Road FC 44 preview: $1 million lightweight tournament quarterfinals

Here are the remaining 8 lightweights that are vying for life-changing money at Road FC 44. Last July, Road FC kicked off their 16-man lightweight tournament which had a $1 million prize for the eventual winner. Although the line up may not …

Here are the remaining 8 lightweights that are vying for life-changing money at Road FC 44.

Last July, Road FC kicked off their 16-man lightweight tournament which had a $1 million prize for the eventual winner. Although the line up may not have household names in the US, it certainly has a deep talent pool filled with UFC vets and champions from various organizations in the world.

A couple of UFC vets and early tournament favorites were defeated on the first cut, leaving an eight-man field that features Ronys Torres, Shamil Zavurov and Mansour Barnaoui among others.

Related: Bloody Elbow’s photos from the opening round of Road FC’s $1M tourney

The South Korea-based promotion returns to China for Road FC 44 on Saturday night, and it is where they will host the quarterfinal bouts.

To get you familiar on these these competitors vying for a million dollars, here are the four tournament bouts, along with a brief background on each of them.



Anton Tabuena

Ronys Torres (35-5)

Accolades: Shooto Brazil champion, MMA Champions League champion

Rank: #1 LW competing in Brazil (Tapology), #1 LW competing in Korea (Tapology)

Torres had a very short UFC stint, dropping decisions to Jacob Volkmann and Melvin Guillard way back in Feb and March of 2010. He was with the UFC as a 23-year-old, and has now won 10 straight and 21 out of 23 bouts since. He’s won multiple titles since then, and has grown to be one of the biggest sports stars from the Amazonas in Brazil, along with Jose Aldo. It’s mind boggling how he was never asked back to the UFC, but their loss is Road FC’s gain, as the Nova Uniao product is now in his prime and looking better than ever.

Torres won his tournament opening round bout with an early kimura, further establishing him as one of the few favorites to win the million.

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Anton Tabuena

Tom Santos (7-4)

Accolades: Dragon Fight champion

Santos was just a late replacement to fight Nam Yui Chul in his return fight from the UFC. The Brazilian surprised everyone by pulling off an upset and knocking out the former Road FC lightweight champion. He rematched the UFC veteran in the opening round of this tournament last July. The ending was the same, but it was more brutal and ended much earlier. Santos swiftly knocked out Nam in just 7 seconds to advance to the quarterfinals.



Anton Tabuena

Shamil Zavurov (33-5-1)

Accolades: M-1 WW champion, Octagon FS WW champion

Rank: #2 LW competing in Russia (Tapology), #2 LW competing in Korea (Tapology)

Zavurov is an Akhmat MMA product and has been a longtime training partner of Khabib Nurmagomedov for years. He campaigns in two divisions and is a former M-1 welterweight champ, who is among the most famous and highly regarded fighters from the deep talent pool in Dagestan. In the opening round, he outclassed UFC veteran Leo Kuntz on the ground, en route to a one-sided decision.

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Anton Tabuena

Khuukhenkhuu Amartuvshin (6-3)

Rank: #3 LW from Mongolia (Fight Matrix)

Amartuvshin has fought in major MMA promotions in China, Hong Kong and Mongolia before ending up in Road FC where he beat BJJ star Rodrigo Caporal. He’s 3-0 with the promotion and knocked out former title contender Shinji Sasaki in a little over a minute to advance to this round. Can he upset one of the tournament favorites?


Mansour Barnaoui, Road FC
Anton Tabuena

Mansour Barnaoui (15-4)

Accolades: BAMMA champion, M-1 champion

Rank: #1 LW from France (Fight Matrix), #3 LW competing in Eastern Europe (Tapology), #3 LW competing in Korea (Tapology)

Recently turning just 25-years-old, Mansour has already established himself as one of the best talent from Europe by winning titles in BAMMA and M-1. A Tristar Gym product and one of the main training partners of Georges St-Pierre, this highly regarded prospect submitted one of the top lightweights from Korea to advance to the quarterfinals

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Nandin-Erdene Munguntsooj, Road FC
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Nandin-Erdene Munguntsooj (7-2)

Accolades: Mongolian kickboxing champion

Rank: #2 LW from Mongolia (Fight Matrix)

Munguntsooj is a decorated kickboxer and boxer from Mongolia, who was picked up by Road FC in 2014. All of his bouts have been with the promotion, where he is in a five-fight winning streak that includes some spectacular upset knockouts over Bruno Miranda and tournament favorite Toninho Furia. No one will underestimate the Mongolian after his last two bouts, but against yet another top flight competitor in Mansour, can he make it three big upsets in a row?



Anton Tabuena

Shimoishi Kota (20-4)

Rank: #5 LW competing in Japan (Tapology), #5 LW from Japan (Fight Matrix)

Kota is a product of DEEP, Pancrase and Shooto, and has headlined quite a few of those events from Japan. He won a four-man one-night tournament in DEEP to qualify for the tournament, and submitted Park Dae-Sung to advance to the quarterfinals.

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Road FC
Anton Tabuena

Baoyincang (11-3)

Accolades: Chinese National Sanda champion

Rank: #2 LW from China (Fight Matrix), #7 WW competing in China (Tapology)

Baoyincang is a Mongolian fighter, who is from the famed Xi’an Sports University in China. After success in the Sanda scene, he moved to MMA. With the language barrier (and just not caring about western sites) overall MMA records from China are almost never complete, but online databases have him at 11-3. He TKO’d former URCC champion Red Romero in the opening round.


Road FC 44 happens on Saturday, with the card streaming live and free starting at 5 a.m. ET for the prelims. The event will be headlined by the popular heavyweight and “Kung Fu Panda of China” in Aorigele taking on former PRIDE star Kazuyuki Fujita.

Roach ‘very happy’ with Georges St-Pierre’s boxing, but prefers him back at a lower weight

Freddie Roach says GSP would perform better at a lower weight class. Legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach cornered a UFC event for the first time this past weekend. His pupil in Georges St-Pierre took home the middleweight belt, hurting Mich…

Freddie Roach says GSP would perform better at a lower weight class.

Legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach cornered a UFC event for the first time this past weekend. His pupil in Georges St-Pierre took home the middleweight belt, hurting Michael Bisping twice on the feet before eventually choking him out.

Roach says he enjoyed the new experience, and was also glad with what he saw from GSP’s hands on that bout.

“I was a little concerned (that he was fatiguing). It was obviously a fast-paced fight, and he did box very well in the first round and I was very happy with it. Bisping is a very tough opponent, he came back in the second round,” Roach said on The MMA Hour.

“He started countering our right hand with his right hand, so that’s where I saw the left hook would work because he is a little bit lazy bringing it back.”

As for St-Pierre seemingly slowing down a little in the second round, Roach doesn’t think it was the ring rust, and attributed it to him still not being used to his much bigger frame at middleweight.

“He was maybe getting a little bit tired,” he said. “I think moving up a weight division, I am not sure that’s his best weight division or if we will fight there again, but we will see where it goes.”

“I think it was the weight that got to him. He’s not used to carrying that much weight and he fatigued a little quicker than usual. Again, we will work it all out and get together with the whole team and discuss what the next best move is for Georges.”

There are certainly a lot of factors to what St-Pierre’s next bout is going to be, especially from a promotional standpoint, as White is pushing interim champ Robert Whittaker to be next in line.

If Roach was to be asked though, he prefers it if St-Pierre drops back down in weight as that’s where he would perform the best.

“I won’t make that decision myself. I will need help with the other guys. I need their input as well, but Georges’ input is the most important,” he said. “I think I would like him to go to a lower weight division — back to the weight that he’s more comfortable in and more used to.

“But the thing is, that might not be available at this point. We have to make that out with the promoter. With the UFC, usually with what they say, goes.”

Dana White explains why 2017 is the ‘best year by a long shot’ in the UFC’s history

Dana White doubles down on his statements saying that 2017 was by far the best year ever for the UFC. Earlier in the week, Dana White claimed that 2017 “will be the biggest year” in UFC history. This was a bit of a head-scratcher for many, b…

Dana White doubles down on his statements saying that 2017 was by far the best year ever for the UFC.

Earlier in the week, Dana White claimed that 2017 “will be the biggest year” in UFC history. This was a bit of a head-scratcher for many, because if you look at estimates of the UFC’s pay-per-view sales, the numbers from 2017, are lower compared to both 2016 and 2015.

The UFC President still doubled down on these statements, saying that people just don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes.

“Whose indications are that? People who don’t know what the f—k they’re talking about,” White said following UFC 217, which he claims did well over a million pay-per-view buys. “You don’t know what’s going on in our business. How do you speculate that we’re having a down year?”

“This is a best year by a long shot in the company’s history. Boom!” White proclaimed. “Ronda didn’t fight. Conor really didn’t fight in MMA. Jon Jones fought once. Anderson Silva, Chuck Liddell, the list goes on and on. The business is kicking ass. Best year ever, by a long shot.”

White did explain that 2017 being the company’s best year was not just about pay-per-view buys. He also considers the revenue they made from other sources, including the massive Mayweather vs McGregor bout.

“It’s counting all the money that we made in the last 12 months,” he said.

“You can’t take (Mayweather vs McGregor) out. It did happen. If it didn’t happen, Conor would’ve fought twice this year,” he said. “You can’t take it out. Who cares if it’s a boxing match? It’s revenue that the company made, that we spent 4 months of our resources promoting.”


There’s a few things to unpack and explain with these statements:

  • White tries to say that anyone who says they’re having a down year are outright wrong. He again tries to antagonize the media and said that UFC officials are the only ones who should be believed because no one knows about their business but them.

I guess you can say this is both true and also somewhat false.

  • Outside and independent estimates of the UFC’s PPV sales are obviously not going to be down to the exact number, but they paint a pretty good picture on how these events are generally doing. UFC’s 2017 PPV sales for their own shows are indeed lower if you compare it to the same metrics from previous years, so it is fair to say in that specific area, they are having a down year.
  • That being said, the UFC of course, doesn’t just rely on revenue from pay-per-views. As White sort of implied, they can have a relatively “down” year from PPV buys, but still have very impressive increases in revenue. This was the case in 2014, which had “poor” PPV sales, but reportedly had a huge increase in revenue and diversification in its revenue sources.

As for what these sources are, even from back in 2012 the UFC reportedly only relied on pay-per-view buys to make up for around 30% of their revenue. They also have massive contractual deals (like FOX), sponsorships, along with merchandising, licensing, content distribution agreements, and others that make up a huge chunk of that.

  • As White alluded to, the UFC got a lot of money from the massive Mayweather vs McGregor event, even if they conceivably had a smaller slice of the pie than they’re normally used to. The specifics of their deal weren’t made public, but think of it this way: They basically loaned McGregor for boat load of cash, while Mayweather Promotions and Showtime did the heavy lifting. It’s money without having to spend what they normally do for salaries and all the other expenses of putting on and promoting big UFC events on their own.
  • UFC also has a lot of sponsorships, and they signed new lucrative deals this year, such as Modelo and BodyArmor to add to all that. These deals also opened them up for better sponsorship opportunities internationally, which was different from the globally exclusive deals they had signed with Budweiser before.

Basically, much like what I explained during the time Bob Arum slammed Dana White for being “desperate” and having a “failing business”, the company may have had lower UFC-only PPV sales in 2017, but they are still very profitable overall and they really have nothing to worry about.

Their PPV buyrate in the future should improve as well. St-Pierre by all accounts, is still a huge and reliable draw, and Conor McGregor is also returning with goals fighting a couple of times to try and top the 2018 Forbes list.

UFC 217 video: Michael Bisping calls Georges St-Pierre a ‘drug cheat’ after staredown

Watch the UFC 217 staredown between Georges St-Pierre and Michael Bisping. During the UFC 217 ceremonial weigh-ins, headliners Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre faced off. The middleweight champion was still talking smack and grabbing on…

Watch the UFC 217 staredown between Georges St-Pierre and Michael Bisping.

During the UFC 217 ceremonial weigh-ins, headliners Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre faced off. The middleweight champion was still talking smack and grabbing on his opponent’s arms, while GSP mostly just laughed everything off.

When Bisping took the mic, he hurled off more profanities to the fans, and yet another PED accusation at his opponent.

“Georges is a f—ng pussy, that’s my thoughts,” Bisping told Joe Rogan. “Oh you guys booing, unlucky motherf—kers because tomorrow night, that f—ng pussy is going down.”

“4 years, he steps away. He’s a drug cheat. He’s a pussy, and tomorrow he’s going to be a loser. Boo me? F—k you!”

It’s these types of profanity-filled rants that led St-Pierre to call him a “very angry person” who gets in confrontations with numerous people — including fellow UFC 217 fighter Jorge Masvidal (twice).

Watch the clip of the staredown and the subsequent interviews with both headliners below.

UFC 217: Cody Garbrandt releases infamous sparring video with ‘KO’ of TJ Dillashaw

Watch the sparring clip that Garbrandt and Dillashaw have argued about for several months. To say that the UFC 217 title bout between former teammates Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw is personal, is a bit of an understatement. There were a…

Watch the sparring clip that Garbrandt and Dillashaw have argued about for several months.

To say that the UFC 217 title bout between former teammates Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw is personal, is a bit of an understatement. There were a lot of talk about Dillashaw going too hard on sparring (which he admitted), to him throwing cheap shots and even taking PEDs (which he vehemently denied), all of which was part of a pretty ugly and very public falling out with Team Alpha Male.

One of the things the former training partners have discussed was their sparring sessions in the gym. Dillashaw had said that he made Garbrandt ‘cry’ and ‘quit’ in training numerous times, while Cody says he knocked him out back when he was 1-0 and just starting his career.

For about a year or so, the two argued about this, with the Team Alpha Male product teasing that he had video footage to prove this.

Ahead of this weekend’s bout, Garbrandt decided to release the much spoken about sparring clip.

The problem is that the quality isn’t very good as it looks like Cody (or someone else) took a video of the sparring clip from another screen, which distorted the already low quality footage further.

While the movement seems to look like it was indeed Dillashaw getting dropped by a right hand counter, the clip’s quality is so bad that it isn’t obvious who the two men are, or if the fighter was indeed “knocked out” and “looking at the ceiling” as they claim.

In the past, Dillashaw claimed he was never knocked out in both training or in the gym, with the closest being the TKO loss to John Dodson where he felt he was just “clipped.”

Things that happen in practice aren’t exactly good measures of what happens in an actual fight, and they’re usually best left away from the public eyes. But with things going beyond personal between these two, this just adds yet another chapter in their longstanding feud that should come to a head this Saturday.

Covington defends insults to Brazilians: ‘They hate me and I don’t respect them’

Colby Covington showed no remorse about the insults he threw, saying he doesn’t respect the Brazilian crowd, and “was talking to America.”

After taking a decision over Demian Maia, Colby Covington berated Brazil and its people, calling them “filthy animals” who live in a “dump”. A lot of people didn’t like the insults, including even a few teammates of Covington and the UFC officials who are said to be reviewing it for possible sanctions.

Covington, who also called Brazilians “angry animals” before the event, didn’t attend the post-fight press conference after his controversial comments. He did issue a brief statement about it though. (HT: Guilherme Cruz)

“The crowd reaction was what I was looking for. They hate me and I don’t respect them,” Covington said.

“They don’t need to translate what I said, because I was talking to America, where my fans support me.”

The American also took to twitter about it, saying he was just poking back at the Brazilian crowd “a bit.”

On the walk out I get called every name in the book then they chant “You Gonna Die” I poke back at them a bit and everyone loses their mind?

— Colby Covington (@ColbyCovMMA) October 29, 2017

The 29-year-old is now on a 5-fight winning streak after beating the 39-year-old former title challenger in Maia.

Colby Covington showed no remorse about the insults he threw, saying he doesn’t respect the Brazilian crowd, and “was talking to America.”

After taking a decision over Demian Maia, Colby Covington berated Brazil and its people, calling them “filthy animals” who live in a “dump”. A lot of people didn’t like the insults, including even a few teammates of Covington and the UFC officials who are said to be reviewing it for possible sanctions.

Covington, who also called Brazilians “angry animals” before the event, didn’t attend the post-fight press conference after his controversial comments. He did issue a brief statement about it though. (HT: Guilherme Cruz)

“The crowd reaction was what I was looking for. They hate me and I don’t respect them,” Covington said.

“They don’t need to translate what I said, because I was talking to America, where my fans support me.”

The American also took to twitter about it, saying he was just poking back at the Brazilian crowd “a bit.”

The 29-year-old is now on a 5-fight winning streak after beating the 39-year-old former title challenger in Maia.