Nohelin Hernandez Looking to Finish Year Strong at Tachi Palace Fights 35

After rebounding from a loss to start his 2018 with a win in his previous bout, bantamweight Nohelin Hernandez was able to pick up his third straight win with a unanimous decision victory over Rolando Velasco at LFA 51 in September.

Though his performance was far from perfect, Hernandez is pleased with how his fight with Velasco turned out because he can use it as a tool to get better with.

“I went out there and executed my game plan,” Hernandez told MMAWeekly.com. “I got taken down a few times, but it was a good experience that I did, because it gave me more knowledge to how to deal with things in the cage when things go not how I want them to.

“I feel like Rolando had the first round, and I had a strong second and third, and ultimately got the unanimous decision. It was a fun fight overall.”

One of the keys to Hernandez being able to build a winning streak has been his work at the American Kickboxing Academy, and in particular following the example of one of the sport’s premier athletes.

“I think the biggest thing that has been working for me is being part of the AKA,” said Hernandez. “We have a double (UFC) champion in Daniel Cormier, and he follows such a unique training schedule and regimen, and we all follow it.

“That’s kind of the blueprint that I’ve been following. It’s obviously works, so I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing.”

On Friday in Lemoore, California, Hernandez (9-2) will look to add to his winning streak when he takes on Kyle Reyes (13-5) in a main card 135-pound bout at Tachi Palace Fights 35.

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“Kyle Reyes is a tough guy,” Hernandez said. “He’s a brown belt in Jiu-Jitsu, but he brings some versatility to his game because he can strike.

“I think that the key to me winning this fight is staying away from the takedown and staying away from the chokes he’s good at. I’ve just got to do my thing, get a win that night and finish my year strong.”

Even if Hernandez avoids a ghastly injury in his bout with Reyes, he intends to shut things down for the holidays and get ready for a run at a major promotion in 2019.

“Absolutely I can fight again because I tend not to take a lot of damage with my fights, but after this fight, I want to take some time off and enjoy the holidays,” said Hernandez. “This will be my sixth pro bout of 2018, so after this fight we’re going to take a break and get ready for whatever comes next in 2019.”

ONE Championship Jumps into the eSports Market

ONE Championship Belt

The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship (ONE), has officially launched ONE eSports, Asia’s largest global eSports Championship Series. ONE Championship and Dentsu Inc., Japan’s largest global advertising agency, have agreed to launch ONE eSports as a joint venture together in 2019. Razer, Singtel, and other top industry players have also entered into partnership MOUs with ONE eSports to lead Asia’s eSports industry together.

ONE Championship intends to lead a plan to invest up to US$50 million alongside other key partners into ONE eSports to create Asia’s largest global eSports Championship Series; ONE eSports will feature multiple blockbuster game titles across Asia and hold a number of eSports events held alongside ONE Championship martial arts events in 2019. Earlier this year, ONE Championship announced a 30 event schedule for 2019 for its global scale martial arts events across iconic Asian cities including Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo, Seoul, Jakarta, Shanghai, Beijing, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, and many other cities. ONE eSports will piggyback off this master event schedule in select cities.  In addition, ONE eSports will also produce and broadcast dedicated eSports content in the form of live event broadcasts, documentaries, reality shows, weekly magazine shows, highlights, video blogs, and other unique content across its global media broadcast platform in 138 countries. Also, recently-signed ONE Championship athlete and pound-for-pound mixed martial arts king Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson will help to lead the ONE eSports efforts as its Chief Brand Ambassador; he is a lifelong gamer and well-known Twitch streamer with a rabid following.

Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, stated: “It is with great excitement that I announce ONE eSports, Asia’s largest global eSports Championship Series. We see a natural crossover between martial arts and gaming fans in Asia and an opportunity to bring them together under Asia’s home of millennial live sports. ONE Championship is committed to bringing its same brand of large-scale event production and live broadcast capabilities, unique world-class content production, global media distribution, storytelling expertise, and marketing experience to ONE eSports. Our mission is to celebrate Asia’s eSports heroes on the global stage. The establishment of ONE eSports transforms ONE Championship into Asia’s largest producer of millennial sports content.”

While ONE eSports will showcase blockbuster game titles from around the world, Dentsu is the dedicated marketing partner of the Japan eSports Union (JeSU) and will be responsible for harvesting Japanese game developers’ desire to expand in eSports across Asia via ONE eSports. Dentsu will also help to lead ONE eSports’ efforts to hold events across Japan. In addition, ONE eSports will also leverage Dentsu and Dentsu Aegis as its preferred marketing agencies for strategic marketing formulation and sponsorships around the world.

Shuntaro Tanaka, Director, Content Business Design Center of Dentsu, stated: “We are pleased to announce this partnership with ONE Championship as we look to further develop the rapidly growing eSports industry in Japan and the rest of Asia. We recognize good synergy between martial arts and eSports, making this a fantastic opportunity for both ONE Championship and Dentsu to participate in this growing segment in Asia, as well as leverage multiple content platforms for additional sales and business opportunities. ONE Championship has been a terrific partner and Dentsu is happy to move forward with ONE in this eSports venture.”

ONE eSports will also work with Razer, the world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers, to leverage its ecosystem of hardware, software, and services in the following manner:

  • Razer will provide its expertise and leadership as a pioneer in the eSports industry to develop, manage, and organize an eSports tournament or series in partnership with ONE eSports.
  • eSports Mogul, a Razer portfolio company, will provide the technical know-how and innovation for the development of an online platform to organize, manage, and stage online eSports events and tournaments.
  • Razer Pay will serve as the payment platform for the ticketing of ONE eSports tournaments, as well as for the online sale of related merchandise and content.
  • ONE eSports and Razer will explore joint marketing opportunities using Team Razer eSports athletes as well as ONE Championship athletes to drive communication and engagement to all martial arts fans and gamers across Asia.

Min-Liang Tan, Co-Founder and CEO of Razer, stated: “Like Razer, ONE Championship is at the forefront of a new digital entertainment revolution that delivers the sporting content that millennials hunger for, whether online or offline. This partnership will see us combining our respective areas of expertise and deliver unmatched cross-boundary experiences to our fans.”

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ONE eSports will also explore working with the Singtel Group, Asia’s leading communications technology group with a combined mobile customer base of over 700 million. The collaboration across Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and India will potentially include joint eSports marketing efforts, production and distribution of eSports content through the Singtel Group’s platforms, telco data bundle plans and online and offline payment services through direct carrier billing and telco wallets. This is an extension of ONE Championship’s ongoing collaboration with the Singtel Group in mixed martial arts events.

Arthur Lang, CEO International of Singtel, said, “We have had a great partnership with ONE Championship since the joint launch of its app in May this year and other marketing collaborations across our regional footprint. We are pleased to take this collaboration into eSports. With the success of our PVP Esports Championship in October, we look to further engage with the gaming community through this partnership and increase our involvement in eSports.”

Joseph Benavidez Excited for Future of the Flyweight Division Following Demetrious Johnson Trade

Joseph Benavidez UFC 225 Vegas Workout

If the UFC is getting rid of the flyweight division, that’s news to two-time title contender Joseph Benavidez.

The UFC and WEC veteran is just days away from competing at 125-pounds again in a pivotal matchup against Ray Borg at the UFC Fight Night card celebrating the promotion’s 25th anniversary.

The fight comes after a trade sent former champion Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship in exchange for Ben Askren while current flyweight king Henry Cejudo is in talks to face T.J. Dillashaw in a bantamweight title fight.

That all adds up to questions about the UFC’s commitment to the flyweight division but Benavidez says he’s heard nothing about his weight class going away. In fact, Benavidez suggests that a new champion like Cejudo being crowned could be exactly what the division needs to truly flourish.

“I think it would be different if they traded the champion away and that’s all people know is [Demetrious] being champion but there is a new champion, “Benavidez said when speaking to MMAWeekly about the future of the flyweight division. “You look at boxing as far as the skill level and the heavyweight title used to be everything in boxing. Now it’s the smaller guys. I think it’s just time. We have T.J. [Dillashaw] looking like one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and an Olympic champion who is now a UFC champion. Skill wise, it’s there and I think now it’s time to breathe a little more.

“I haven’t heard anything about [the division going away]. I look at what I can control and the division and me having a win over the champ. I try to look at the bright side. I think there’s a lot of talk about the division and more excitement than there has been in a long time and I don’t think that really revolves around getting rid of the division. I don’t really hear that. I’m excited to see what happens.”

Until his loss to Cejudo in August, Johnson was the only champion the division ever knew and he had defended his belt 11 times in a row. Johnson was the most dominant champion in UFC history but he never really gained that much attention from fans despite his gaudy record and accomplishments.

Benavidez has tremendous respect for Johnson and everything he’s done during his career but he can’t help but admit that a new champion at the top of the division could be exactly what the flyweights need right now.

“It’s just new life with a new champion,” Benavidez explained. “I think just change in any division is great. Just change in any division, new champions, new stars, that’s all good. You just haven’t seen it in the flyweight division because we’re the newest division. We haven’t had a history like a lot of the other divisions.”

If anything, Benavidez is positive about the future of the flyweights because with Cejudo as champion, there will be new opportunities available to contenders such as himself as well as other rising stars that will hopefully put the weight class on a new course.

“I have a win over the champion. It’s a really interesting time for some new matchups and maybe people get to focus on some different fights where they didn’t before because Demetrious was such a great champion,” Benavidez said. “When Cejudo beat him, it gave me so much confidence. The skill was never that far off and I just beat Cejudo a few fights before that. I think the execution was just off.

“I’m excited for the division. It’s being talked about more than it has in recent time.”

 

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Daniel Cormier Explains Why He Has No Interest In Taking A Boxing Match

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