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UFC Albany: Six Hometown Fighters To Know

In its second visit to the Empire State, the UFC has brought the octagon to New York’s state capital of Albany for UFC Fight Night 102: Lewis vs. Abdurakhimov tomorrow night at the Times Union Center, streaming live only on UFC Fight Pass starting at 5:45pm EST.

What makes these New York cards more special (other than being featured in our great state)?

Having our hometown fighters on the card.

Above: Keith Berish Credit: Dave Mandel

Above: Keith Berish Credit: Dave Mandel

Representing Poughkeepise, New York is Keith “Sha Bang Bang” Berish. Berish (5-0-1NC) made his UFC debut as a light-heavyweight at The Ultimate Fighter 19 Finale in July 2014 against Robert Drysdale, where he technically got his first professional loss via submission. After Drysale tested positive for elevated testosterone following the fight, the commission over turned the loss to a no contest. Berish will be facing Ryan Janes in a three-round middleweight bout.

Credit: Keith Mills

Above: Shane Burgos Credit: Keith Mills

Bronx-native Shane “Hurricane” Burgos makes his UFC debut in a three-round featherweight bout against Tiago Trator. Burgos enters the UFC with a perfect 7-0 professional record with five first-round finishes since making his debut in 2013.

Above: Frankie Perez Photo Credit:

Above: Frankie Perez Photo Credit:

After only his second fight in the UFC, and earning the biggest (and shortest) win of his professional career over Sam Stout, Howell, New Jersey’s Frankie Perez announced his retirement from the octagon in August of 2015. Just about a year into the mid-20’s retirement life, Perez told Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour that he was returning back to the UFC, hoping to receive a bout on the upcoming local cards. Perez got his wish granted with a three-round featherweight bout against undefeated Marc Diakiese. Welcome back, Frankie!

Above: Randy Brown Credit: Dave Mendel

Above: Randy Brown Credit: Dave Mandel

Going into his fourth fight under the promotion, Randy “Rude Boy” Brown will face UFC newcomer Brian Camozzi in a three-round welterweight bout. Hailing from Queens, New York, the former Ring of Combat welterweight champion made his UFC debut at UFC on FOX 18 in Newark, New Jersey in January of 2015. Since then he faced his first professional loss against Michael Graves at UFC on FOX 19 in April then bounced back earning a third-round submission victory over Erik Montano at UFC Fight Night 94 in September.

Above: Gian Villante Credit:

Above: Gian Villante Credit:

A veteran in the sport since making his professional debut at Lou Neglia’s Ring of Combat in 2009, Villante is the #14 ranked light-heavyweight in the UFC. With victories over fellow UFC FN 102 fighters Corey Anderson and Sean O’Connell,  Villante is facing undefeated Saparbek Safarov, who is making his UFC debut after stepping up on one weeks notice when Villante’s original opponent Patrick Cummins withdrew due to staph infection. Villante trains out of Bellmore Kickboxing Academy in Bellmore, NY.

Above: Corey Anderson Credit: Jeff Bottari/ZUFFA LLC

Above: Corey Anderson Credit: Jeff Bottari/ZUFFA LLC

The Ultimate Fighter 19 light-heavyweight winner, Corey “Beastin’ 25/8” Anderson goes into UFC FN 102 for his eight bout since winning the competition in July of 2014.  A member of the Renzo Gracie Combat Team training at the Nick Catone MMA Academy in New Jersey, Anderson will be facing Sean O’Connell in a three-round light-heavyweight bout. The #9 ranked LHW tweeted out earlier this week that his “Beastin’ 25/8” fight name is now a brand name, stating that the new name will be premiered Friday night. Wonder what it could be?



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Kristine is a Managing Editor for as well as UFC/MMA Lead Writer. She also hosts a column known as Fighting Words.
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