Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the hurt business today (Sat., Oct. 21, 2017) for UFC Fight Night 118, which is set to go down inside Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland. The UFC Fight Pass event will feature a Welterweight scrap between Donald Cerrone and Darren Till, while Karolina Kowalkiewicz meets Jodie Esquibel in the co-headlining act.
“Cowboy” will look to get back on the winning track against a man who isn’t exactly the biggest of names, but hasn’t tasted defeat in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career. The two men have stormed up quite a rivalry, as it will be interesting to see if it will be a changing of the guard in Poland or “Cowboy’s” latest run at getting to a UFC title.
Jodie Esquibel wanted her chance to shine, and now she gets to do it against former title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz. It’s been a rough stretch for Karolina, as she has now dropped two in a row after starting her MMA career with 10-straight wins.
Original Card vs. Actual Card:
The event was set to stage a Heavyweight showdown between Anthony Hamilton and Adam Wieczorek, but that has been removed due to a raucous group of soccer fans, of all things (full story here). A fight between Marcin Held and Teemu Packalen was scratched after Teemu suffered a knee jury.
Sam Alvey stepped in to replace an injured Trevor Smith against Ramazan Emeev, though Alvey didn’t make weight for the fight that will now be contested at a catchweight. Jim Wallhead suffered a late injury which scratched his fight against Warley Alves.
Salim Touahri, Oskar Piechota, Nasrat Haqparast and Jodie Esquibel will all be making their promotional debuts and look to get their name out there as soon as possible with an impressive showing.
How The “Prelims” Look:
There’s quite a bit of action on the undercard, which includes an interesting scrap between featherweights Artem Lobov and Andre Fili, who are both looking to bounce back after disappointing outings their last time out. Also, Alvey will look to build on the momentum he had after taking out Rashad Evans in his last Octagon appearance when he faces off against Emeev.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
While he won’t be in danger of getting cut, Donald Cerrone needs a win in the worst way, as he has dropped two in a row going into his headlining bout. Furthermore, he and Till have gone back and forth in the media, with Till calling him old and fragile, after saying “Cowboy’s” time in the MMA spotlight has come and gone. You can bet those comments only motivate Cerrone further, but he will have to be on his “A” game if he wants to avoid his third-straight defeat, which will leave him at a crossroads in his lengthy and storied career if he fails to do so.
Interest Level: 5/10
When you have a fight between Oskar Piechota vs. Jonathan Wilson stating the main card, you know the event isn’t deep. I’m being honest, I’m really only looking forward to the Cerrone vs. Till matchup, as we could be in for a treat if Cerrone indeed decides to stand. It’s a decent card for a Fight Pass event. That said, it will also be interesting to see how much Esquibel has gotten better after her stint under Invicta FC, when she faces off against Kowalkiewicz.
Is Cerrone past his prime? Is Till the future? Those questions and much more will be answered once the cage door slams shut.
Full UFC Fight Night 118 Fight Card:
UFC Fight Night 118 Main Event:
170 lbs.: Donald Cerrone vs. Darren Till
UFC Fight Night 118 Main Card (3 p.m. ET):
115 lbs.: Jodie Esquibel vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
205 lbs.: Jan Blachowicz vs. Devin Clark
185 lbs.: Oskar Piechota vs. Jonathan Wilson
UFC Fight Night 118 Prelims (12 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Marcin Held vs. Nasrat Haqparast
265 lbs.: Anthony Hamilton vs. Adam Wieczorek(canceled)
135 lbs.: Brian Kelleher vs. Damian Stasiak
185 lbs.: Ramazan Emeev vs. Sam Alvey
145 lbs.: Andre Fili vs. Artem Lobov
170 lbs.: Salim Touahri vs. Warlley Alves
135 lbs.: Aspen Ladd vs. Lina Lansberg
145 lbs.: Felipe Arantes vs. Josh Emmett
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