Keri Taylor Melendez to fight Mandy Polk at Bellator 229

Keri Taylor Melendez (pictured) will fight Mandy Polk at Bellator 229 in Temecula, Calif., on Oct. 4 | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The queen of the Skrap Pack is back.

Keri Taylor Melendez is set to make her first appearance of 2019 when she fights Mandy Polk in a 118-pound catchweight bout at Bellator 229 on Oct. 4 at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Calif. MMA Fighting confirmed the bout with an official following an initial report by ESPN.

An experienced pro kickboxer who trains alongside husband Gilbert Melendez among other MMA notables in San Francisco, Taylor Melendez is 3-0 in her MMA career so far. She has not competed since September of last year, when she defeated Dakota Zimmerman by split decision at Bellator 206.

Polk (6-4) will be making her Bellator debut. Since losing to Mackenzie Dern at a Legacy Fighting Alliance show in October 2017, Polk has won three straight fights by submission.

Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Calvin Kattar moved to UFC Moscow

Zabit Magomedsharipov | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Calvin Kattar’s coming home party has turned into an international affair.

MMA Fighting confirmed with sources that Kattar and Zabit Magomedsharipov will now fight in a featherweight bout at UFC Moscow on Nov. 9 after originally being scheduled to fight at UFC Boston on Oct. 18. The change in date and venue was first reported by ESPN.

The reason for Magomedsharipov’s withdrawal from the original date and the rescheduling was not revealed, though initial reports did not foresee the 28-year-old Russian being put on the sidelines for long.

Kattar, who hails from Massachusetts, will now head into enemy territory instead to fight Magomedsharipov. The 31-year-old is coming off of back-to-back first-round knockouts of one-time UFC title challenger Ricardo Lamas and Chris Fishgold. He has won 12 of his last 13 fights and sports a 20-3 pro record.

Magomedsharipov (17-1) is a perfect 5-0 in the UFC and is currently riding a 13-fight win streak. In his most recent outing at UFC 235, he defeated veteran Jeremy Stephens by unanimous decision.

With additional reporting by Damon Martin and Jose Youngs.

Patrick Mix vs. Dominic Mazzotta added to Bellator 232

Patrick Mix (pictured) fights Dominic Mazzotta in a bantamweight bout at Bellator 232 in Uncasville, Conn., on Oct. 26 | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Patrick Mix will look to make it an even dozen this fall.

The undefeated bantamweight faces the returning Dominic Mazzotta at Bellator 232. MMA Fighting confirmed the bout with officials following an initial report by MMA Junkie.

At Bellator 222 this past June, Mix made a spectacular debut, submitting Ricky Bandejas in just 66 seconds to improve his pro record to 11-0. The 26-year-old New Yorker has won seven fights by submission.

Mazzotta (15-3) will once again compete inside the Bellator cage after most recently picking up a unanimous decision win against Chris Johnson at a World Fighting Championships show in Pittsburgh. In his first run with Bellator, Mazzotta went 2-2, with wins over Josh Sampo and Matthew Lozano.

Bellator 232 takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., on Oct. 26, and it will air exclusively on the DAZN streaming service. The event will be headlined by the finals of the Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix, a rematch between current 170-pound champion Rory MacDonald and Douglas Lima.

Tyron Woodley explains callout after Khabib Nurmagomedov’s dominant UFC 242 win: ‘I gotta see what it feels like’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Tyron Woodley has laid out challenges to numerous world champions, including Georges St-Pierre, Nick Diaz, and Conor McGregor.

The latest star on his hit list is UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Following Nurmagomedov’s recent dominant title defense at UFC 242 against Dustin Poirier, a fighter that Woodley knows well from his time training at American Top Team, Woodley called out Nurmagomedov on his Hollywood Beatdown show. The former welterweight champion took part in a fan Q&A at Rogers Arena on Friday and he elaborated on his reason for challenging “The Eagle.”

“He’s a beast,” Woodley said. “I just think that right now in my life and my career, I need the impossible. I need the stuff that nobody can do, I need the thing that’s gonna motivate me beyond measure and I think that he provides that.

“Obviously, I could never make 155. I’m already kind of alluding to handling business at welterweight and going up to middleweight. It would have to be something at a catchweight, it would have to be something that he would be interested in. He’s on top of the world right now, I might not even be an option for him. It’s more out of respect of what he can do. I know Dustin, he spars middleweights, light heavyweights, and for him to go out there and put on a performance like that against Dustin, I gotta see what it feels like.”

Woodley isn’t far removed from his own recent run as a UFC champion, logging four successful title defenses before being dethroned by Kamaru Usman in March. During his reign, Woodley made overtures to being considered the greatest welterweight fighter of all-time and he desired to prove that by someday fighting the legendary St-Pierre.

Though “GSP” did come out of retirement, it was to fight Michael Bisping for a middleweight title, not Woodley. Today, most of the chatter around St-Pierre returning again is focused solely on a dream matchup with Nurmagomedov.

Woodley is planning to train with St-Pierre soon and one thing he has in common with his fellow welterweight great is his desire to cement his legacy, even if he never gets the chance to test himself against St-Pierre inside the Octagon.

“[St-Pierre] trained with the best wrestlers he could train, he trained with Greg Jackson, then he trained with Freddie Roach,” Woodley said. “He took his time and his money and invested into himself, so I took that rubric and I did the same thing to me. I think naturally I’m faster, I think I punch harder, I think I kick harder, I think I wrestle better, I think we both mentally tough and I think if you match us at our prime, I think I win that fight.

“And I’ve always wanted to prove that. Not to you guys, but to myself because he was the king of the throne for a very long time. You can’t ever walk around and say you the greatest that ever did it knowing that this guy’s living, willing, able and competitive enough to still compete. So that’s why I was pushing for that fight. Not so much for the money, I’m going to make money anyway. But so much more for myself, that I can prove that I am the greatest welterweight that’s ever walked around. Once I recognized that we were never gonna fight, then I said why not us train? I’m going to get the same motivation, but now instead of 25 minutes, I can share weeks, hours, months, on picking his brain, swapping techniques, and now my legacy is based on who I beat, how I beat them, how long I reigned at the top, and that’s going to be my argument why I’m the greatest of all-time.”

Zelim Imadaev vs. Danny Roberts announced for UFC Moscow

Zelim Imadaev (pictured) fights Danny Roberts in a welterweight bout at UFC Moscow on Nov. 9 | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Zelim Imadaev has himself a home date.

The 24-year-old Russian will fight Danny Roberts in a welterweight bout at the UFC’s return to Moscow on Nov. 9. Officials announced the matchup Monday following an initial report by Sportbox.ru.

Imadaev suffered his first defeat in nine pro bouts when he dropped a majority decision in his UFC debut to Max Griffin at UFC 236 in April. Prior to that, he had won all of his fights by knockout, including three wins in Russia’s Fight Nights Global promotion.

Roberts, 16-5 as a pro and 5-4 in the Octagon, is coming off of consecutive losses to Michel Pereira and Claudio Silva. “Hot Sauce” was defeated by Pereira via first-round KO at UFC Rochester in May. This will be Roberts’s third fight of 2019.

Gilbert Burns targeted as replacement to fight Gunnar Nelson at UFC Copenhagen

Gilbert Burns (pictured) will fight Gunnar Nelson in a welterweight bout at UFC Copenhagen on Sept. 28 | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Gilbert Burns is stepping in for his fellow Brazilian.

MMA Fighting has confirmed with sources that Burns is being targeted to replace Thiago Alves for a welterweight bout opposite Gunnar Nelson at UFC Copenhagen on Sept. 28 at Royal Arena in Denmark. The news was first reported by Combate.

Last week, Alves told MMA Fighting that he would be withdrawing from the event due to health issues stemming from a kidney stones infection.

For Burns (16-3), who has competed primarily at 155 pounds, this will be his second straight welterweight appearance. “Durinho” defeated Alexey Kunchenko at UFC Uruguay in August, a bout that Burns also took on short notice. Overall, Burns has won three straight fights and five of his last six.

Burns’ involvement saves what will be Nelson’s second fight of 2019. Nelson (17-4-1) is coming off of a split decision loss to Leon Edwards at UFC London in March.

With additional reporting by Petesy Carroll.