Cris Justino vacating Invicta title is a good move

While Invicta Fighting Championships fans watched the promotion’s finest compete at Invicta FC 22, one of the organization’s titleholders has bowed out so to speak.

Invicta featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino announced via a video on her Youtube channel that she vacated the title. Invicta announced that interim featherweight champion Megan Anderson was promoted to undisputed 145 champion.

Not surprisingly, Justino set her sites on a clash with UFC women’s featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie – who became the first titleholder after she defeated former bantamweight queen Holly Holm – opportunity to add more gold to her impressive trophy case. Justino was formerly the Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion before she debuted for Invicta.

When the UFC announced they were creating their women’s 145 division – with the fight between de Randamie vs. Holm to determine the first champion – fans were peeved that Justino was not given the opportunity to become the inaugural champion. How dare the UFC create a women’s 145 title fight without the most dominant fighter in that division? Well fight fans, I’m sure it will be a matter of time before we see her fight for the belt, especially now that she’s no longer the Invicta champion.

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Katya Kavaleva could do well in WWE

Note: This is a column I wrote for Creators

WWE’s Performance Center has had a plethora of experienced professional wrestlers and athletes come through its doors, but I don’t know if there has been anyone quite like Katya Kavaleva.

WWE recently released a video of Kavaleva’s tryout at the Performance Center back in March. In the video, Kavaleva gives some of her martial arts background, as well as showcases some of her workouts.

This was Kavaleva’s second tryouts, she had been to the WWE Performance Center back in February.

I’m going to come clean and say that I didn’t really know of Kavaleva outside of her training with the Blackzilians – becoming the first woman to do so – and her calling out Gabi Garcia. After viewing some of her training footage at her WWE tryout, as well as videos of her sparring and competing in Taekwondo, the fantasy booker in me thinks she’d do well in WWE and the company should sign her to a developmental deal – if they haven’t already.

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Bellator Champions should headline MSG card, not hyped up talent

Note: This is a piece I wrote for Creators

Bellator MMA is pulling out all the stops for its June 24 pay per view event at Madison Square Garden – dubbed Bellator: NYC. The promotion has already announced for matches for this fight card.

A lightweight championship bout between Michael Chandler and Brent Primus

A welterweight title tilt between Douglas Lima and the debuting Lorenz Larkin

The highly anticipated grudge match between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva

A heavyweight clash between Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Mitrione – a bout that was scheduled for February.

All four of these bouts would be worthy of a main event on any typical Bellator card, but the promotion is choosing to put Silva and Sonnen on top with Emelianenko vs. Mitrione underneath, which would be fine, except the two title bouts are underneath it.

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Mackenzie Dern has the potential to be a star

Note: This is a column I wrote for Blasting News.

There’s been a lot of buzz in the media about #MMA prospect #Mackenzie Dern. Dern, a highly decorated Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioner who transitioned to MMA in 2016, has been touted as the next “Ronda Rousey.” She’s currently 3-0 in her MMA career with wins over Kenia Rosas, Montana Stout and most recently, Katherine Roy, who she defeated at LFA 6 on March 10. Since Dern made her professional MMA debut, folks are wondering when she will come to the UFC. It might not be that long.

Mackenzie Dern on the UFC radar
In an interview with TMZ, UFC President Dana White confirmed that his promotion is checking out the MMA prospect and referred to her as “a little badass.” As much as fans like to give White guff, he is a fight fan and I’m not surprised that he’s a fan of her work. In an August interview with the MMA Hour, Dern said she would like to fight for a UFC title by the end of 2017. Although Dern has only competed in professional MMA for over a year, it wouldn’t surprise me to see her compete in a future UFC event. In the past, the promotion has brought in MMA fighters with little experience and thrust them in the spotlight.

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Crunch Time: LeGrand is more than deserving to receive the Warrior Award

Note: This is my Crunch Time column for the March 16 issue of The Cheney Free Press.

WWE will have their flagship event, Wrestlemania 33, is a few weeks away and I’m excited. For us pro wrestling fans, the event is kind of like the Super Bowl or the Academy Awards.

As part of the festivities, WWE holds its annual Hall of Fame ceremony, honoring performers and managers who have made their mark in the wrestling business. The Hall of Fame also has a celebrity wing that recognizes celebrities, including President Donald Trump, that have made memorable appearances on WWE programming.

In the last few years, the WWE has given out the “Warrior Award” named after WWE Hall of Famer, The Ultimate Warrior.

According to the WWE’s website, the award is given to an individual “who has exhibited unwavering strength and perseverance, and who lives life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit of Ultimate Warrior.”

On March 13, WWE announced that the year’s recipient of the award is former Rutgers football player and motivational speaker, Eric LeGrand. LeGrand was paralyzed after he suffered a spinal cord injury during a game in 2010. During a kickoff, LeGrand collided with the ball carrier. After the tackle, he was on the ground for several minutes before being carted off the field.

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Bellator MMA: Lorenz Larkin inks contract with the promotion

Note: This is a piece I wrote for Blasting News regarding Lorenz Larkin joining the Bellator roster.

t’s going to be monsoon season soon in #Bellator Mma as former UFC veteran #Lorenz Larkin is set to compete in the Bellator cage. Bellator president Scott Coker announced on Twitter that Larkin signed with the promotion.

Larkin, better known as “Da Monsoon,” confirmed the news in an interview with The Press Enterprise.

Larkin had previously fought for the Bellator president under the Strikeforce banner from 2011-2013. During his Strikeforce tenure, Larkin won four of his five fights, including a victory against future UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler.

Larkin originally lost his 2012 bout against “King Mo,” Muhammed Lawal via second-round knockout, however, the fight was ruled a no contest after Lawal tested positive for drostanolone. He was scheduled to challenge Luke Rockhold for the Strikeforce middleweight title in January 2013, until the latter withdrew from the contest because of an injury.

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Claressa Shields’ first pro championship could lead to stardom

Note: This is a column I wrote for Blasting News

In the Nov. 3, 2016 issue of the Cheney Free Press, I wrote a column about two-time Olympic medalist #Claressa #Shields and her announcement that she would be competing in her first professional boxing bout a couple of weeks later.

I didn’t expect that I would be returning to Shields less than four months after I penned the column — then again I didn’t think she would make a splash like she has done, less than six months into her professional boxing career.

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