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UFC 222: Cyborg vs Kunitskaya


wandshogun09
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This one almost completely fell apart but we're back in Vegas on Saturday 3rd March for UFC 222.

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PPV MAIN CARD
Cris Cyborg vs Yana Kunitskaya - Featherweight Title

Frankie Edgar vs Brian Ortega 

Sean O'Malley vs Andre Soukhamthath 

Stefan Struve vs Andrei Arlovski 

Cat Zingano vs Ketlen Vieira

 

FOX SPORTS 1 PRELIMS
Mackenzie Dern vs Ashley Yoder   

Beneil Dariush vs Alexander Hernandez 

John Dodson vs Pedro Munhoz 

Hector Lombard vs CB Dollaway

 

FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Mike Pyle vs Zak Ottow 

Bryan Caraway vs Cody Stamann

Jordan Johnson vs Adam Milstead

 

It's never ideal when half your PPV headliner is a 'some fucker' but, all things considered, I think they've done a good job holding together a strong card here. Overall it's better than I thought. 

 

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Cyborg vs Kunitskaya then. Like I said, this fight was cobbled together at the last minute when the original Max Holloway vs Frankie Edgar main event fell out. This will be Cyborg's second defence of her UFC belt. She's 19-1-1 overall in her MMA career, she hasn't lost since her debut back in 2005 and she's 4-0 in the UFC now. Undoubtedly the most dominant and scary female fighter on the planet. She's coming off an impressive points win over Holly Holm at UFC 219 in December. Probably the most competitive fight in her MMA career to date, and she still mostly bossed it. Holm was the first opponent to go the distance with Cyborg since 2008! And she was the first to go 5 rounds with her. Cyborg is just that much of a wrecking machine. 

Yana Kunitskaya is the unknown element here. She's Russian, 28 years old, fights out of Jackson-Wink in Albuquerque, 10-3-1 record. She's got a Tae Kwon Do background, which I'm not sure we've seen Cyborg face before. She's fought for Invicta, M-1, Lion Fights, ACB and K-1. I think I've seen her fight once maybe. She could be decent. But it's pretty clear at this point that it's going to take a lot more than 'decent' to stop Cyborg's reign of terror. 

 

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Edgar vs Ortega is ***WAND'S ONE TO WATCH*** as well as your 222 co-main event. I fucking love this fight. Frankie's been one of my favourites forever and Ortega is one of my favourites of the new wave. I hate that one of them has to lose but they should match up for a hell of a fight. Edgar doesn't lose unless you're something special. He's got 5 losses in his career, coming to 3 different guys. Prime Aldo, Benson Henderson when he was at his peak and Gray Maynard when he was a beast. Edgar's beat everyone else. People are always looking to count Edgar out or declare him to be old or on the decline or whatever but he showed in his complete dismantling of Yair Rodriguez last time out that he's got plenty left in the tank.

Ortega is another bright prospect who Frankie is going to have to try to derail. He's undefeated at 13-0-1, he's a BJJ black-belt, still only 26 years old. He's got so much potential. I've been singing his praises for ages on here. He's not only really skilled, his always entertaining to watch fight as well. He's fought 6 times in the UFC and there hasn't been a dull moment yet. He's finished all his fights and, although BJJ is his bread and butter, he's not just a grappler. He's up for throwing hands and he's got a chin on him. He's just got a way of pulling submissions out of nowhere. He had a breakout 2017 as well. He had a tremendous fight with Renato Moicano on the Cormier vs Jones 2 undercard. Then he submitted Cub Swanson in a December Fight Night main event in what was his biggest win to date. 

This is a great, great fight. If Ortega pulls this off he's elite. You beat Frankie Edgar and you're a top guy, end of. In that sense Ortega has everything to gain here and Edgar has everything to lose. If Frankie wins he's where he was before. Fighting Holloway for the title. If Ortega wins he steals Edgar's title shot. 
 

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O'Malley vs Soukhamthath will probably be fun. Sean O'Malley is 9-0 and gained notoriety from appearing on Dana White's Contender Series and scoring a huge knockout that had Dana, Snoop Dogg etc jizzing themselves dry. He's definitely someone that might be worth keeping an eye on. Still only 23 as well. Soukhamthath has had a few UFC fights, I know I've seen him before but can't remember much. He's 12-5 but hasn't been stopped yet. 

 

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Struve vs Arlovski was originally co-main on this show, which went down a storm on here, before the card imploded and had to be rebuilt. I actually like this fight, it just had no business as a PPV co-main in 2018. Struve comes into this fight off a September stoppage loss to Alexander Volkov. Before that he'd rattled off 2 finishes over Daniel Omielanczuk and Bigfoot Silva. He's 28-9 now and he's been through the wars. He's basically a 7ft Joe Lauzon. He's battered. Hard to believe he's only just about to turn 30. He's been knocking around forever. Speaking of which, Arlovski is hanging by a thread. He's 39 years old and has looked on his last legs for some time now. He did win his last fight against Junior Albini (the nappy wearer) but before that he'd lost 5 on the bounce. Even in a division as unpredictable and unique as heavyweight, you just know these two are never getting in title contention at this stage of the game. But I still think there's a good fight to be had here. 

 

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Zingano vs Vieira is a very interesting fight. I'm guessing most will look at these two names together and assume Cat Zingano wins this. But one, Zingano hasn't fought since UFC 200 back in July 2016. Two, she hasn't won since 2014. And three, Ketlen Vieira is underrated and undefeated. I'm a huge Zingano fan. I'd love to see her come back in style here. She's had so many setbacks and injuries it's ridiculous. And at 35, while she's not ancient or anything, she could do with getting shit done now. The division could do with her going on a run now. She holds a TKO win over the current champion Amanda Nunes. So a couple of standout performances and that's an easy rematch to sell. But like I said, Vieira is nobody to overlook. She's 9-0, a BJJ black-belt and submitted Sara McMann in September. Tricky fight for Cat to come back to after a near 2 year hiatus. 

 

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Mackenzie Dern finally steps foot inside the Octagon. She's long been thought of as one of the most exciting young prospects in female MMA. She's 24 years old, 5-0 in MMA and she's a BJJ black-belt and former ADCC world champion. She's a serious grappler. One thing of concern though is that she's already missed weight at strawweight twice. So that's not good. Hopefully she's got that under control. She's got a long way to go as a complete mixed martial artist but there's lots of potential there and she's young enough that time is on her side. Yoder is 5-3 and has lost her last 2 fights. Very much feels like the UFC trying to ease Dern in gently here but you just never know. 

 

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Green vs Dariush might be the sleeper FOTN on this show for me, actually. I've been saying for ages that Bobby Green is frustrating to watch and fights hot and cold. But in fairness he's looked pretty good lately. He beat Erik Koch in his most recent fight a few weeks back and had an awesome fight with Lando Vannata before that that ended on a draw. And Dariush is overlooked but he's beat some real good fighters like Jim Miller, James Vick and Michael Johnson. Tough guy, strong ground game. I like how these two match up. 

 

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Dodson vs Munhoz was meant to go down on the Machida vs Anders card in Brazil the other week but Munhoz missed weight and Dodson refused to fight him at a catchweight. I hope it happens this time and I hope Munhoz smacks Dodson's annoying face off. 

 

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Lombard vs Dollaway could be good but really, fuck knows with Lombard anymore. He's lost so much of his monster aura since USADA effectively neutered him. He's gone 0-4 since USADA got him, and has been finished in 3 of those 4 losses. He still looks dangerous whenever he attacks but he just can't sustain it like he used to. I can't stand Dollaway but he's tough, durable and relentless. And he's always well conditioned. On paper he's typical post-USADA Lombard kryptonite. We'll see. Lombard can probably still catch a lot of guys and put them out. 

 

I actually really like this card. There's a little bit of something to cover all tastes there, in my opinion. A dominant champ in Cyborg, a killer fight in Edgar vs Ortega, an intriguing young standout in Sean O'Malley, a heavyweight slugfest in Struve vs Arlovski, the return of Cat Zingano, the debut of Mackenzie Dern. Bit of everything. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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yeh, liking this but its a piss-poor PPV. Cyborg has been thrown on to give it some name value but its a showcase fight, nothing more, nothing less.

Edgar/Ortega is a great fight, thats the "real" headliner for me.

I dont think any of the other 3 warrant a PPV slot. I do like the inclusion of O'Malley though, kids got something about him.

UFC are going through a bit of a weird phase.

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It's definitely weak for a PPV. But as we're not paying PPV for it and there's enough on the card that I like, it doesn't make much difference to me. I might have a different opinion if I was in America and had to pay though. 

7 hours ago, Egg Shen said:

UFC are going through a bit of a weird phase.

This is something I've been thinking for a while now but I can't put my finger on what it is or how to vocalise it. There's just a different feel to the UFC these days. There's no shortage of great fights. 2017 was full of incredible fights, finishes, breakout performances and all that good stuff. But I don't know if it's since the new ownership took over or what, it just seems like they're going through the motions. Just chucking events together and throwing them out there because the schedule requires it. They don't really invest any extra time into promoting anything or anyone who's not already popular, we've had the same graphics and poster formula forever, the interim title Groundhog Day situation is getting worse and worse. I don't know if it's a case of them not being able to keep up with their own schedule of events or something but there's just something a bit lazy and can't be arsed about the whole UFC vibe over the last 6 months or so for me. 

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im telling you, a big factor is the lack of Dana White around the events. Lots of people complained when he was around and wanted him out of the way (including people here) but his presence and input to events always added something extra. Its all abit safe and routine at the moment.

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If the UFC are going to create more buzz around their events, I would rather they came up with something that doesn't involve Dana. I wouldn't mind someone else being the UFC's energetic salesman, but I would rather it be someone fresher and more likeable. Eddie Hearn would be ideal, but that's never going to happen. 

I live in my own bubble when it comes to MMA. I pick and choose which cards and fights I view, based on nothing other than my own personal preference, and sometimes stuff I have read on here or Sherdog (the site, not the forum). I do watch complete main cards occasionally, but most of the time I just catch the highlights or read what happened. For example, I will be setting my alarm for 4am tomorrow morning, so I tune in just in time for Hunt vs Blaydes. It's the same routine I do for most boxing cards that air in North America. 

Given this, I generally really enjoy my MMA viewing. What I watch I generally enjoy, or at least care about. As stated, the UFC are putting some great fights together. Miocic vs Ngannou, Rockhold vs Romero, and Khabib vs Tony (fingers crossed) are/were all must-see in my eyes. Little hype needed. The names alone are enough. The UFC's presentation has never really been my cup of tea - so any laziness in that respect doesn't strike a chord with me. I agree that the promotion isn't run that well these days. They have gone interim title crazy. Although, they did do a great job hyping Ngannou. 

Edited by jimufctna24
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A lovely card this, much better than what was originally penciled in before Holloway got ruled out.

Intrigued especially about how Cyborg's drawing power stands up. Her fight with Holm really exceeded expectations if I recall, so it'll be interesting from a business perspective definitely to see if a large chunk of that buy rate can be attributed to Cyborg, or if it was just the "dream WMMA fight" billing that it was being promoted as. 

I hope she wins in a round mind. I'm all for her being the ultimate fighting boss, it's a nice change from the whirlwind of titles we've got flying around these days. I think she will win as well, convincingly. I know you can't utilise MMA Maths all the time, and I haven't actually seen it, but Kunitskaya got beaten by Evinger, who Cyborg battered for three rounds.

War Cyborg!

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The positioning of that O'Malley fight is just odd. I didn't watch the contender stuff and so consequently the third slot on a PPV has two fighters I've barely heard of. This is another miss for me. One great fight and then some mildly interesting stuff around it. 

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22 minutes ago, Chunk said:

This is another miss for me. One great fight and then some mildly interesting stuff around it. 

I'm actually the opposite, I think there's enough decent fights to make me watch this one from the very beginning, which is something I've not done for a while.

Pyle and Caraway fighting on the FightPass segment, every fight on the FOX part of the card has my interest, and the only fight on the PPV section that isn't really catching my eye is the Zingano fight.

Granted, I wouldn't actually pay for the event, but then I probably wouldn't pay for most of their events anyway, especially at the PPV prices they charge.

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On 11 February 2018 at 11:29 AM, AdamTH17 said:

I know you can't utilise MMA Maths all the time, and I haven't actually seen it, but Kunitskaya got beaten by Evinger, who Cyborg battered for three rounds.

Kunitskaya and Evinger actually fought twice and Kunitskaya submitted her with an armbar the first time. But there was some controversy over a referee's call which led directly to the submission so they did the rematch and Evinger won. The MMA maths thing, as always, doesn't really tell us anything here but stylistically Cyborg vs Kunitskaya is a different fight to what Cyborg vs Evinger was. Evinger was pretty much purely a grappler, she's not very athletic, she's tough but she doesn't have a strong takedown or any real striking game to speak of, and she's also 36 years old. Kunitskaya is 28 and primarily a striker.

Regardless, it doesn't really matter does it. None of these girls are beating The 'Borg. 

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35 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

Kunitskaya and Evinger actually fought twice and Kunitskaya submitted her with an armbar the first time. But there was some controversy over a referee's call which led directly to the submission so they did the rematch and Evinger won. The MMA maths thing, as always, doesn't really tell us anything here but stylistically Cyborg vs Kunitskaya is a different fight to what Cyborg vs Evinger was. Evinger was pretty much purely a grappler, she's not very athletic, she's tough but she doesn't have a strong takedown or any real striking game to speak of, and she's also 36 years old. Kunitskaya is 28 and primarily a striker.

Regardless, it doesn't really matter does it. None of these girls are beating The 'Borg. 

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That's a fair shout, Wand. I'll have to rev up the old Fight Pass to check out those two fights. Like you say though unless you're something out of this world, you aren't stopping the Cyborg train at the moment. This whole fight feels really weird, especially as the main event. Feels like when Cyborg first joined the company and they were just feeding her bodies as the headline attraction, which is why I'm so interested to see how that format works when it's done on a PPV setting. 

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Yeah, I was thinking about that as I typed the opening post. The whole 'Cyborg in UFC' thing has felt weird from the off to me. Like they're not fully willing to commit to it. 

If you think back to when they first brought the women in in 2013 with the bantamweights, it was different to this. They actually focused on building a 135 division. Of course Ronda Rousey was the reason they green lighted the division and she was the centrepiece of the whole thing but they didn't just have Ronda and then bring in girls for her every 3 months or so. They were putting together good fights like Miesha Tate vs Cat Zingano and bringing in the likes of Sara McMann, Amanda Nunes, Holly Holm etc and by the end of that first year they did that Ronda/Miesha season of TUF to find even more women. That ended up throwing up Julianna Pena, Raquel Pennington and a couple of other girls who are still around. They put some effort in there. Same when they brought the strawweights in in 2014. Again they signed up as many good strawweights as they could and again they also did TUF to find even more. 

With Cyborg and featherweight though, it's like they can't be arsed. Now I know there's never been as much depth there at women's 145 as there is at 135 and especially 115. But they decided to do it so it's up to them to find the talent. Why not try to do a women's 145 TUF with Cyborg coaching? Maybe they could've done this for the Holm fight instead of having Alvarez and Gaethje as coaches. I don't know. It just doesn't seem like they're trying to create a featherweight division at all. When Germaine De Randamie became the first champ of the division that was January 2017. Over a year ago. Cyborg's now been the champ herself since July. Yet have we even had any other female featherweight fights contested in the UFC since the belt was introduced? The only women's 145 fights we've seen have been the ones that have involved Cyborg and De Randamie vs Holm to crown the first champion. And that only happened because Cyborg wasn't available at the time. 

Doesn't look good for the future of the division. I don't think they'll be keeping it around beyond whatever Cyborg does. I think it's just a thing where they want Cyborg in the UFC, or at least they'd rather her there than let her go to Bellator, but they can't be bothered with the division. So it'll probably just stay as it is with them either just bringing bodies in for Cyborg to devour, or convincing 135ers to put the 10lbs on and literally fatten themselves up for the kill. Then once Cyborg loses or retires or gets pregnant or fails another drug test or whatever...they'll just fuck the division off completely. 

Ha, look at this. The featherweight 'division' on the UFC's own website...

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I haven't cropped it, that's it. Hilarious. Not even enough depth for a Top 5 ranking, let alone Top 10. Just 3 girls under the champion. One of which is Evinger who's already lost to Cyborg and is going back down to 135. And the other two, Anderson and Kunitskaya, haven't even fought in the UFC yet. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Tell you what, Megan Anderson pisses me off. She's at that Conor level of talking shit on social media, always posting training photos and shit, and completely ignores the fans asking when she's going to fight. At least McGregor has the millions, you can understand why he's not in the biggest hurry to get in the cage and fight, plus you can't argue with his resume. Anderson's yet to step into the Octagon, doesn't seem in any hurry to, yet talks like she's the greatest. Along with Bec Rawlings, she's another Aussie fighter I can't stand. At least we have the lovely Jessy-Rose Clark making waves at 125 for us.

Anyway, Cyborg vs. Victim #20 aside, this looks like a tasty little card. LOVE the Edgar vs. Ortega fight. I've been picking against Ortega in a couple of his recent fights, so I'm snapping out of that. Ortega via ripping Edgar's head off with a guillotine.

I see they're giving Sugar Sean the push by featuring him on a UFC PPV main card. He looked great on DWTNCS, but didn't seem nearly as special and dynamic in his last UFC fight that went the distance with Terrion Ware. Soukhamthath is a dangerous guy, so I hope O'Malley comes in with the confidence and aggression he had in the UFC Gym. He was a bit hesitant against Ware at times, and Soukhamthath is the type to pounce if he gets any opportunity.

Always loved Struve. Hope the tall fucker gets the W here and goes on a run. It's easy to forget how young he is considering how long he's been in the UFC.

Great to see Cat Zingano back!

Mackenzie Dern! Never seen her fight, but I follow her on Insta. Will be watching that one closely for sure.

Good fights all around on this one, there's someone I'm invested in in each fight. Even the light heavyweight opener, I'm not too familiar with either guy, but Jordan Johnson liked a pic of mine on Insta a while back, so I'm backing him. My affection is easily won, I know.

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