticket outlets, or by calling 1-800-7-BOKCTR.

Doors at BOK Center open at 6 p.m. CST on June 27. The first preliminary bout will begin at 7:15 p.m.

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