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UFC 203: Miocic vs Overeem / CM Punk's debut


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I know we've still got 202 to come but, fuck it, I want to start talking about this show. And with a certain Mr Punk involved, it's probably worth getting this thread up and running now.


September 10th in Cleveland, Ohio...





Stipe Miocic vs Alistair Overeem - Heavyweight Title

Fabricio Werdum vs Travis Browne

CM Punk vs Mickey Gall

Urijah Faber vs Jimmie Rivera

Joanne Calderwood vs Jessica Andrade



Jessica Eye vs Bethe Correia

Nik Lentz vs Michael McBride

Caio Magalhaes vs Brad Tavares

CB Dollaway vs Francimar Barroso



Yancy Medeiros vs Sean Spencer

Drew Dober vs Jason Gonzalez


That bout order's probably wrong, I'll edit as and when the lineup is made official.


Righty then. It's probably got a tough act to follow in 202, but I really like the look of this card. There's a bunch of stuff I like on this one. And there's that CM Punk thing happening. Maybe. If he makes it through training camp in one piece.




Miocic vs Overeem is about as high level as heavyweight MMA gets in 2016. This is a very intriguing one. Both have knockout power, both are well rounded, both are athletic and are as technical as they are dangerous. I love this matchup.


Miocic is 15-2 in MMA. His only losses are to JDS (in a razor close decision) and Stefan Struve (fairly early in Stipe's career). He's coming into this fight on a 3 fight streak of wins over Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovski and Fabricio Werdum. And he stopped all of them.




That's Werdum after Miocic got done with him. Or is it me on my bathroom floor on New Year's? Werdum made the error of charging at Miocic and getting over aggressive and Miocic switched his lights out with a big counter right hand. Stipe Miocic is the new UFC heavyweight champion of the world. And if you didn't get that straight away, Stipe made it clear for you by shouting 'I'M THE WORLD CHAMPION!' over and and over again after the knockout.




He's been going a bit Tim Sylvia with the belt as well. The UFC are doing him no favours with his first defence though.




Alistair Overeem has won pretty much every major heavyweight title but the UFC belt. There he is with the K-1, Strikeforce and DREAM straps. He was collecting titles like they were Pokemon in the late 2000s. Then he came to the UFC. He battered Brock Lesnar then got embroiled in a PED scandal and, after he started getting tested regularly, he also started getting KO'd regularly. Bigfoot Silva, Travis Browne, Ben Rothwell...they all laid him out. Overeem became one of the biggest busts in UFC history. From a superstar who absolutely reeked of money in 2011 when the UFC signed him to on the arse of his career by 2013.


Bit by bit though, he's clawed it back. It took a few years but he's finally putting everything together and finding consistency now. He's won his last 4 fights, including stoppage wins over the 2 men who beat Miocic. He's rattled off wins over Stefan Struve, Roy Nelson, JDS and Andrei Arlovski. And he finished all but Nelson. The KO over JDS was particularly impressive with Overeem showing a more patient and strategic style than he used to.


Miocic vs Overeem promo;




You know when you just get a strong gut feeling about a fight? I'm thinking Overeem is adding another title to his collection here. Miocic's a beast but I just think Overeem has the style and overall game to cause him nightmares.




Werdum vs Rothwell is another interesting heavyweight clash. And I'm guessing it's no accident that this fight has landed on the Miocic-Overeem card. If one of the main eventers drops out, you've got 2 heavyweights ready to go who have been training to peak for Sep 10. Smart move by the UFC. It's a funny fight to predict. Neither are massively consistent. Skills-wise I'd say Werdum is definitely the superior fighter. He's a better grappler and a better striker IMO. But I dunno, Rothwell is that guy you can never count out. He's just enough mix of size, skill and craziness to make him really dangerous. A KO over Overeem and a submission over Josh Barnett back that up.


It's finally happening...




CM Punk is making his UFC debut. Well, he's supposed to be. Don't hold your breath or anything. I don't even know what to make of this, to be honest. I've kind of gone full circle on it at this point. When the rumours started in late 2014 that Punk was possibly UFC bound I thought it was a silly joke too far. Then in December 2014 at UFC 181 it was made official, with Joe Rogan and Punk announcing live on PPV that he was now a UFC fighter.




I started getting used to the idea. We're in an era now where the UFC's schedule and international expansion is such that they're holding so many cards that they're hiring more fighters than ever. Which means the threshold to get into the UFC is lower than ever. There's been a bunch of fighters signed over the last couple of years who had just 1 or 2 pro fights to their name. Proper nobodies as well. Gone are the days when you'd tune into a UFC PPV and you'd know every single fighter from the first prelim to the main event. So my attitude was, if they're signing these MMA novices, at least Punk's a name novice. Fuck it.


He started training at a top gym, Roufusport in Milwaukee, under Duke Roufus. The same gym that the likes of Anthony Pettis, Sergio Pettis, Ben Askren and Dustin Ortiz train at. But with each month that passed, there was very little info coming out on Punk's progress. And whenever anything did come out, it wasn't exactly positive.




The talk always seemed to imply that, while he showed dedication, he wasn't progressing like Roufus expected. And, for what it's worth, Michael Bisping said in a radio interview that he'd heard that Punk had had 16 'smokers' or 'test fights' in the gym...and lost 15 of them!


He also started picking up injuries and his UFC debut, originally planned for 2015, kept getting delayed to the point I pretty much stopped giving a shit if it ever even happened.


In February, we found out who his first opponent would be when 24 year old Mickey Gall beat Mike Jackson. Gall had been on Dana White's 'Looking For A Fight' show and had called out Punk on there. He's now 2-0 in MMA with 2 submission victories and he trains with UFC veterans Jim and Dan Miller in New Jersey. He looks quite promising from bits I've seen but, with just 2 fights, it's too early to tell.




Punk got in the octagon after Gall's win to congratulate him and the fight was pencilled in for UFC 199 in June. Until just days later, Punk pulled out to have back surgery.




Lifting up Ariel Helwani must've done his back.


Anyway, the fight is back on and set for Sep 10th. Hopefully it happens this time and we can put this to bed one way or the other.


Punk vs Gall promo...




I'm fully expecting this fight to get cancelled again. And at 37, if that happens Punk might as well just sack the idea off and either go into MMA announcing or go back to Vince McMahon with his straight edge tail between his straight edge legs.




Lentz vs Taisumov is a quality fight. Lentz is a high level grappler who isn't shy about trading strikes either. His two fights with Charles Oliveira were fantastic, if you haven't seen them and have Fight Pass handy, give them a look. And Taisumov is a little terror coming off 4 KO/TKO wins in a row. Can see this one stealing the show. Hence why it's ***WAND'S ONE TO WATCH*** on this card. Looking forward to seeing how they match up.




Eye vs Correia should be a good fight. It's a bit of a must win though. Especially for Eye, who is 0-3 in her last 3 and 1-4 in her last 5. She's got skills as well but she just hasn't been able to translate it into wins in the UFC. Correia is also coming off 2 losses but one was to Ronda Rousey and she was 9-0 before that so she might get a bit more leeway than Eye. I think Eye could well be off to Invicta with another loss here.




Faber vs Rivera will probably headline the FS1 prelims, I'm guessing. Just seems like a good fit. Faber once again finds himself in the familiar position of trying to rebuild himself after coming up short in a title fight. I honestly thought he might just retire after losing the trilogy to Cruz in June, but here we are again with him taking on another dangerous, high risk-low reward fight. Got to hand it to him. Not many established names like him would keep taking these risky no name fights. And Rivera sounds decent. 19-1 with wins over Iuri Alcantara, Pedro Munhoz and Marcus Brimage. Nothing spectacular but it's a strong start to any MMA career.




Calderwood vs Andrade is a fight I'm expecting to be entertaining but also a bit uncomfortable to watch. I've got a feeling Calderwood is getting fucked up here. I really like Calderwood and I'd love to see her make a real run in the UFC but I just can't see it happening. She's a really strong striker offensively but her defence lets her down and her grappling just isn't up to par. And in Jessica Andrade she's fighting a little buzzsaw ball of aggression. Calderwood will have the reach but I just see Andrade bulling forward and smashing her to bits. She's looked a right handful at strawweight so far. And she's a pretty solid grappler as well with a nasty ground and pound game. All added up, I think Calderwood's in for a rough night.


The rest isn't getting my nipples hard, to be honest but I guess there could be some pleasant surprises there.

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I think the Punk fight goes ahead and he does ok for awhile, better than people think and he holds his own for a round or so, then is knocked out. Then he retires blaming injuries.


Then he starts doing all the fight breakdown stuff on Fox TV, giving us his expert MMA opinion from now until forever.


He would probably still do a better job and won't annoy me as much as Robin Black does though.

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If Punk loses his 1 and only fight then how on Gods green earth can he be giving his opinion on anything without constantly being dismissed.

Even if he wins it would be berserk for him to start spouting off. There is defiantly a roll for Punk after fight/fights in the UFC but it's not a analyst of any sort. 

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That's the thing, the thinking seems to be 'well if he gets battered they can just give him an announcing gig' but I'm not even sure where he'd fit in with that. They've got analysts coming out their arse these days. Good ones like Cruz, Hardy, Rashad etc. Punk would stick out like a sore thumb next to them. They don't need a backstage interviewer/reporter because they've already got the #1 man in MMA at that, Ariel Helwani. They've already got Jon Anik and Karyn Bryant presenting their other stuff on FS1 like the weigh in coverage and stuff.


It's not even a thing about him not being a successful fighter for me. Ariel Helwani is about as hard as Mr Bean but he still knows his shit. And Joe Rogan wasn't an MMA fighter either. If Punk loses a fight that doesn't necessarily mean he can't do some colour commentating or whatever and be good at it. He's clearly a huge MMA fan and a good speaker so you'd think he'd be a logical fit for something like that. But I just don't know where he'd fit in. They've never had more options for announcers than they have now. He's not really needed in any role, is he?

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Whilst there's no denying that Ariel is the best backstage interviewer, he's not with FOX or the UFC anymore. He just does his own thing for MMAFighting. If they want an interviewer on-screen then Punk could fit that role.

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there's always hosting Fight Pass related documentaries, there's loads of avenues for Punk.


I hope Punk has a go in the fight though, i genuinely do believe he's out of his depth but if he can at least put up some kind of fight it'll be a triumph of some kind.


The one thing im preparing for is the backlash from fans regarding his technique. Most fans are so conditioned to seeing legit pro fighters fight that they believe anyone who fights will automatically have the technique down. Punk probably looks the part hitting the bag but in a real life situation i imagine it'll all look sloppy as hell.

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This card on paper is one of the best of the year. At least in my mind.


Really fancy Overeem to pick up a win here, Stipe is a decent fighter but I feel Overeem really has developed the skills to put him away. He seems to be doing a good job of engaging in battles, landing punches and avoiding getting hit.


Gall vs Punk is a fun fight for what it is. A spectacle, yeah it might be a spectacle along the lines of a car crash but it's still going to be rather intriguing.

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Gone with Overeem by KO, Rothwell by KO and Gall by Sub in the poll.


I can see Overeem stopping Miocic with knees. If you look at Miocic's past fights, he usually tries to go the wrestling route when he's in there with a really good striker. He took down Mark Hunt repeatedly and just grounded and pounded the life out of him. Even earlier in his career he went that route against Shane Del Rosario when the striking was going against him. And I think he'd have wrestled a lot more in the JDS fight if JDS's takedown defence wasn't so good. I really don't think he'll fancy standing and trading with Overeem. But Overeem's got strong takedown defence and, if you get too close that's where he's extra dangerous with his guillotine and his clinch. I see Stipe fucking about in clinch range too much and getting kneed into oblivion. We'll see. Overeem's still got that dodgy chin. And Miocic can crack. Overeem's got better at protecting/hiding that chin lately but I'm still not confident if he takes a dig. But yeah, Overeem via knees of doom.


I reckon Rothwell might catch Werdum early. Thinking about the fight, I just struggle to see how Werdum really tackles it. The sheer size of Rothwell probably makes grappling with him a bit more difficult, even if you're Fabricio Werdum. If Werdum can get him down he should have his way, don't get me wrong. But how does he get the big lump down without getting clobbered on the way in?


And I've got this feeling Punk's fight is going to be a complete disaster. The fact it's all gone so quiet isn't a good sign IMO. And if training has gone as shit as we've heard then Punk's probably going to come in with his confidence shook. And Gall is going to be fancying the job. I think Punk's one and done here. I reckon Gall tags him a few times on the feet, stuns him, Punk panics and tries to grapple and Gall submits him within a round.


I'm actually conflicted because part of me wants to see Punk win. As said, the reaction from the pro wrestling haters would be gold. And I was a wrestling fan before I was an MMA fan so I always like to see wrestlers do well in MMA. But...I find Punk so hard to like I can't say I wouldn't enjoy seeing him get a slap.

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a part of me thinks the silence from the Roufus camp is a good thing, everyone assumes its because he's not doing well but actual proof is vague. Who knows how he's doing? if it was that bad im not even sure they'd have let him fight.

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Maybe you're right but I think it's probably gone past that point now. They've put too much time in and Punk strikes me as too stubborn and egotistical to back out now.


I hope you're right. The last thing I want to see is someone going in there out of their depth and getting hurt. But I just can't see it. He looks decent in the grappling clips I've seen, moves well etc, but there's a world of difference between rolling about in the gym with the Gracies and then getting in the cage and mixing in strikes, a live crowd and all the pressure and adrenaline that comes with it. I've seen people acting like his WWE experience will offset the adrenaline/pressure but, while it'll probably help a bit because the crowd will be nothing new to him, it's surely a different type of pressure? In WWE he was going in the ring to work with his opponent. Here he's going into a cage and the guy in the opposite corner wants to smash his face in. If the test fights thing is true, then I don't see how he'll have made significant gains since then. He's 37 years old with zero MMA experience (them saying he has a "background in Kenpo" isn't going to cut it) and a history of injuries. If he wins this fight then he'll have overachieved massively IMO. The odds are stacked against him.

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We've totally been spoiled this year with the cards they've put out. 201 was them calming down a bit, but for the most part it's been nothing but can't miss PPVs, which should always be the aim. This card, of course, continues this.


Miocic v Overeem is an incredible match up, for all the reasons wand pointed out. Absolutely no idea who wins, because both men have incredible weapons. Overeem is about as elite as a heavyweight striker gets and has now combined that with a ninja-like ability to avoid danger, but he's shown plenty of times that he doesn't have the best chin in the division and Stipe seems to have habit of capitalising on any openings with devastating effect. Although, I can see and hope Stipe takes note of how he handled Mark Hunt and avoided any damage from such an top striker. Who knows, can't wait.


Logically, Punk's probably well below an acceptable level and should be fighting fat nothings, like Batista did that one time. I've always admired Punk for doing this because he can make an easier living than the fight game. 

Nobody with a bit of sense fancied him much when he signed and I don't think that's changed, but we truly won't know until he's in there and we'll see hoe comfortable he is in the cage and whether or not he freaks out Lesnar style when somebody dares to hit him.

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