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.

John Rallo Owner / Operator



  • Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler full fight video
    by MMA Fighting Newswire on September 25, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    The Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler full fight video is still a banger even 17 years later. The two welterweight fan favorites were only in the beginning stages of their careers when they first crossed paths in April 2004 at UFC 47. Diaz had just kicked off his octagon career with a third-round submission of Jeremy Jackson following a run as the inaugural WEC welterweight champion. Likewise, Lawler was just three years into his own career but had already begun to establish himself as a fearsome prospect after notching four wins in his first five UFC appearances. So when the two met at UFC 47, it’s no surprise that chaos ensued. Watch a replay of Diaz and Lawler’s classic first fight above ahead of their long-awaited UFC 266 rematch, which is set to be a five-round, non-title bout. UFC 266 takes place Saturday, Sept. 25 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Two title fights headline the card: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega and Valentina Shevchenko vs. Lauren Murphy.

  • Aljamain Sterling out of UFC 267 title fight vs. Petr Yan
    by Mike Heck on September 25, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLCThe UFC’s return to Abu Dhabi will take place without one of its world champions. Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed to MMA Fighting that bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling is out of his rematch with Petr Yan at UFC 267 due to an injury. The event is scheduled to take place Oct. 30 at the Etihad Arena. Per sources, Sterling has lingering neck issues following surgery to repair a long-standing injury suffered back in his college wrestling days. As of now, there isn’t a replacement lined up to face Yan, though the hope is that an interim title fight will take place in the co-main event. Sterling captured the title from Yan via disqualification due to an illegal knee in the fourth round at March’s UFC 258 event. “Funk Master” has wins in his last six bouts, which includes a first-round submission win over Cory Sandhagen at UFC 250 to become the No. 1 contender, a second-round submission win over Cody Stamann at UFC 228, along with decision wins over Pedro Munhoz, Jimmie Rivera and Brett Johns. Yan captured UFC gold for the first time when he stopped Jose Aldo in the fifth-round at UFC 251 this past July. The DQ loss to Sterling in his first title defense snapped a 10-fight win streak. UFC 267 is headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira.

  • Jessica Andrade predicts KO win over Cynthia Calvillo, ‘easier’ path to another UFC title shot at flyweight
    by Guilherme Cruz on September 25, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    Jessica Andrade wants another crack at UFC flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko. | Esther Lin, MMA FightingFormer UFC strawweight champion Jessica Andrade feels “strong, fast, and happy” as a flyweight — and not too far off from another shot at the UFC championship despite her recent stoppage defeat to Valentina Shevchenko. Andrade is set to meet Cynthia Calvillo on the pay-per-view card of UFC 266 this Saturday in Las Vegas and believes that staying at 125 pounds will mean a quicker road to gold. Shevchenko defends her belt in UFC 266’s co-main event against Lauren Murphy. “Beating Cynthia Calvillo and really doing the right fights, I believe the path will be shorter to fight for the belt,” Andrade told MMA Fighting. “Fighting a top-3 [opponent] or top-4 after beating Cynthia, someone that’s about to fight for the belt as well, I believe the UFC will give me a rematch with Valentina.” Andrade has fought twice as a flyweight, first stopping Katlyn Chookagian inside one round before losing to Shevchenko. “Bate Estaca” started her UFC career as a bantamweight, but found her most success in the strawweight division, where she won the UFC title in violent fashion with a second-round knockout over Rose Namajunas. “The good thing about this division is that it has good names but it’s not like 115,” Andrade said, “where you have great names that have you like, ‘My God, I’ll have to go past this one, and then that one, and then that one, to maybe fight for the belt.’ I think the opportunity to fight more times for the belt at 125 is easier.” Gilliard Parana, Andrade’s longtime coach at PRVT, believes the “ideal world” for the Brazilian would be to compete at 115 pounds, but Andrade says being a flyweight means “less suffering” with her weight cut, especially now that she’s living full-time in Las Vegas and working with the UFC Performance Institute. “I’ve been asking for [fights at strawweight] but I think they’re enjoying seeing me at 125,” she said. “So far I haven’t gotten the possibility of fighting at 115 again, so I’ll just stay at 125. Who knows, maybe they’ll offer me something at 135 along the way. I’m in Vegas now so everything is easier.” Andrade’s championship plans depend on her performance against Calvillo, who enters UFC 266 off of a decision defeat to Chookagian in November 2020. Calvillo went 5-1-1 in the strawweight class before moving up to flyweight and going 1-1 against Jessica Eye and Chookagian. Calvillo has never been finished in an MMA bout before, but “Bate Estaca” plans to change that when they meet inside the T-Mobile Arena. “Based on my training here, I believe I’ll be able to win by knockout,” Andrade said. “I hope it’s in the first round, but either way I really want to get a knockout. I see this fight ending by knockout or something like that.”

  • Alexander Volkanovski doesn’t think A.J. McKee’s resume stacks up: ‘It’s not as good as mine’
    by Alexander K. Lee on September 25, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    Esther Lin, MMA FightingUntil they end up in the same promotion or the UFC and Bellator decide to cross-promote, a champion vs. champion clash between Alexander Volkanovski and A.J. McKee remains a pipe dream. That hasn’t stopped fans and media from speculating about the matchup and with the unbeaten McKee’s recent triumph over Patricio Pitbull, the Bellator champion has placed himself squarely in the discussion for the best featherweight in MMA. In MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings, McKee sits in the No. 3 spot behind only Volkanovski at No. 1 and former UFC champion Max Holloway at No. 2. Volkanovski’s top ranking is up for grabs this Saturday when he defends the UFC featherweight title against Brian Ortega in the main event of UFC 266 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It will be Volkanovski’s second defense after winning a close decision against Holloway in their rematch at UFC 251. On The MMA Hour on Monday, Volkanovski was asked for his thoughts on McKee’s rise and the suggestion that the Bellator star could immediately be slotted into a title shot should he make the jump to the UFC. “Yeah man, look, you’re always going to get people calling your name,” Volkanovski said. “I’ve got people in my division in the UFC calling names, they’re gonna get them from other promotions and that’s gonna happen. But like you said, is that fight likely to happen? No. But let’s be real as well, even if the kid is good, I guarantee you’re praising him and whatnot, but let’s be realistic when we’re talking about look at my rise to the title and look at his rise to his title. It’s just totally different. You’ve got a bunch of absolute killers. He could be a killer himself, but he hasn’t had the competition that we’ve had. That’s obvious, but again, is he a great fighter? Yeah, he probably is. Will he beat me? No. “But I mean at the end of the day, why should someone from a different promotion ever get a chance to fight [for the title] when we’ve got to go through a bunch of killers to get to that title like I did. GOATs of the division, some of the best featherweights we’ve ever seen, these are the guys I’ve had to fight to get a shot at that title and these guys can just fight in a different promotion. Again, not trying to show disrespect, but look at my resume and then look at his resume. I’ll be honest, I haven’t checked his resume, but I guarantee that it’s not as good as mine.” Volkanovski has won all nine of his UFC fights since joining the promotion in 2016 and his past five victories have come against the division’s stars and stalwarts. He defeated Darren Elkins—who currently has 24 UFC appearances on his resume—by unanimous decision in July 2018, then rattled off victories over two-time UFC title challenger Chad Mendes, two-time UFC champion Jose Aldo, before knocking off Holloway by unanimous decision in a title fight and then successfully defending it against Holloway. McKee made his Bellator debut in April 2015 and has called the promotion his home for all 18 of his pro bouts. In his past five bouts he defeated Pitbull, former bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell, veterans Derek Campos and Georgi Karkhanyan, and two-time Bellator champion Pat Curran. The ease with which the 26-year-old McKee has added to his hype, but Volkanovski would like to see McKee earn his way to a UFC title shot in the future. “There’s levels to this,” Volkanovski said. “Again, I don’t even know the guy, so I’m not gonna sit there and throw shade on him but I don’t know too much about him. I know he’s called me out, but let’s be real, I’ve worked very hard to get a shot at this. For someone to just get a shot just purely from winning in a different organization… When I was winning titles outside of the UFC, I wish I could just fight the champion in the UFC too. So that’s how I look at it.” With both fighters currently under contract with their respective promotions, a clash of champions is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Volkanovski has a full plate with Ortega coming up this weekend and a possible trilogy bout with Holloway looming, so while he understands the McKee chatter, at the moment he sees it as just that. “Of course these things are gonna get brung up,” Volkanovski said. “I don’t mind, bring my name into it, all good, whatever. But is it gonna happen? Probably not.”

  • Hot Tweets: Jon Jones’ arrest, Nick Diaz’s return, and the rest of UFC 266
    by Jed Meshew on September 25, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Esther Lin, MMA FightingIt is once again a UFC weekend, but unlike some of their recent offerings, UFC 266 is an exceptional card on paper. We’ve got two title fights, the return of Nick Diaz and all the ensuing craziness that comes with that, and a host of other great fights taking place just a few short hours from now. Unfortunately, all of that was overshadowed by Jon Jones’ latest legal problem that arose yesterday. So let’s address the 255-pound elephant in the room and then move on to happier subjects. Jon Jones Is Jon Jones getting arrested literal hours after stating that he "wants to do more legally controversial outbursts" the most Jon Jones thing ever?— Scot McCreight (@Scot_McCreight_) September 24, 2021 It really is. In case you somehow got this far and still hadn’t heard about it, on Friday, Jon Jones was arrested and charged with battery domestic violence. This came less than 24 hours after the UFC Hall of Fame ceremony where Jones’ fight with Alexander Gustafsson was inducted into the Fight Wing, and on the red carpet, Jones told reporters he would be fighting next year and he would “try to do more legally controversial sh*t” to drum up interest in his fights. Needless to say, the joke did not age well. First and foremost, let’s acknowledge that at this point, Jones hasn’t been convicted of anything. That being said, the crime Jones is accused of, and his previous repeated legal issues, are cause for serious concern. This is the fourth time Jones has been arrested while under UFC contract, each for serious offenses. Thus far Jones has managed to avoid doing any actual jail time but you can only play with fire for so long. Should the charges on this one prove to have merit, Jones will almost certainly do a real stint in prison. Again, it’s entirely possible that Jones is ultimately exonerated of these charges. I hope that’s the case. But if he is convicted of the charges, I expect the UFC will terminate his contract with them. While they can hand-wave Greg Hardy’s past away (still repugnant), it will be much tougher for them to continue to employ a convicted domestic abuser. But the sad fact is, the already should have done something. 10,000 people die every year from alcohol-related driving incidents. If Jones were less lucky, he could have become a terrible statistic. More details are sure to emerge about the incident in the coming days, and at some point, Jones or a representative will make a statement. Until then, there’s really one thing that continues to dominate my thoughts about Jones: There’s an old saying that if you wake up and run into an a**hole, well, you met an a**hole. But if you wake up and run into a**holes all day, you’re the a**hole. Jon Jones keeps running into a**holes, as it were, and at some point, he and the UFC are going to need to reckon with why that is, in a substantive way. Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega Do u think Volkanovski will reign as Featherweight Champion for a very long time if he beats Ortega this Saturday ?— HONG KONG (@AbdullahShwihdi) September 22, 2021 Yes. I don’t see any featherweight in the world who can, on the balance, beat Volkanovski. I’m extremely confident that Volkanovski is going to win tonight for many reasons, but the main one is this: Volkanovski may actually be the best fighter in the world right now (though Kamaru Usman, Francis Ngannou, and Israel Adesanya are justifiably ranked above him in the pound-for-pound rankings) and Brian Ortega is not very good. That statement right there lost a lot of you, and I understand. “It doesn’t make sense! Ortega is the fourth-ranked featherweight in the world!” But you know what else doesn’t make sense? Ortega’s ability to win fights. Aside from his last bout against the Korean Zombie and a quick finish over Frankie Edgar, Ortega has gotten his ass kicked in every single fight he’s been in before staging a miraculous comeback finish! It’s astonishing and it flies in the face of traditional understandings of how to be successful in the fight game. He’s like a smaller, substantially less athletic Yoel Romero. Volkanovski is the exact opposite. Volkanovski never has One Violent Outburst and instead slowly exerts his will on opponents over the course of 25 minutes. Volkanovski has some of the best Fight I.Q. in the game and a deep well of skills that allow him to adjust to anything thrown at him. I often compare Volkanovski to a casino: he has small edges everywhere and so, on a long enough timeline, the house always wins. Max Holloway found that out first hand. For their rematch, Holloway came in with an entirely different game plan: he adjusted his stance, mitigated Volkanovski’s leg kicks, and was active in controlling the range. And it worked! Volkanovski had trouble with the fight-to-fight adjustments Max made . . . for about two rounds. However, after the second, Volkanovski realized what was happening and that he was losing and countered Max’s adjustments. Whether you think Max did enough early to win, unquestionably Volkanovski won the back half of the fight and would have won a rounds 6 and 7 were those a thing. Because the house always wins if you play their game. But that’s why Ortega is a such a fascinating opponent for Volkanovski. The way to beat the house is betting big on the right hand and flipping the odds on their heads and Ortega can do that. The man can’t win rounds against a faded Cub Swanson, he’s damn sure not going to do it against the premier round-winner in the sport. But he can pull a guillotine out of his ass and sell out to finish it. If Volkanovski gets careless, Ortega is a threat. That being said, I heavily favor Volkanovski because he doesn’t get careless. That’s his whole thing. His defense is pristine and his approach to the game is exact. He’s not going to go scrambling with Ortega. He’s going to slowly press his game onto Ortega and erode the challenger’s best laid plans, winning comfortably on the scorecards. Pressure on the main event Is Ortega under more pressure than Volk? How many guys get more than 2 title shots in the same weight class?— Dee J (@DtosiaC) September 25, 2021 Both men are under a lot of pressure because this is a world title fight. Featherweight is one of the best divisions in MMA and so any time you’re fighting for a title, whether it’s to retain it or win it, it means something. On the other side of that coin, I also don’t know that there is much specific pressure on either man here. Volkanovski is already the champion. If his career ended tomorrow, sure it might not be all he wanted but he forever gets to call himself champ. You can’t take that one away. And for Ortega, yes the list of people who have gotten three title shots in the UFC is pretty low, but Ortega actually fits the profile of the people who do get those sorts of opportunities: he’s young, he’s well-known to fans, and the UFC loves him. If we’re being honest, Ortega doesn’t deserve a title shot right now. He has one win over a currently ranked featherweight, his last one against Korean Zombie, and he goes absolutely demolished in his fight before that one. That’s not a resume that demands a title shot but because the UFC likes him and there isn’t anyone else, here we are. After Ortega loses tonight, he’ll still have plenty more opportunities to work himself back into contention. Valentina Shevchenko vs. Lauren Murphy After Valentina mauls Murphy what is left for her? She is so ahead of everyone at 125 that I am surprised she finds motivation to keep going. Besides the nunes fight what else is out there for her?— Daniel Pompilio (@elpompilio) September 24, 2021 What’s left? Defending her title, in perpetuity. I understand that with fans there is an urge to see something compelling and in the most direct way, Valentina Shevchenko fights are not compelling. Her wins are an inevitability and about half the time they aren’t even fun to watch. But just because Shevchenko can be a bit boring from time to time and her fights are entirely uncompetitive, doesn’t take away from exactly what she is accomplishing. Tonight, Shevchenko will tie the record for most title defenses in a single women’s division with six. The only fighters in UFC history who will have more title defenses than her will be Amanda Nunes, Jose Aldo, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Demetrious Johnson, and Georges St-Pierre. That is basically the list of GOAT contenders. That alone is worth celebrating. The most difficult thing to do in MMA is to defend a title year after year. Each title defense gets exponentially harder. You have the target on your back. You’re always getting the absolute best of every opponent you face because this is their moment. And for you, it’s just another day in the office. And you’re not getting the best that some random can from a midwestern smoker has to offer, you’re getting the A game from one of the top fighters in the world. Time after time after time. And the more of them you have, the more you win and win and win, the more fans stop appreciating that what you are doing is ridiculous and that more people have walked on the moon than have done what you’re doing. It has to be exhausting. And yet, Shevchenko seems to be entirely in love with the process of it. She’s open about wanting to fight until she’s 50 and continue defending her belt, and the woman may be crazy enough to pull it off. I certainly wouldn’t bet against her, and I will happily tune in every time she fights because what she’s doing only happens a few times a generation. Lauren Murphy is an excellent fighter and a deserving challenger and she’s going to get demolished in a few hours time because Valentina Shevchenko is one of the best, most dominant fighters we have ever seen, full stop. Enjoy her while you can. Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler It’s not the interview that has me feeling that NickDiaz mayn’t be ready to fight (though if he’s truly only doing this for money, and he’s actually miserable that’s not good); it’s the ‘weight’ + not looking great in shadow-boxing footage. Ya, just awkward promo stuff, but…— Vik Sahay (@Vik__Sahay) September 23, 2021 …but we’ve seen fighters look like that, and dismiss it as ‘promo’ or ‘rehearsal’, as t’were, and it turn bad in the octagon/ring. What’re your feelings on all this?— Vik Sahay (@Vik__Sahay) September 23, 2021 I feel extremely not great about it. Heading into this week, I was ready to pick Nick Diaz in this fight, partly because I legitimately think the style matchup favors him (assuming he’s even remotely what he used to be) and partly because it’s more fun to live in a world where Nick Diaz takes six years off and comes back still near the top of the game. But basically every Diaz interaction this week has not only changed my mind about who will win but it’s also made me wish this wasn’t happening. Nick has always been open about not really enjoying fighting so that is nothing new, but something feels different about him now. Previously when he would talk about his complicated relationship with MMA, you knew he was being brutally honest, but there was also a sense that part of him did enjoy it, and saw the value. Now, I’m not sure why Nick decided to come back but, to me, it’s feels distinctly like his heart isn’t in it, and I don’t agree with Dana White on much but I do agree with him that if you don’t really want to be fighting, you super should not be fighting. Along those lines, the weight fiasco is easily the most concerning part of all this. Last year, Diaz’s management made a big deal of the fact that Diaz was doing a trial weight-cut since it had been so long since he last fought and he reportedly made it down to the 175 range. Now on the week of the fight he wants it at 185 suddenly? The most obvious reason is that he knew he wasn’t going to make weight, which then raises questions of how much he trained for this fight. Add in that he did not look good on the scale, and his pre-fight promo of him shadow-boxing was among the worst we’ve ever seen and a lot of signs are pointing towards a very disappointing outcome here. I hope I’m wrong and that all of this is just Nick Diaz working his way back through the circus and finding his footing again, but I’m getting some distinct B.J. Penn vs. Frankie Edgar III vibes at this point. That’s the fight where Penn looked like he was going to cry during the walkout and then stood awkwardly straight-up before getting obliterated in short order. If that’s the case for Nick tonight, well, Robbie Lawler hits a hell of a lot harder than Frankie Edgar does and I’d rather not see Nick take an unnecessary beating. Legacy Understanding that ranking fighters as all-time greats is both silly and inescapable, who has the better overall career between Diaz and Lawler? And can the outcome of their upcoming fight change that?— Eric Stinton (@TombstoneStint) September 23, 2021 Lawler by a comfortable margin. Like his brother, Nick Diaz exists outside the normal constructs of MMA stardom and so it’s hard to view his career through the lens of “better”. In a traditional sense, Nick’s career was worse than many other fighters’, however, Nick is also more beloved than almost anyone else in the history of the sport. That’s why, even though he hasn’t won a fight in nearly a decade, he’s still the biggest thing happening this weekend on a fight card with two title fights. That stardom, the ability to make people love you, could in many instances sway arguments for his career being “better” than other obviously more accomplished fighters. But the problem here is that Lawler is also a fan favorite. Not to the degree that Diaz is but still, everyone loves Robbie Lawler, and for good reason. So given that both Lawler and Diaz are pivotal, beloved characters in the history of MMA, a determination of “better” ultimately does come down largely to resume and in that, Lawler far surpasses anything Diaz can offer. Diaz won the WEC and Strikeforce titles; Lawler won the UFC belt (and EliteXC, and Icon). Diaz had memorable fights with Takanori Gomi, Evangelista Cyborg, and B.J. Penn; Lawler had the Fight of the Year in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Diaz is a cult figure, Lawler was the Fighter of the Year in 2014. There’s really no comparison. If you offered every fighter the option of whose career they’d choose, 10 out of 10 are going to take Robbie Lawler, and a win tonight for Diaz (seemingly very unlikely) won’t change that. PPVs How many ppv's for UFC 266? Will it exceed 650,000 buys?— Scot McCreight (@Scot_McCreight_) September 24, 2021 The last time Nick Diaz fought, he faced Anderson Silva and they sold 650,000 PPVs. That is a lot, given the circumstances, and I’d be pretty surprised if this card did that well, even with two title fights on top of Nick’s return. I’m betting right around the cool half a million mark. Thanks for reading this week, and thank you for everyone who sent in Tweets! Do you have any burning questions about things at least tacitly related to combat sports? Then you’re in luck, because you can send your Hot Tweets to me, @JedKMeshew and I will answer them! Doesn’t matter if they’re topical or insane. Get weird with it. Let’s have fun.


Countdown to Shogun Fights XXIV









Fight night returns to Baltimore on 04/11/20 with Shogun Fights XXIV.
You DON’T want to miss this night of EXTREME GROUND & POUND ACTION!
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