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UFC 213: Romero vs Whittaker


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Rolling on and we return to PPV on Saturday 8th July in Vegas. And it's a good one. 



Yoel Romero vs Robert Whittaker - Interim Middleweight Title

Fabricio Werdum vs Alistair Overeem

Daniel Omielanczuk vs Curtis Blaydes

Anthony Pettis vs Jim Miller

Rob Font vs Douglas Silva De Andrade 


Travis Browne vs Oleksiy Oliynyk

Chad Laprise vs Brian Camozzi  

Thiago Santos vs Gerald Meerschaert

Jordan Mein vs Belal Muhammad 


Cody Stamman vs Terrion Ware

James Bochnovic vs Trevin Giles



Originally this was the date being targeted for the big Bisping vs GSP fight. That fell through, as did the Cody Garbrandt vs TJ Dillashaw fight. But all things considered, I think they've done a great job keeping together a fantastic card. 



Nunes vs Shevchenko 2 is your main event. Yeah, it's no Bisping vs GSP and it doesn't have the hype of Cody vs TJ. It should be quality though. 


They first met back in March 2016 at UFC 196. They opened the PPV main card. The main event that night was Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz 1. To date, McGregor's lone UFC loss. So understandably, the Nunes vs Shevchenko fight didn't exactly get much play in the MMA media following the event. 

It was a good fight though, I thought. I watched it again fairly recently. Nunes started off strong as always and put a beating on Shevchenko early. But Shevchenko was able to weather the storm to the point she won the third round and Nunes looked to be fading. Ultimately though, Nunes won the decision, having taken the first two rounds handily. But Shevchenko showed she's a serious contender.

Of all Nunes' career wins, Shevchenko is the only woman she couldn't finish. 


Following that fight, Nunes' career skyrocketed. She won the UFC bantamweight title at UFC 200, smashing and submitting Miesha Tate in 3 minutes. 


She followed that up by defending her title at UFC 207 in December, absolutely battering the returning Ronda Rousey to a TKO in 48 seconds! Rousey hasn't been heard from since. 

Nunes is the woman to beat now. She had a year in 2016 that fighters dream of. She went 3-0, main evented the milestone UFC 200 event, won the title and destroyed the two biggest female stars in her division in back to back fights, in a combined 4 or so minutes. It was a good year. 

Shevchenko rebounded from the loss to Nunes by outpointing Holly Holm in July, and then armbarring Julianna Pena in January this year. Both fights were main events on Big FOX so it was great exposure for her. Add to that she's got an extensive kickboxing background with over 60 fights, including 3 wins over Joanna Jedrzejczyk! She's gone overlooked long enough. Valentina Shevchenko is a bad woman. 

The rematch was a no-brainer and was made official for UFC 213. 


Things got surprisingly heated between the two at the big Summer Kickoff press conference. They'd been trading trash talk, pretty bad trash talk. A Brazilian and a Russian garbling away in broken English. But at least they tried, I suppose. It's neither of their strong suit though. But I was surprised how aggressive they were in the face off. 

Really looking forward to this fight a lot. It obviously won't get anywhere near the hype that Nunes vs Rousey got but this is a way better actual fight. Nunes' confidence must be at an all time high but Shevchenko is no joke. She was clearly the fresher fighter by the third round of their first fight. And this time it's 5 rounds. I think she's tough and crafty enough to possibly drag Nunes into deep water here. And I fancy her to hold up better in the championship rounds. Getting there is another matter but I think if she can, she might well leave with the gold. Very interesting one. 



Romero vs Whittaker, well it's going to be absolute fucking chaos, isn't it? Hence why it's this card's ***WAND'S ONE TO WATCH***. This was a late addition to the card when Cody vs TJ fell out. I love the sound of this fight. 


That's Yoel Romero in his last fight, crushing Chris Weidman with a brutal flying knee at UFC 205 in November. Look at Weidman there. All folded up like a crash test dummy. In his hometown of New York as well. Poor prick. Yoel then got up and marched around the octagon as the crowd at MSG stood looking on in amazement, Weidman sat trying to hold his face together and fucking Madonna stood up giving Yoel a much deserved round of applause. Crazy scenes. 

He was the nailed on number one contender after that. And his utterly mental post-fight promo on the champ Michael Bisping just cemented it further. The fight had to happen. But then GSP, and Bisping's injuries cocked everything right up. His title shot was put on ice. He'd have to wait :( 


In the meantime, another contender emerged. As Kiwi KO artist Robert Whittaker knocked out Derek Brunson in November and then also stopped Jacare Souza in a stunning upset on FOX in April. 

With Bisping on the shelf, this fight makes sense. Again, not a fan of the UFC management's interim title fetish these days but whatever. This is a hell of a fight and at least the interim title should guarantee the winner of this gets the next crack at Bisping. If interim titles are good for anything it's that they make the holder pretty much the mandatory next contender and it's harder to pass them over and give someone else the shot. 


The title's going to end up where it belongs sooner or later. This is all just delaying the inevitable. 



Werdum vs Overeem 3 then. It's not exactly a trilogy decider people were crying out for. I think most MMA fans would say they could've lived without seeing it. But I don't mind this. Neither guy is in the title picture right now but a big win here could put them right back in that mix. 

Werdum won the first fight by submission via kimura. It was on one of the Pride Grand Prix cards in 2006 and was decent from what I remember. 

The rematch was shit though. That was in 2011 in Strikeforce. Overeem won a decision and it was one of the worst fights of the year. Just awful. 

Hopefully this one will be good. I'm hoping that the chance to get the last laugh in the trilogy will motivate them both to go for it. Plus, neither are spring chickens now. They can't be pissing about at this stage in the game. They need to be going out and looking impressive if they want back in the title shot conversation. 

One thing that I think is cool about this fight though - when it's over, the Werdum vs Overeem trilogy will have seen them fight in Pride, Strikeforce and the UFC. I don't recall any other MMA trilogy spanning those 3 organisations before. If I'm wrong, correct me. 



Pettis vs Miller could be awesome. There's always the chance that gunshy Pettis turns up here but I think Miller's aggression won't really allow for that. Pettis will be forced to fight or he'll just get overwhelmed. Jim Miller don't fuck about. This is Pettis' return to lightweight after missing weight at 145 and getting battered by Max Holloway in December. Pettis has to make something happen here. He's lost 4 of his last 5. How the mighty have fallen. 



Browne vs Oliynyk should be a fun heavyweight scrap. Like with Pettis, Travis Browne needs to start putting together some wins. And fast. He's 2-5 in his last 7 fights and has lost his last 3 in a row. He's got skills but for whatever reason it doesn't translate into results in the cage. Oliynyk is an experienced journeyman who's had a few nice wins (most notably over Cro Cop in 2013). He's won 12 of his last 13 fights and finished his last fight in January with an Ezekiel choke. He's decent enough but let's be honest, Stipe Miocic isn't waking up in a cold sweat worrying about him. I'm interested to see how Oliynyk does here though. Browne's had his ups and downs but he's surely the toughest opponent Oliynyk's had in the UFC to date. It's a step up for him and a step down for Browne so we'll hopefully get an idea where these two stand. 


Mein vs Muhammad is most likely going to be a really good fight. Both guys tend to leave it all out there, can't see it being any different this time. 

I like Alan Jouban. Good fighter and seems a nice bloke. He's trying to bounce back from a one sided loss to Gunnar Nelson on the London card in March. 

Thiago Santos usually has entertaining fights, win or lose. He TKO'd Welshman Jack Marshman in his last fight in February. That win snapped a 2 fight losing streak. 

That's about your lot. 



So a very, very strong looking show IMO. I'd rank this close to 211 in Dallas myself. I think the main event is the most interesting and challenging fight out there for Nunes at 135. I think Romero vs Whittaker and Lawler vs Cerrone are all out wars just waiting to happen. I think Pettis vs Miller has legit show stealer potential. Werdum vs Overeem and Browne vs Oliynyk I could go either way on, not sure what we're in store for there but can't see either fight going the distance. Corker of a card. 

And that's all folks. 

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I think Oleksiy Oliynyk is real dark horse in the heavyweight division and I'm looking forward to watching him tie Brown up in knots. Anthony Pettis' star has really fallen. He goes from tapping out Benson Henderson and Gilbert Melendez in consecutive fights, to going 1-4 and looking like nothing too special. It's as if RDA didn't just take his title; he also took the fight from right out of him.

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Oliynyk comes across to me as as the kind of guy that's gonna come unstuck against an athletic heavyweight...which is what Travis Browne is. Still, given Brown's recent downfall he might get sucked into a slow, grinding death on the ground. Oliynik has 42 submission wins, there can't be too many more fighters with that many subs can there?

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Yeah, I think Rogan was saying that around 2014. After Browne had KO'd Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett both inside a round. It's easy to shit on that in hindsight but at the time, especially after the scary KO on Barnett, I think we all thought Browne was probably going to at least challenge for the belt. 

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Oh i'm not trying to shit on Rogan, I'm merely saying it's mad to think this guy was being talked about as being as title contender a few years back and now is in a 3 fight losing streak (and lost 4 out of his last 5) and is now ranked #10 and honeslty looks to be on his way out of UFC unless he can turn things around pretty quickly 

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Always a stellar job with the write-ups, Wand. UFC 213 is shaping up to be a great one.

*Touch wood in case of injuries*

I'm going to have to go back and watch that first Nunes vs. Shevchenko fight. UFC 196 was a big event, not just with what was happening, but what I did for it- travelled down the coast to watch it with my mum and best mate at the beachside pub on a massive screen. Massive crowd, all there for Conor, and honestly all I can recall from it is the Conor fight and Tate choking the fuck out of Holm to claim the title (and then retire 9 months later. MMA is a crazy sport). But Nunes is a killer and I hope she can somehow cross over to become a real draw and a major star. You'd think first round finishes of Tate and Rousey, in two of the biggest events of 2016 (speaks to how spoiled we were in 2016 to not be able to definitively call them the biggest), would make Amanda Nunes a superstar, but no dice. Hell of a fighter though. I'm guilty myself of not paying much attention to her at all until she smashed Tate, so I've got no idea how she reacts to adversity. If Shevchenko took her to decision, that fight and this upcoming main event rematch should be very intriguing. 

Of course, the main interest for me lies in Romero vs. Whittaker. Whittaker may be a "Kiwi KO artist", but he moved to Australia at a month old. Even though he reps both nations due to his heritage, it's almost like calling Kane Spanish. All that aside, he's a hell of a prospect and now contender. To remain as calm and focused as he did with Brunson charging him shows a great mentality and fight IQ, and his technical ability in avoiding Jacare's ground game and brutalising him in the stand-up was wonderful. His UFC losses at welterweight.. the split decision against Court McGee was a bad call, I thought, but fair play to Stephen Thompson, he caught Rob with that crazy spinning Tekken shit. At least Romero doesn't have that in his arsenal.

I'm a big Romero fan too, even through Stoolgate and all that. He's exciting as fuck to watch. Whoever wins, Bisping is getting obliterated. I'll be supporting Whittaker 110%, but it's guaranteed excitement however it goes.

I'll give the other main card fights some thoughts as we get closer to them (the concise version- I love them all), but the preview posts do a fantastic job of bringing prelim fights to my attention that I otherwise wouldn't have been aware of... Jordan Mein vs. Belal Muhammad?!? Muhammad was in one of my favourite overlooked fights of last year with Alan Jouban... wait, Jouban's on this fucker too???

Take my money, UFC, take my money.

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Wand - myself and a few of the lads got together and we just wanted to say thanks for starting these threads for every event - it's a great way to get the discussion started & give us a background on the fights. I know we don't say it enough, but we love you. You're a credit to The Board.

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+1 for the wand write-ups.  Always great. 

I think the main card surpasses 211 even in terms of top to bottom strength, though that event had some seriously fucking good prelims too.  The male 135 title would have made it great - bumping one of the lower fights onto a very good set of preliminaries.  Never mind though, lets hope all the fights stay together. 

Miller vs Pettis is pretty interesting.  Miller lost a majority decision to Dustin Poirier in a brutally fun fight at 208 in February and if he can prevent the takedowns, it could spell another bad night for Pettis. A loss here would make it 4 losses from his last 5 fight, albeit against top fights, he can't be many more consecutive losses away from becoming an also ran. 

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