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UFC on FOX: Holm vs Shevchenko - Jul 23rd


wandshogun09

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Back on Big FOX in Chicago on July 23rd.

 

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FOX MAIN CARD

Holly Holm vs Valentina Shevchenko

Gilbert Melendez vs Edson Barboza

Francis Ngannou vs Bojan Mihajlovic

Felice Herrig vs Kailin Curran

 

FOX SPORTS 1 PRELIMS

Eddie Wineland vs Frankie Saenz

Darren Elkins vs Godofredo Pepey

Alexander Yakovlev vs Kamaru Usman

Michel Prazeres vs JC Cottrell

 

FIGHT PASS PRELIMS

Alex Oliveira vs James Moontasri

Jim Alers vs Jason Knight

Luis Henrique vs Dmitry Smolyakov

 

Not the strongest FOX card we've seen but decent. Anthony Johnson vs Glover Teixeira was originally on this main card but got pulled due to injury. Shame because that would've given this show a real boost and some depth to the main card. Still some good stuff there though.

 

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Holm vs Shevchenko is a very interesting fight to me. I know a lot of people were underwhelmed when it was announced and some were saying it was a poor choice of matchmaking and that Holm should've got a bigger name opponent. I'm not with that though. I've got no problem with this. There's nothing wrong with Holm rebuilding before diving back into the title picture. Plus which bigger name was she supposed to fight? Tate vs Nunes and Zingano vs Pena were already booked for 200, Cyborg was already booked for 198 and Rousey is still getting the hang of chewing apples again after Holm destroyed her face last November. And besides, Shevchenko is hardly a bum. This is a fight between probably the two most decorated strikers at women's 135.

 

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Whatever Holly Holm does from here on out in her career, she'll always be remembered for this. The night she kicked Ronda Rousey upside the head and took both her title and her soul in one go. Yeah she lost the title to Miesha Tate in her first defence but her ending Ronda's reign of terror in such spectacular and brutal fashion was one of those moments that will be replayed forever.

 

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Valentina Shevchenko. She might not be a 'name' but she's a 17 time Muay Thai world champion with a 56-2 kickboxing record, a 2-0 pro boxing record, a 14-2 MMA record, a black belt in Taekwondo and a black belt in Judo. Oh and she holds three, count 'em, three wins in kickboxing over some woman called Joanna Jedrzejczyk. If that means anything to you?

 

In MMA her only losses are to Liz Carmouche (six years ago) and Amanda Nunes (the current UFC bantamweight champ!). I'm not convinced she beats Holm or anything but I definitely think people are sleeping on Shevchenko. She's no jobber or cakewalk for Holm. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this fight plays out.

 

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Barboza vs Melendez is one of those fights that they announce and you just know it's going to be something special. It might be predictable but this is definitely ***WAND'S ONE TO WATCH*** on this card. I just couldn't pick anything else over it. They've probably got FOTN sewn up unless there's an unexpected classic elsewhere on the card. I'm not sure how this one goes at all but I can't see any way it isn't all kinds of fun. Actually, if I had to guess, I could see Melendez struggling with Barboza's leg kicks. But I think a fucking redwood tree would struggle to withstand Barboza's leg kicks. Tong Po wakes up in a cold sweat thinking about Barboza's leg kicks. Melendez is coming off that suspension for PEDs as well. Just throwing that out there.

 

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Francis Ngannou is back! Just look at that bastard, will you? I can't make up my mind if he's the next big thing in heavyweight MMA or just an overgrown Sokoudjou. He's looked good so far, although his opposition has been far from stellar. I like him though. He's 7-1 and all his wins were finishes. Looks the part and knocks heads off. What more can you ask of a heavyweight? It's what they're supposed to be, isn't it?

 

His opponent Mihajlovic is Serbian with a 10-3 MMA record. And looking at his picture, he has a hint of Andrew Golota about him...

 

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Don't know anything about him really but I'm into this fight purely because I'm hoping Ngannou goes onto become something. Heavyweight MMA needs some new blood.

 

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Herrig vs Curran kicks off the FOX main card. Can't stand Felice Herrig, I hope Curran absolutely clatters her. Should be an exciting fight though either way. I don't think either have had a boring fight in their UFC careers yet. Got a feeling Herrig's experience might swing it in her favour but I'd love to see Curran win this.

 

The prelims aren't anything to write home about at first glance but there's some alright stuff there.

 

Wineland vs Saenz is the standout. Wineland's always been a scrappy fucker and Frankie Saenz really impressed me in his performance against Urijah Faber in December at UFC 194. Looking forward to seeing him again.

 

Oliveira vs Moontasri should be lively and I like the Elkins vs Pepey clash of styles with Elkins' being a grinder and Pepey being all over the place.

 

Not a bad card, not a brilliant card. But it's one of those that I could see really delivering on the night.

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This is tonight then. Actually really looking forward to this now. It's a wicked little main card, I think. Holm vs Shevchenko should be a really good striking match. Melendez vs Barboza surely can't fail to deliver. You've got Ngannou back in there. And Herrig vs Curran should be a lively opener.

 

And as usual with the Big FOX shows, it's a bit of an earlier start time as well which is always welcome.

 

FS1 Prelims at 11pm.

Main card at 1am.

 

Going with;

 

Holm on points

Barboza on points

Ngannou by KO/TKO

Herrig by sub

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You never know. The combination of her coming off her first defeat in MMA could effect her mentally. Then you factor in Shevchenko's striking experience herself. Shevchenko is easily the best striker Holm will have fought so far in MMA. It could be a very tough one for her. Certainly no easy rebound fight. And it's risky because Shevchenko is a tough opponent but not a name. The risk outweighs the reward for Holm tonight.

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Just read this article on MMAJunkie about Francis Ngannou. Well worth a read. Hard not to root for the guy after reading this;

 

It doesn’t take long to realize Francis Ngannou would honestly prefer not to talk about his journey from Cameroon to France. It’s clear he doesn’t particularly enjoy recounting his decision to escape a life of abject poverty in hopes of finding something – anything, really – better in a foreign setting.

 

A hulking figure, the 6-4, 250-pound Ngannou normally speaks in a quiet voice that drops to nearly inaudible levels when he’s pressed to remember the trouble that drove him to seek a new path.

 

“I left Cameroon just to try and have a life, to survive,” Ngannou, who fights at Saturday’s UFC event in Chicago, told MMAjunkie. “When I was in Cameroon, I just didn’t see a way. I could survive, but that’s about it.”

 

Ngannou did odd jobs to make ends meet, but in a nation where the average citizen takes home the equivalent of approximately $1,300 per year, he knew the prospects of a bright future were slim.

 

“I was struggling,” the 29-year-old says.

 

And so Ngannou left it all behind. Fueled by a love for watching a prime Mike Tyson, Ngannou thought boxing might provide a way out of poverty. But France didn’t end up being that much better, if Ngannou is being honest. That is, until three years ago, when he wandered into Paris’ MMA Factory.

 

“My colleague called me and said there was a huge guy asking to train in the gym,” MMA Factory owner Fernand Lopez told MMAjunkie. “The next day, I got to the gym, and Francis was there. I talked with him, and I gave him two bags full of clothes and stuff like gear and gloves, and I said, ‘Please train MMA.’

 

“The very same day, he did an MMA class for beginners. He didn’t know anything about MMA, but the way he was moving and the way he was thinking – he was so smart and such a fast learner, not to mention so incredibly strong. I knew if he kept training, he could be a champion.”

 

What Ngannou did during the training session excited Lopez. What the heavyweight did immediately afterward made Lopez realize Ngannou was going to need more than just coaching.

 

“He asked to keep his bags in the gym because outside wasn’t safe for him,” Lopez said. “That’s the moment I knew he was homeless. I offered for him to sleep in the gym. Meanwhile, we started to work on everything to get him a decent place to live.”

 

Ngannou dreamed of being a boxing champion, but with Lopez’s help, he turned his attention to MMA. As the coach recalls, once Ngannou made his pro debut in November 2013, the transformation was complete.

 

“He just fell in love with MMA,” Lopez said.

 

Despite losing a decision in his second pro bout, Ngannou rebounded with four consecutive stoppage victories to earn his way into the sport’s premier organization, UFC, in December 2015. He’s already notched a pair of knockout victories for the promotion and put the heavyweight division on alert.

 

Along the way, Ngannou realized that his journey could benefit his fellow Cameroonians, as well. Despite just barely making it out of poverty himself, Ngannou began to set up charities in his native country in hopes of giving a chance to those who weren’t as fortunate as he’s been.

 

“I want to give some opportunity for children like me who dream of this sport and don’t have an opportunity like me,” Ngannou said. “The last time I was in Cameroon, I brought a lot of materials for boxing and MMA to open a gym. Now I just bought a big space to start the gym, as well.

 

“A lot of children now in Cameroon, because of me, they have a dream. They say, ‘I will be a champion in MMA. I will do boxing like Francis,’ because they saw me when I was young. I didn’t have anything. I didn’t have any opportunity. And today, they see me, and they are dreaming. They are thinking that something is possible. Even when they are so poor, something is possible in life. … It’s not easy. It’s so hard, but it’s possible.

 

On Saturday, Ngannou (7-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) looks for his third straight UFC victory when he meets Bojan Mihajlovic (10-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) on the FOX-televised main card of UFC on FOX 20 at United Center in Chicago.

 

For Ngannou, fighting on network television for the first time provides an opportunity for a breakout performance. Currently just outside a top-15 ranking in the division, he welcomes the challenges that would certainly follow. After all, there are dreams to be fulfilled, both in France and Cameroon.

 

“I used to dream big, and now the opportunities to fulfill my dreams are coming quickly,” Ngannou said. “My goal now is to be the heavyweight champion.”

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Well, Ronda Rousey's loss is looking worse with each Holly Holm fight. Holm can't fucking buy a win anymore.

 

50/50 show really. Wasn't into the prelims. Wineland vs Saenz was alright but the rest were fairly dull aside from the grappling in the first round of Prazeres-Cottrell.

 

The main card was good though. Couple of quick finishes from Felice 'Lita' Herrig and Francis Ngannou. I want to see Ngannou vs The Black Beast! It's time to see Ngannou take a step up. He's killing these jobbers like he's Vader in 1992 WCW.

 

Thought Barboza looked excellent. He's really starting to build a case for a crack at the gold now IMO. He just shut Giblert down. He's looked really good recently and it feels like he's turned a corner this year with wins over Pettis and Melendez back-to-back. He's an exciting fighter to watch as well because not only is his offence incredible to watch, he's always had that suspect chin as well which adds the edge of the seat factor to his fights. Melendez showed that again last night when he clipped Barboza. If Barboza had BJ Penn's chin he'd probably be undefeated right now.

 

Shevchenko beating Holm wasn't what the UFC had in mind when they booked the fight, obviously. This month has been a bit of a disaster results-wise for the women's 135 division. Ronda's supposed to be returning at the end of this year and the two money title fights - Holm 2 or Tate 3 - are dead in the water. Fuck knows what they do now? Does Rousey still return and get a title shot? I don't think she deserves one coming off the loss to Holm then a year on the shelf. But how many options are there?

 

Nunes vs Pena for the title

Rousey vs Tate 3

Cyborg vs Shevchenko

Holm vs Zingano

 

Maybe? Nunes vs Pena doesn't set the world alight as a title match, I know, but at least Pena is coming off a big win. It'd have to be a Fight Pass or FS1 headliner, no way it'd top a PPV, but I think it'd be a good fight. I think Holm vs Zingano would be good, Rousey vs Tate 3 isn't ideal with no title but fuck it, and Cyborg vs Shevchenko would probably be a bad idea because Shevchenko would be undersized going up for a catchweight. The division is a mess right now.

 

As for the actual fight, Holm just couldn't get going. Shevchenko is nobody's stepping stone. I think a lot of people, maybe the UFC brass included, were overlooking her in this fight and thinking Holm would win this and move onto a bigger name. Shevchenko fought well though. It wasn't a brilliant fight but she fought the way she needed to fight to get the W against a tricky counterstriker. Holm just couldn't seem to get her timing down.

 

Shevchenko could be a darkhorse at 135. Her only UFC loss is to Nunes, the current champ. And she took Nunes the distance, most get finished, and was very competitive. Pretty sure she took the fight on fairly short notice as well actually. That could be an interesting rematch over five rounds.

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Dana's said consistently that Ronda gets a title shot when she returns. With 102 year old Dan Henderson getting a title shot based off something that happened 7 years ago, I can't be-grudge Rousey walking back into a title shot after a year out.

 

What a shocker. I put down late money on Shevchenko to win... by KO. Always get greedy and go for the best odds, it was paying $7. Shev's movement did to Holm what Holm's movement did to Rousey last year in Melbourne... which I attended. I don't think I'll ever experience an atmosphere like that again.

 

Barboza is looking great. Would have no issues seeing him get a title shot, or RDA next.

 

Most of the rest was average, but on the prelims, I really liked Jason Knight. Super aggressive kid that has a clear attitude. The lighter weight divisions need more mouthy bastards like him, plus he's skilled and young; One to watch going forward, I reckon.

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Dana's said consistently that Ronda gets a title shot when she returns. With 102 year old Dan Henderson getting a title shot based off something that happened 7 years ago, I can't be-grudge Rousey walking back into a title shot after a year out.

Yeah, but that thing Hendo did 7 years ago, he did it to the very man who's currently wearing the gold. If it was anyone but Bisping holding the belt then Hendo wouldn't be in with a sniff of a title shot.

 

I could see the argument for Rousey getting the shot if Tate was still champion because she's 2-0 over Tate. But Nunes battering Tate kind of fucked that up to me. Holm destroyed Ronda, then Ronda takes a year off to learn how to chew apples again and get all chubby and she walks back in and gets a shot at Nunes? I get that people will argue 'well it's a business' but nobody is convincing me that Nunes vs Rousey does better business than Rousey vs Tate 3, Rousey vs Holm 2, even Rousey vs Zingano 2 and especially Rousey vs Cyborg if they somehow can pull that one off. I'm as big a Rousey fan as there is but I'm not into her getting a title shot with the current landscape of the division. Plus, I'm not even sure Nunes wouldn't Clubber Lang her into oblivion anyway. She's a beast and almost as fast a starter as Rousey. And she can strike. I'm not sure Rousey needs that in her life for her first day back at work. Let her beat Tate up again at MSG and go from there, I say.

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Holm's game plan was just odd. Every time she went for a combination she was constantly caught with the right hook. She just didn't change her approach the entire fight. Once it wasn't working she should have just stuck with that oblique kick until it made Shevchenko commit. Even in the clinch Holm seemed to be getting the best of it too.

 

Just an odd performance all in all.

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Completely missed this story but I just read that Shevchenko's coach Pavel Fedotov was shot a few weeks back, during her camp for this fight. Apparently he insisted from his hospital bed that she fight on. She was there during the shootout and everything and could've easily been shot herself. Mental. Suppose fighting Holly Holm is fuck all compared to that.

 

She's trained with Fedotov since she was 5 years old as well according to Marc Raimondi. 5!

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Well, Ronda Rousey's loss is looking worse with each Holly Holm fight. Holm can't fucking buy a win anymore.

 

Not really, it's the old "styles make fights" factor, isn't it? Holm was tall enough, rangey enough, and had the striking ability to beat Rousey. 

 

Since then Holm made a monumental mistake in a fight against Meisha where she was coasting to a decision win, and then she lost against a top-class striker.

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Maybe should have given Holm those 200 PPV points, Dana. Needless to say a bit of a disaster business-wise.

 

Shevchenko fought smart and apart from the first round, was rarely in any trouble. She basically out countered Holm for most of it. I'm well up for Rousey v Nunes or Shevchenko (whoever the champ is) when she gets back. Not sure I'd risk Rousey with another Holm match straight away, seeing as Holm has lost two now and I'd rather risk a Rousey loss v the champ. You can do the Holm fight down the road.

 

Barboza is scary.

 

 

Well, Ronda Rousey's loss is looking worse with each Holly Holm fight. Holm can't fucking buy a win anymore.

 

Not really, it's the old "styles make fights" factor, isn't it? Holm was tall enough, rangey enough, and had the striking ability to beat Rousey. 

 

Since then Holm made a monumental mistake in a fight against Meisha where she was coasting to a decision win, and then she lost against a top-class striker.

 

I feel the last two Holm fights have exposed Rousey's coaches again, more than anything. Both fights show that if you don't charge into her fists she's beatable. Miesha was very patient and found her opening, while Shevchenko made Holm come looking for her.
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