Royal Farms Arena
Shogun Fights XXIV
April 11, 2020 - 6:30PM
The East Coast’s Premier MMA Organization
The brain-child of John Rallo, Shogun fights regularly packs several of the largest venues in the region including Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, The Theater at MGM National Harbor and Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Ft Lauderdale. A hotbed for celebrities and UFC stars, Shogun events will continue to be a Baltimore mainstay for a time to come.
With a successful (albeit short) MMA career and stint as a celebrity bodyguard under his belt, working with the likes of Tommy Lee and Sylvester Stallone, Rallo focused on opening a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy after receiving his blackbelt from Renzo Gracie himself. During this time he worked towards legalizing MMA in the state of Maryland, eventually passing legalization in one session – an unheard of feat with new legislature. With the arena wide-open, Rallo has spent years promoting shows and building a roster of packed talent, with several fighters going to the UFC, Invicta, Bellator, Dana White’s Contender Series and PFL amongst others.
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- UFC 257 Aftermath: Dustin Poirier proves that pressure makes Diamondsby Jed Meshew on January 25, 2021 at 1:00 am
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty ImagesHeading into UFC 257, one of the pervasive questions surrounding the main event fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor was who had improved more since their first fight back in 2014. Well, now we know. In the second round of the pay-per-view headliner on Saturday night, Poirier answered any such questions definitively, viciously knocking out McGregor with a series of punches against the fence. McGregor has lost before – a lot, in fact, over the last few years. But this one felt different. Aside from the fact that this is McGregor’s most meme-able loss, it’s also his least explainable one. Nate Diaz? He had little time to prepare for a different stylistic matchup and he blew his gas tank. He then came back and won the rematch. Khabib Nurmagomedov? It’s Khabib. No one beats Khabib. But Poirier? McGregor already had a knockout win over Poirier, and he was predicting a finish inside of 60 seconds. He spent much of the build up for this fight talking about how prepared he was and that this was the best version of himself. And he got knocked out in 8 minutes. That’s not an accident. Poirier didn’t finish McGregor because he “had attributes” or because he is a bad stylistic matchup for him. He did it because for the last seven years, Poirier has been steadily improving. Because, in essence, Poirier took to heart the mantra of McGregor’s own team, “win or learn.” In many ways, Saturday night was the culmination of that journey. McGregor is not just the biggest star in the sport, one who lifts others into the realm of wider public perception. For Poirier specifically, he was the archetypal villain, the man who handed Poirier his worst loss and forced him to reconsider his career in a fundamental way. After their first fight, Poirier moved up to lightweight and reinvented himself. He became a very good defensive fighter who boxed instead of brawled. He put together wins. In his own words, he became mentally stronger by learning to “stop caring about the noise”. He steadily kept improving. He won an interim title. He lost in his title shot. He bounced back with one of the best fights of the year. And then, finally, he conquered the man who set him down that path to begin with. It’s the plot of a Disney movie. The only thing missing was the championship, and that shouldn’t be far off. Khabib Nurmagomedov is currently the UFC lightweight champion. But Poirier will not fight him next. No one will. Khabib retired after his win at UFC 254, and since then, he has made his thoughts on returning pretty clear: he’s not going to do it. Now that the prospect of a pay-per-view shattering rematch between Khabib and McGregor is off the table (such that it ever was on the table in the first place), the UFC can move on to crowning a new champion, and Poirier will be one half of that fight. He certainly deserves it. Poirier now has wins over numbers 1, 4, 6, and 9 in the current UFC rankings (and the top-ranked featherweight). That’s more wins over ranked opponents than anyone in the division, other than Khabib. If Poirier goes on to win the undisputed title and finally get “paid in full,” it would be the perfect conclusion to his career. There is literally not another person in MMA who would deserve it more. Poirier is universally respected by the MMA world, and the reason this fight even came about was Poirier and McGregor began publicly negotiating for a fight to benefit Poirier’s charity, The Good Fight Foundation. But even if Poirier loses in his next fight and never does end up capturing the undisputed UFC lightweight champion, that won’t take away from what he accomplished on Saturday night. He vanquished his demons and ascended to a rarified level of stardom. As the saying goes, pressure makes diamonds, and on Saturday night, none shown brighter than Dustin Poirier. UFC 257 Quotes “Khabib reiterates he doesn’t want to fight any more – dude, I’m the champ. I’m not going to fight, some – and like I said, respect to Chandler – a new guy to the UFC who just beat a guy that’s coming off a loss that I just beat for the belt. That’s not exciting to me.” - Dustin Poirier on possibly fighting Michael Chandler for the UFC lightweight title. “Just because he’s never had the opportunity. Gaethje just came out here and got beat, as I did. Not a knock on Gaethje, but he lost. I think Oliviera, probably, or let them fight to see who gets it.” - Dustin Poirier on why he thinks Charles Oliveira deserves the title shot. “If he wants to have his disrespectful comments, come back and let’s go again, my man. I’m here for it. That’s fighting talk. If you’re coming back, come back. You try and do it. That’s that.” - Conor McGregor on Khabib. “I did talk to Khabib. He said to me, ‘Dana, be honest with yourself. I’m so many levels above these guys. I beat these guys.’ I don’t know. I don’t know what he’s—it doesn’t sound very positive, so we’ll see.” - Dana White giving up that Khabib is ever going to fight again. “I’m by no means a perfect man inside that octagon, but I promise you I can beat that man. I promise you I can beat Khabib, so I told him… I didn’t tell him personally, but I told him through the camera lens. You’ve earned every right to be able to sail off into the sunset and continue living your life and making your impact because you’ve done it thus far. But, man, if you ever do come back, there’s a man over here waiting for you from High Ridge, Missouri.” - Michael Chandler on Khabib. Stock Report Stock up Dustin Poirier: For all the reasons listed above. Poirier not only got back his worst loss, he did so on the biggest platform of his career. Poirier is set to receive the Conor McGregor bump in a huge way, and maybe even the lightweight title to go along with it. Michael Chandler: Chandler had doubters coming into the UFC. Many of them. He has substantially fewer now. Chandler ran through Dan Hooker in a way no one else really has an immediately put himself in the lightweight title conversation. Marina Rodriguez: Rodriguez came into this fight having had two subpar performances against grapplers. Well, third time is the charm, I guess. Rodriguez still got taken down, but when she got up she made it count. Julianna Peña: Five years ago, Peña seemed destined for a bantamweight title shot, but then she lost to Valentina Shevchenko and hasn’t been able to build any momentum since. Finishing former title challenger Sara McMann is a good start and puts her right back in the mix at 135. Neutral Joanne Calderwood: Calderwood was supposed to fight for the title last year until an injury to Shevchenko prevented it. Instead, “Jojo” took a fight against Jennifer Maia and lost. This win over Jessica Eye probably doesn’t get her back to a title shot, but it does at least keep her in the conversation. Brad Tavares: Tavares continues to be one of the most consistent fighters in the middleweight division, racking up wins against all but the very best fighters in the world. Another workmanlike performance against Antonio Carlos Junior just affirms his place in the 185 ranks. Stock down Conor McGregor: For all the talk of “win or learn,” McGregor hasn’t been doing a lot of either lately. McGregor has not beaten an elite fighter since the Obama administration, and now the book appears to be out on how to fight him. “Notorious” needs to make some changes. Dan Hooker: Hooker had a big opportunity to make a name for himself on Saturday, and instead, he got folded up like a lawn chair by a UFC debutant. On top of that, Hooker just looked bad in the fight. He seemed overly concerned about Chandler’s wrestling and presented very little in the way of offense before getting clobbered. Sara McMann: McMann is a former Olympic silver medalist and widely-respected MMA fighter, but she has a way of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and she did so again on Saturday. A win might have gotten McMann a title shot. Instead, at 40 years old she can’t have much time left in the cage. Khalil Rountree Jr.: Rountree was one of the biggest favorites on the card and ended up losing a decision to Marcin Prachnio. He’s now 1-3 in his last 4 and in danger of being cut from the UFC. Official Matters Nik Lentz winning Eric Colón’s scorecard is not a great look. But at this point, it’s expected that there will be at least one weird decision happening on any given UFC card. Much more troubling, though, is the continued decline of Herb Dean. For many years, Dean was one of the best referees in the sport, but those years are pretty far removed at this point. Lately, he has been plagued by indecision or poor decisions with his choices in stopping fights (and last weekend stood idly by as Max Holloway may have taken years off the life of Calvin Kattar) and that problem reared its ugly head again on Saturday. In the main card opener, Marina Rodriguez dropped Amanda Ribas with a right hand that had Ribas in all sorts of trouble. Rodriguez followed her to the floor and started rifling punches into Ribas who was holding onto a leg in desperation. Dean hovered by the two, preparing for his moment to jump in. He then appeared to do so, but changed his mind while stepping in. The result was that Rodriguez felt Dean make contact with her and walked away triumphantly, only for Ribas to stand up and for Dean to tell them to keep fighting. Rodriguez obliged and then cracked Ribas with a few more shots before Dean stepped in to waive things off. There are two things here that make this so bad. First, is that Dean basically changed his mind about a stoppage. Had Ribas recovered and then gone on to win the fight, Rodriguez would have a very strong case that Dean negatively impacted the outcome of the fight, which is a core responsibility of the referee - to remain neutral. Secondly, he should have stopped the fight! Ribas was conscious, but clearly done, and instead of protecting her from taking more unnecessary punishment, Dean created a situation where Ribas stood back up and got lit up again. Overall, it was a terrible performance by Dean, and we’re lucky he didn’t do something similar in the main event. Fights to Make Dustin Poirier vs. Charles Oliveira: Poirier deserves to fight for the title, and Oliveira is the man most deserving of the next one. This should be straightforward. Conor McGregor vs. Rafael dos Anjos: The Nate Diaz trilogy is what everyone is thinking and probably what will actually happen next, but the RDA fight makes more sense. McGregor wants to stay active and he wants to remain in the lightweight title hunt, and with RDA once again a going concern at 155, there is plenty of backstory here to build on. Michael Chandler vs. Justin Gaethje: For years this was the dream non-UFC fight and now it can happen in the octagon, with a title shot on the line. A no-brainer. Dan Hooker vs. Tony Ferguson: There will be violence. Joanne Calderwood vs. Lauren Murphy: Both women need another win to put a stamp on their title claims, and with things trending toward Jessica Andrade getting the next crack at Valentina Shechenko, this seems like the only true option. Makhmud Muradov vs. Brad Tavares: No need to overcomplicate this. Muradov is on a 14-fight win streak and deserves a crack at the middleweight elite. That is practically Tavares’ job at this point. Marina Rodriguez vs. Claudia Gadelha: It would be nice to give Rodriguez a break from people who are going to try and take her down but the strawweight division is not very accommodating in that regard. Gadelha would be a huge scalp for Rodriguez and put her on the path to true contention. Julianna Peña vs. Raquel Pennington: It’s kind of surprising these two haven’t fought already. Both women are coming off wins, so now is the time. Movsar Evloev vs. Shane Burgos. Burgos was supposed to fight at UFC 257, but an injury to his opponent forced him off the card. If Evloev is prepared to make a quick turnaround, this would be a good introduction for him to the top-15 of the division.
- Video: Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor show mutual admiration during backstage meeting following UFC 257by MMA Fighting Newswire on January 25, 2021 at 12:00 am
Despite his first knockout loss in the UFC, Conor McGregor was all class in defeat. McGregor returned to action for the first time in a year when he faced Dustin Poirier in a rematch in the main event of Saturday’s UFC 257 event in Abu Dhabi. After a competitive first round, Poirier started to take over in the second, landing a series of hard low leg kicks to McGregor that put him in a compromised position. “The Diamond” would take advantage of his brilliant strategy, dropping and finishing McGregor at just over the halfway point of the round to complete the biggest victory of his career. While it was all class in the octagon and at the post-fight press conference, Poirier and McGregor shared a moment backstage following their second battle. It's what this sport is all about. Still all respect between both Dustin Poirier & Conor McGregor backstage at #UFC257via @BTSportUFCpic.twitter.com/2Fs2A3ZFFp— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) January 24, 2021 Poirier evened up the series at a win apiece on Saturday. McGregor knocked out Poirier in the opening round of their first meeting at UFC 178 in September 2014. A trilogy fight is of interest to both competitors, but it seems that Poirier will move ahead to compete for the lightweight title, which is currently held by the retired Khabib Nurmagomedov. UFC President Dana White hasn’t lost hope that “The Eagle” will return for at least one more fight. It appears as if those chances are fading away by the hour, though an official decision on the title has yet to be announced.
- Nik Lentz announces retirement after UFC 257 loss to Movsar Evloevby Steven Marrocco on January 24, 2021 at 11:00 pm
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLCVeteran UFC lightweight and featherweight Nik Lentz on Sunday announced his retirement from MMA after a loss to Movsar Evloev on the preliminary card of UFC 257. The fight on Saturday at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi served as Lentz’s 24th octagon appearance and his 45th as a professional MMA fighter. His UFC record stands at 14-9-1. In a statement on his official Instagram account, Lentz indicated a severe eye injury he suffered this past year was the primary motivation for hanging up his gloves. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Nik "The Carny" Lentz (@niklentz) “They say don’t make rash decisions after a loss, but this one is not rash or even quick for that matter,” he wrote. “The injury I suffered to my eyes last year was a career ender. In total I lost about 40% of my vision, but I wanted to see what one more hard fought battle was like with the new eyes. It was clear to me last night that it’s impossible for me to compete at this level anymore. I just can’t lock on to a moving target like I should, and with 40% of my vision practically gone... it’s chaotic to the least “My life as fighter in the best organization on the planet ends here. I am not sad or upset by it, the day comes for everyone. I stand with my head high, God as my redeemer and my children and wife as my treasure. Fighting gave those treasures and only ask for a little vision as payment. A trade I would make 100% of the time. “Thank you to my fans, my coaches, my family and everyone who has been a part of this process. Who knows what comes next for The Carny.... but I can tell you what it’s not.” Lentz suffered the eye injury in a fight against Arnold Allen one year ago at UFC Raleigh. In an interview with James Lynch of MMA News, he said that were it not for corrective surgery, he might have had serious medical complications. “After the fight, I couldn’t even get out of the cage,” said Lentz (h/t to Bloody Elbow). “I couldn’t see the steps. I couldn’t see anything. My vision didn’t return to normal for nine months after that until I had surgery. I had to see a series of doctors. No one could really figure out what the problem was because the eye itself had healed, but I still couldn’t see right. I still had terrible double vision and I went to specialists and specialists and specialists and finally, I found one. “I got a pretty risky eye surgery, and they told me that there was a high chance — it was kind of a depressing time because I went to the doctor and I was excited. I finally got a doctor that knew what they were doing [and] I thought everything was well and he pretty much straight-up said, ‘Hey, I might be able to help you, but there’s a greater chance than half that we could do surgery and nothing is going to happen and your eye is just not going to work right’. So, I got the surgery and if it had not fixed and I had not seen double, I would’ve had to remove the eye.” A standout lightweight in his early career, Lentz went 5-1 in the octagon before his first setback. He is one of only three fighters to compete in a non-title trilogy, facing current top contender Charles Oliveira in a series he went 0-2-1. Prior to the event, Lentz held one record in the UFC books for most guillotine choke attempts at 20. Against Evloev, he likely added some distance to his competitors with multiple attempts.
- Floyd Mayweather rants after UFC 257: ‘Con artist’ Conor McGregor shows you racism still existsby Steven Marrocco on January 24, 2021 at 10:00 pm
Esther Lin, ShowtimeFloyd Mayweather didn’t hold his tongue when Conor McGregor used racially insensitive language to promote their 2017 “Money Fight” showdown. And after McGregor fell to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257, the semi-retired boxing legend wasted no time in savaging the former two-division champ and his fans as the world reacted to Poirier’s win on Fight Island. In an Instagram post, Mayweather dubbed his one-time opponent “Con Artist McLoser” and attributed his popularity to a long history of prejudice in the fight game. “The world knows ‘Con Artist McLoser’ can steal everything from me and be loved but I’m hated,” he wrote. “That just lets you all know that racism still exist.” Check out the post below. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Floyd Mayweather (@floydmayweather) “I seen this post and my take on it is that the world knows Con Artist McLoser can steal everything from me and be loved but I’m hated,” Mayweather wrote. “That just lets you all know that racism still exist. Just know, that bum will never be me or be on my level. I’m just built different, my mindset is on another planet, my skills are second to none, I’m a natural born winner and yes I talk a lot of trash, but every time I back it up! This is what they hate. It’s sad that you can be a poor black kid from the ghetto that has dealt with racism your whole life and work extremely hard to put yourself and your family in a better position, and most of the hate come from my own people. Connor cannot even win in his own sport, but talking about coming back to boxing to fight Pacquiao. Nobody wants to see that, it’s like my leftovers eating leftovers.” Prior to inking the deal with Poirier, McGregor and his team eyed a boxing match with Manny Pacquiao, who in 2015 fought Mayweather in the “Fight of the Century”; Mayweather won via decision in the most lucrative pay-per-view event in North American history. The second biggest domestic PPV of all time was McGregor’s crossover fight with Mayweather in 2017, and charges of racism marred a raucous press press tour to promote the event. McGregor defended against charges of racism after telling Mayweather to “dance for me, boy,” calling himself “half-Black from the belly down,” and referring to a scene in Rocky 3 as the one with “dancing monkeys.” McGregor later accused Mayweather of manipulating his words to create a racial conflict where there was none. When they finally met in the ring, Mayweather made McGregor pay with a late surge that led to a TKO in the 10th round of the blockbuster event. Since then, Mayweather has flirted with a rematch, and McGregor has claimed the boxing legend agreed to a fight in the cage. Nothing has materialized, however, and Mayweather’s flirtations with the UFC have been limited to discussions with promotion president Dana White on an undisclosed project. McGregor returned to the cage one year ago at UFC 246 and stopped Donald Cerrone in the start of a comeback “season.” It took him one year, however, to get another fight, a rematch with Poirier that quickly went south in the second after a strong opening frame. Mayweather, meanwhile, recently announced a boxing match with YouTube star Logan Paul for Feb. 20, though recent reports say the event will be postponed.
- Nate Diaz reacts to Conor McGregor’s KO loss at UFC 257, training to ‘whoop’ Dustin Poirier nextby MMA Fighting Newswire on January 24, 2021 at 9:00 pm
Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz headline UFC 196 on Saturday night in Las Vegas. | Esther Lin, MMA FightingAs expected, Nate Diaz didn’t stay silent for long in regards to how Saturday’s lightweight headliner went down in Abu Dhabi. In the main event of UFC 257, Dustin Poirier avenged his UFC 178 knockout loss to Conor McGregor with a spectacular finish of his own to cap off the promotion’s third trip to Fight Island in 2021. “The Diamond” stopped McGregor in the second round to pick up the biggest win of his career and likely set himself up for a lightweight championship opportunity. Diaz, who became the first to finish McGregor in the UFC at UFC 196, took to Twitter on Sunday to give his quick reaction to McGregor’s first KO loss in the promotion. These guys all get finished all the time ♂️— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) January 24, 2021 The Stockton native hasn’t competed since UFC 244, when he fought Jorge Masvidal for the “BMF” belt and lost via doctor’s stoppage in the main event. Diaz didn’t have much to say throughout the buildup to the fight, but he did chime in after the very respectful face-off between the main event participants on Friday. SMH— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) January 22, 2021 Diaz has always been attached to McGregor as one half of one of the sport’s most important rivalries. In their first of two meetings, Diaz replaced an injured Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of UFC 196 and submitted the former dual champion in the second round to pick up his biggest career win. McGregor bounced back five months later at UFC 202 and earned a very close split decision in the rematch. While a trilogy fight with McGregor seems like one of the more intriguing options after the second loss in three fights for “The Notorious,” Poirier also expressed interest in fighting Diaz at Saturday night’s post-fight press conference. And now, it appears the interest is mutual. Shortly after his reaction to Poirier’s win, Diaz, who was once scheduled to face the Louisianan at UFC 230, issued a challenge in return. I’m training to whoop ur ass next. Be about it don’t talk about it pic.twitter.com/M7FKHvIbFu— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) January 24, 2021
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