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Local presence on fight card is down to Vannata

Matt Frevola, right, lands a punch on Lando Vannata during the third round of a lightweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 230, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, at Madison Square Garden in New York The Albuqeurque-based Vannata is in action Saturday in a UFC Fight Night card. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

And then there was one.

In Las Vegas, Nevada, Albuquerque MMA fighter Lando Vannata weighed in on Friday at 155.5 pounds, a permissible half-pound over the lightweight limit, for his scheduled fight Saturday night on a UFC Fight Night card against Bobby Green.

It’s a rematch of an October 2017 fight that ended in a bloody, fight-of-the-night draw. Green weighed in on Friday at 156 pounds, an allowable pound over the limit.

Two other Albuquerque fighters had been scheduled for Saturday’s card. They’re both gone.

First, on July 22, Holly Holm lost her spot on the card when her scheduled opponent, Mexico’s Irene Aldana, tested positive for COVID-19. Lenny Fresquez, Holm’s longtime Albuquerque promoter, said the fight has been rescheduled for Oct. 3.

Then, on Friday, it was reported that Albuquerque’s Ray Borg has been removed from his scheduled fight against Nathan Maness. No reason was given.

That leaves Vannata, who was added to Saturday’s card just nine days ago.

“They (the UFC) offered me a fight about three weeks ago,” Vannata said in interviews on Thursday. “Two opponents fell through, and Bobby was the third person and said, ‘Let’s run it back,’ so here we are.

“I’m looking forward to setting a few things straight.”

Vannata (11-4-1) and Green (25-10-1) differ on who should have gotten the decision in their first fight – and of course, on who’ll have his hand raised the second time around.

“Look at his face and look at mine (after the first fight),” Green said in an interview with MMA Junkie. “He had a cut over his nose, he had a cut over his eye. I don’t even know why they signed the fight again, to be honest.

“I wouldn’t want to look like that again. If you want to do that to yourself, sure, go ahead.”

Vannata said he actually thought he’d lost the first fight – until he saw the replay.

“During it I thought I lost,” he said. “But after watching it, 100 percent that I won.”

Vannata, asked for a prediction for the rematch, declined. But he’s a better fighter, he said, than he was when he fought Green in 2017.

“I feel like I’ve grown by leaps and bounds,” he said, “and I’m really looking forward to putting it on display.”

ADD BORG: For the second time since the UFC began promoting again amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Borg was a late scratch.

On the first occasion, Borg withdrew from a scheduled June 13 fight against Merab Dvalishvili because of concerns for the health of his 2-year-old son. Anthony Borg suffers from hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess fluid accumulates in the brain.

As of this writing, Borg has not posted anything on social media regarding his withdrawal from Saturday’s card.

Over the past 2 1/2 years, he has been removed from several cards for a variety of reasons – injury, illness, Anthony’s condition. Borg also has failed to make weight on three occasions, once at bantamweight (135), twice at flyweight (125).

Saturday’s card was to have been contested at 135 pounds.

LEO-WILLIAMS: Albuquerque native Angelo Leo (19-0, nine knockouts) weighed in at 121 pounds, one pound under the super bantamweight limit, for his World Boxing Organization title fight tonight against Tramaine Williams at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Williams (19-0, six knockouts) was a late replacement for Stephen Fulton Jr., Leo’s original opponent, who tested positive for COVID-19. Williams, a southpaw from New Haven, Connecticut, weighed in at 121 1/2 pounds.

Leo lives and trains in Las Vegas, Nevada

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