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UFC 223 is McFucked


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Saturday 7th April the UFC is back in Brooklyn, NYC with what looks like the best PPV lineup of 2018 so far easy. 


Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Al Iaquinta - Lightweight Title

Rose Namajunas vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk - Strawweight Title

Renato Moicano vs Calvin Kattar 

Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Kyle Bochniak 

Joe Lauzon vs Chris Gruetzemacher 

Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs Felice Herrig

Bec Rawlings vs Ashlee Evans-Smith

Evan Dunham vs Olivier Aubin-Mercier

Devin Clark vs Mike Rodriguez 


You can't knock that card, can you? Hopefully it all stays intact. 



Ferguson vs Khabib is supposed to headline this one. I say 'supposed to' because this fight has been booked two or three times now and has fallen apart each time through one balls up or another. Injuries, weight problems, Ramadan, the lot. Hopefully none of that this time because I honestly think this might well be the best fight that it's currently possible to make at 155. 


This is kind of where it started though, oddly enough. November 12th 2016. UFC 205, the UFC's first ever show at Madison Square Garden. Conor McGregor made history that night, knocking out Eddie Alvarez in the main event to win the lightweight championship while simultaneously holding featherweight gold. 

On the undercard that night at MSG, we saw undefeated Russian destroyer Khabib Nurmagomedov in action. He completely schooled top contender Michael Johnson while providing his own running commentary and advice to Johnson throughout...


He also took time on the stool between rounds to fire a warning over to Dana White at cageside...


Of course, 'your boy' = McGregor. 

He beat the shit out of Johnson for two rounds and then finally put him away with a kimura in the third. 

Snoop Dogg, of all people, even put down the gin and juice to provide his own thoughts as he watched the beatdown live;

"He a bad motherfucka" - Snoop Dogg

And Khabib had a lot to say in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.


"I want to stay humble, but I have to talk because your guys talk too much. And you know what is interesting? I understand how crazy power UFC PR machine. Your guy (McGregor)...beginning of the year he tap like chicken, end of the year he fight for the title. Crazy. You know this is true, this is not trash talking. Hey guys, Irish only 6 million, Russia 150 million. I want to fight with your chicken because this is number one fight in lightweight division." - Khabib Nurmagomedov

With this win over Johnson, Khabib was now 24-0 and hadn't even come close to losing.


Later that same month, November 2016, Tony Ferguson went to Mexico City and beat Rafael Dos Anjos in a 5 round decision. This was a big win for Ferguson and he was now on a 9 fight win streak. 

Logically, with McGregor's next move unknown, a fight between Khabib and Ferguson made sense. They were booked to meet at UFC 209 in March 2017 to decide an interim champion. But Khabib fell sick during the weight cut and the fight was scrapped. This was the second time they'd been officially booked and it had gone tits up. 

At this stage the lightweight title picture was in limbo. McGregor was now completely out for the time being. He had a baby on the way and was negotiating a massive payday to box (or should I say 'get boxed by') Floyd Mayweather. Ferguson was sitting out and Khabib was either injured, eating himself silly, fasting or wrestling bears.


Yes. That is Khabib wrestling a FUCKING BEAR as a child. I don't know about you but my home videos as a kid were of me, my brother and my sisters opening presents at Christmas, or birthdays or on family holidays. Never did my parents say 'Lights, Camera...OK bring the bear in'. 


There they are reuniting years later. 

Meanwhile, almost as odd as that, in August 2017, McGregor did actually get the Mayweather fight.


And got predictably, annoyingly and utterly thrashed...



Then he disappeared again. About $100 million richer but no word on a return. The lightweight division would still be on hold. 

So in October 2017 at UFC 216, Tony Ferguson took on Kevin Lee for the interim title. 


After a rough start, Ferguson took over and ended up submitting Lee with a third round triangle choke. 

Tony Ferguson, new UFC interim lightweight champ. And as always whenever Ferguson gets near a live microphone, he had some cringey stuff to say...



McGregor didn't seem impressed...


In December at UFC 219, Khabib would return to face top contender Edson Barboza. Khabib hadn't fought since the Michael Johnson fight 13 months earlier, so there were questions on whether he'd come in rusty and not as sharp. 


He smashed Barboza the full 15 minutes, taking a lopsided unanimous decision. 

MMA fans and media alike heaped praise on Khabib for his performance. But again, one man wasn't impressed, as this twitter exchange shows...





Khabib likewise isn't impressed with McGregor;

"Now everybody forget about him because he doesn't want real fight. He fight only with 45 year old Floyd Mayweather or marijuana guy who lose 10 times in the UFC, Nate Diaz. Tony or Conor, don't matter. Maybe if the UFC approves I can fight with these guys in the same night. I swear, no joke. I have to smash these guys and get these guys back. These guys talk too much when I'm injured. But when I'm healthy, I don't see these guys. 

I don't fight for the money. I fight for my legacy. I fight for history. I fight for my people. That's why I'm here." - Khabib Nurmagomedov

We really could do with a triple threat match here. That's what this calls for. Get McGregor's belt, get Ferguson's belt, suspend them above the cage and have a triple threat ladder match between McGregor, Ferguson and Khabib. Settle this shit once and for all. 

On a serious note, I love this. If McGregor actually comes back and we get to see these fights this could be truly fantastic. Three incredible fighters, all completely different, all in their primes and every combination is a fresh fight. Sadly, between McGregor being so unpredictable and Khabib's layoffs, I can't see them all being about long enough for this 3 way rivalry to become as great as it could/should be. 

For now, I just hope we finally get to see the Ferguson vs Khabib instalment of it. 


Still a weird carry on with the title here. It's listed as being for the official lightweight title but Dana still refuses to say if McGregor is being stripped of the title. So somehow we're going to have two 'undisputed' lightweight champions after this. 



Namajunas vs Jedrzejczyk 2 is the co-main event. Can't fucking wait for this. What a fascinating rematch this is. I still kind of think that ideally I'd have preferred seeing Joanna go back and face someone else first but whatever. Now it's booked I'm well into this. 

Joanna Jedrzejczyk was the scariest female MMA fighter on the planet at one point. It was a different thing to the Rousey reign because as awesome as Ronda was for a time, she always had that vulnerability on the feet. With Joanna, there just didn't seem to be a clear path at all. Strong grapplers and BJJ black-belts couldn't keep her down or submit her and striking with her seemed like suicide. 


She did this to Kate Jackson's face in 2013, before ever stepping foot in the UFC. Just grotesque. She also knocked out and retired British women's MMA pioneer Rosi Sexton in a June 2014 Cage Warriors fight. She then signed with the UFC when they introduced their strawweight division and quickly notched up wins over Juliana Lima and Claudia Gadelha. 


In March 2015 at UFC 185 she battered the UFC's first ever strawweight champion all over the Octagon for almost 2 rounds before the ref waved it off as a TKO. 

Joanna Champion was born. And she continued on her world wide face mangling tour. 


In June 2015 she obliterated Jessica Penne in Berlin, Germany. Just a horrific beating that was actually uncomfortable to watch. Penne hasn't been the same since and had to have plastic surgery afterwards, such was the damage inflicted on her face. 


In November 2015 at UFC 193, she beat Valerie Letourneau's eye shut for 5 rounds in Melbourne, Australia. Letourneau was game and showed heart but she was just so clearly outgunned here. 

Joanna would further add to her impressive reign of terror with more successful title defences over Claudia Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Jessica Andrade.


She seemed unstoppable. By the summer of 2017 she'd almost cleared out the division and it was becoming increasingly difficult to see where her next challenger would come from. 

One potential fresh contender would be 'Thug' Rose Namajunas. A well rounded 25 year old with slick submissions and a pretty extensive background in striking martial arts. The knock on Rose was her inexperience of only having 9 pro MMA fights and the fear would be that, while she was undeniably good, she probably wasn't ready yet for an animal like Jedrzejczyk. 

Rose first got on my radar back in 2013. I'd seen her about before that but only really knew of her as Pat Barry's girlfriend. Then I saw her fight Tecia Torres at Invicta 6...


...and Jesus Fuck! It was an amazing fight. Still might be the best women's MMA fight I've seen to date. It's up there anyway. And even crazier, it was only Rose's 3rd pro fight! And only Tecia's 3rd as well. They'd had 4 professional MMA fights between them and they went out there and put on a tremendous 3 round war. I was impressed with both but moreso with Rose, she lost by decision that night but there was something about her wild style that I loved. I immediately went back to watch her first two pro fights and what did I see? She won her first fight via standing rear naked choke with about a minute left in the fight. And then her second pro fight...a fucking flying armbar in 12 seconds! I was instantly a fan. 

So I was excited to see her name pop up when the cast for TUF 20: The Strawweights was released in 2014. Rose really shone in her performances on the show. She was one of the youngest and most inexperienced in the house but she clearly had something. She rattled off submissions on the show over Alex Chambers, Joanne Calderwood and Randa Markos and bagged herself a place in the finale to fight for the belt. Ultimately she came up short, losing to Carla Esparza in the final. 

She bounced back with her quick submission over Angela Hill at UFC 192 in October 2015. But with her record at 3-2 she had some work to do. She was next booked for a December 2015 bout against the UFC's golden girl Paige VanZant. The thinking was that the UFC were trying to use Rose to build Paige up. Rose had other ideas...


She fucked Paige up. Bad. For almost 5 rounds. Then choked her out. This was the fight that kind of put Rose back on the map for a lot of people. Then in her next fight she rematched Tecia Torres on FOX and avenged that loss with a decision. In July 2016 at UFC 201, she dropped a competitive decision to Karolina Kowalkiewicz in a good fight. 

Then in April 2017 on Big FOX..


She headkicked Michelle Waterson then choked her out in under 3 minutes. This was a hugely impressive win and came at the perfect time when Joanna Jedrzejczyk was rapidly running out of new challengers. 

The fight was set. Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Rose Namajunas for the strawweight title. It would go down at UFC 217 on November 4th 2017 at Madison Square Garden. Huge. 


Joanna tried all kinds of mental warfare in the build up. She always tries to intimidate and get in her opponent's head before a fight. But she seemed even more aggressive with it this time. And Rose, to her credit, didn't bite. Even when Joanna bizarrely and hilariously declared that "THE BOOGEYWOMAN EEZ COMING" at the weigh in, Rose just calmly stood there mumbling to herself. When Rogan asked her what she was saying to herself, Rose said she was 'reciting the Lord's prayer'. Which is creepy as fuck. It was one of the strangest weigh in moments ever. 

And the nutiness wasn't over. 


Rose then went on to knock Joanna out in the first round in an absolute stunner of a result. One of the most shocking upsets of recent times and easily the upset of 2017. Not only that she won but the way it happened. One of those results that creates more questions than answers. 

Regardless, even as a huge Jedrzejczyk fan, it was a lovely moment. I think I mentioned it on here before but Rose has been through so much for a 25 year old woman. Her parents were Lithuanian immigrants who fled the communist government to come to America, she was sexually abused as a child and her dad was schizophrenic and passed away when she was just 16 years old. She's been through some stuff that would've finished a lot of people so to see her with the title and crying tears of happiness was a nice moment. You'd have to be dead inside to not feel happy for her. 


"It feels like a movie right now. This belt don't mean nothing, man. Just be a good person. That's it. This is extra. This is awesome. But let's just give each other hugs and be nice, man. I mean, I know we fight but this is entertainment. Afterwards, it's nothing. I feel like a normal person, man, I'm just regular. Ain't nothing special here." - Rose Namajunas 


The rematch is on. And I can't bastard wait! Got no idea how this goes. I still feel like Joanna is the better overall fighter but how has that first loss effected her mentally now? She wasn't just defeated for the first time, she was caught in the standup which is usually her realm, in the first round, and she was tapping to strikes by the end. It was a crushing loss. 



Moicano vs Kattar could be a cracker. Moicano is a solid enough fighter. 11-1-1 record. Holds a decision win over Jeremy Stephens and had a tremendous fight against Brian Ortega in his most recent outing. He's got good submissions and a fairly strong standup game to go with it. And Kattar looked great in finishing Shane Burgos on the UFC 220 main card in January. Highlight reel combo for the TKO. He beat Andre Fili before that. He's 18-2 overall and looks promising to me. This has a very real chance of stealing the show, I reckon. Even on a card as strong as this. 



Pettis vs Chiesa is WAND'S ONE TO WATCH for this card. What a fight this should be. Love this pairing. Pettis needs to find some consistency badly. He looked great in his return back to lightweight against Jim Miller in July. Then he had that rib injury in the fight with Poirier in November and it all went wrong. It was an excellent fight but it goes down as a loss. We haven't seen Chiesa since he lost to Kevin Lee in that 'don't talk about my mama' fight all the way back in June. He was on a nice 3 fight winning streak before that so, like Pettis, he'll also be hoping to regain some momentum here. Just really like this matchup of styles. You'd have to favour Pettis while they're standing but Chiesa is scrappy and won't shy away. On the ground is where this could really be an all out war. 



Fuck it, Iaquinta vs Felder is ***WAND'S ONE TO WATCH #2 because this card warrants it, IMO. Big fan of Iaquinta. Wish we saw more of him but he's off selling houses and stuff. He just fights because he likes it, apparently. He's pretty fucking good at it when he does show up. Holds wins over Kevin Lee, Jorge Masvidal, Joe Lauzon, Ross Pearson and in his last fight in April he KO'd Diego Sanchez inside a round. He's never short of something to say either and isn't afraid to criticise the UFC or Dana White if he doesn't like the way things are being done. I like Raging Al. Paul Felder is kind of the opposite. Much more of a company guy and has even started doing colour commentary on some Fight Nights recently. Fun fighter to watch with his Karate style and he's finished Charles Oliveira and Stevie Ray with elbows in his last two outings. Can't see any way this fight doesn't deliver. 



Kowalkiewicz vs Herrig is a decent enough fight. Got a feeling this is really only here though incase Namajunas or Jedrzejczyk get hurt. If either of those two pull out for any reason, I think we see Kowalkiewicz step in. It's an insurance policy. Smart move. If the card goes ahead as planned though, I quite like this matchup anyway. I think Kowalkiewicz wins but it's not necessarily a straight forward thing as she's slipped up on the ground before and Herrig can be crafty on the ground. 



Borg vs Moreno is a fight I really like the sound of. Two aggressive little Mexicans looking to get back on track. Borg was last seen getting suplexed into an armbar by Demetrious Johnson in one of the most breathtaking finishes of 2017. DJ really made a highlight reel of him. Before that though, he'd looked good beating Jussier Formiga and Louis Smolka. He's a good fighter. And Moreno was on an 11 fight winning streak before losing a decision to Sergio Pettis in Mexico last August. I like the timing here. They've both got something to prove. 



Lauzon vs Gruetzemacher I'm highlighting just because I'll always shine light on a Joe Lauzon fight. He's clearly slowing down but he's been such a trooper over the last decade or so, you can just never sleep on a Lauzon fight. He's lost his last couple of fights and got stopped in about a minute by Clay Guida in November which was a bit of a shock but I'm hoping he can claw something back and look good here. If not, it might be time to start thinking of getting out. Because despite only being 33, he's been in so many wars now that there's way more miles on him than your typical 33 year old fighter. Gruetzemacher has fell to the rear naked choke in his last 2 fights, and Lauzon has a good RNC, so maybe the UFC are trying to throw Lauzon a bone here. We'll see what happens. Lauzon doesn't usually lose at this level so if he does lose this it might be a sign he's finally on the way out. 



Caceres vs Lobov is a fight of no real relevance or significance to anything but it's one of those matchups where I can't envision anything other than non-stop action and entertainment. They've both got shitty records though. Caceres is 13-11-1 and Lobov has a losing record of 13-14-1. Doesn't necessarily tell the whole story because they've both put in respectable showings against top fighters like Urijah Faber and Cub Swanson over the years. Matching these two together has got the feel of a 'loser leaves town' type of thing but they're both exciting fighters and I'm guessing they probably don't cost much for the UFC to keep them around so maybe that's not the case. Should be a good 'un regardless. 



Magomedsharipov vs Bochniak is going to be well worth watching simply because of this Magomedsharipov nutcase. He's 26 years old, 14-1 and he's got to be the least threatening looking killer in the UFC. The type you'd probably be pretty confident you could have in a fight if it came to it. Then you get badly fucked up. He's won both his UFC fights by submission so far and has looked pretty awesome in the process, picking up Performance Of The Night bonuses both times. Bochniak is 8-2 with a patchy 2-2 UFC record so far. I think I've seen him fight but it can't have been too memorable because nothing's ringing bells about him. Why this fight is tucked away on Fight Pass, I don't know. You'd think they'd want a guy like Zabit in front of as many eyeballs as possible. 


That's about it. Ferguson vs Khabib then...


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Not since my battle tested Holly Valance one has a poster made it fill up so quickly.

I'm not so sure I'll ever find the right superlative to describe the quality of fight we'll see between Ferguson and Khabib. Despite his achievements, Ferguson may still be the most underrated fighter in UFC history - I don't know why, but some people just never seem to give him his due. Ferguson has not lost a fight in over 4 years, which is mental when you consider the quality of division he fights in.
Khabib being undefeated in the very same division speaks for itself, as well. Khabib is right up there with anyone in the 'scariest man on the planet' discussion; a man that just stalks you down until he's got you against the cage, then the trap is set and it's then up to Khabib how many years he wants to take off your life.
For me the most interesting aspect of this fight is Ferguson's brilliant submission skills off his back. Obviously, Khabib is a different beast to almost all other humans, but you just know Ferguson and Bravo are cooking up all manner of strategies to take advantage of Khabib.

J Double and Rose is about as excited as one can get for a rematch. It's come out that Joanna was a proper mess during her last weight cut, which maybe explains why she was so sluggish, but let's not take anything away from Rose. She was about as composed as a fighter can be throughout it; a mental toughness and composure that is huge for this level. I guessed Rose last time, but I have not a clue how the rematch will play out. Was Joanna that badly hampered last time, or was Rose really that great? What is clear (and it was a big reason I had a suspicion Rose may do it, last time) is Rose can create incredible dynamic moments out of nowhere, where as Joanna's approach is more like some nasty torture which slowly and effectively wears you out. Even if Joanna is picking Rose off in the 4th, Rose can still catch her with anything. No one saw a 1st round KO, but she did it.

Please don't fall apart (Holly didn't).


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Just been watching bits and pieces relating to this show on YouTube and stumbled across this. It's Rose Namajunas and Pat Barry on Rogan's podcast recently, talking about Joanna's mind games and trash talk before the first fight...

"Did you believe him? Did you buy the ticket?" 

What the fuck? :confused: The more I watch and read and listen to about the build up to that first Rose-Joanna fight the stranger and creepier it gets. 

What a weird and wonderful little story. Nuts how one little odd and well placed line from Joanna nearly unravelled Rose and Pat mentally that close to fight time. If it had been someone less mentally hard than Rose it probably would've been just enough to undo some confidence at a crucial time. 

"Did you buy the ticket?" I fucking ask you. It's done me now, I'll probably lose hours of sleep trying to make sense of that tonight. 

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Updated the bout order in the opening post. That's how MMAJunkie have it listed so I'm assuming it's correct. 

Fucking Zabit Magomedsharipov jerking the curtain again? Doesn't make sense to me. He's 14-1, 2-0 in the UFC with 2 finishes in exciting performances. Yet he's still down on Fight Pass. And below a nothing fight like Bec Rawlings vs Ashlee Evans-Smith. Rawlings is 7-7 and coming off 3 consecutive losses. Smith is 5-3 and coming off 2 losses on the bounce. Likewise, Bruce Leroy vs Artem Lobov, entertaining a fight as it'll probably be, is a fight between two guys with awful UFC records. Why's Zabit slumming it with this filth? 

It honestly baffles me when they do things like this. Burying promising prospects and good fighters deep in the undercards where nobody but the hardest of hardcores is going to see them. Then wondering why they don't resonate with audiences when they're thrust onto a PPV, or in some cases a title fight, and no cunt knows who they are. They did the same with that Rakic fight recently but it ended up getting scrapped anyway. It makes no sense at all to me. I'd rather see Zabit vs Bochniak on FS1 than boring arse Olivier Aubin-Mercier's fight any day of the week. 

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You're probably right. He's basically the Russian Sean O'Malley with a few little differences. They've both had 2 UFC fights and 2 wins but O'Malley's getting hyped up and getting on PPV. Zabit's in the dark match spot. Yet Zabit's been more entertaining in the cage (IMO) and finished both his fights whereas I didn't think O'Malley looked that good in his fights. The difference is O'Malley's got that x-factor of being a weird fucker and a bit of a character outside the cage. 

Still, whether Zabit talks himself up or not, you'd still have thought he'd at least be on the FS1 bit. They just do this sometimes. It took Dennis Bermudez a few years to get off the prelims as well, if I remember right.

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6 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

You're probably right. He's basically the Russian Sean O'Malley with a few little differences. They've both had 2 UFC fights and 2 wins but O'Malley's getting hyped up and getting on PPV. Zabit's in the dark match spot. Yet Zabit's been more entertaining in the cage (IMO) and finished both his fights whereas I didn't think O'Malley looked that good in his fights. The difference is O'Malley's got that x-factor of being a weird fucker and a bit of a character outside the cage. 

Still, whether Zabit talks himself up or not, you'd still have thought he'd at least be on the FS1 bit. They just do this sometimes. It took Dennis Bermudez a few years to get off the prelims as well, if I remember right.

I also think a lot of it comes down to what Dana thinks of you. If you come off the Contenders series you're always going to get a bit of a break because that's Dana's project, isn't it?

Poor Zabit has a few things going against him. He's not Irish, he's not from Boston, he doesn't talk smack, and he's not from the Contender series.

EDIT: For clarity, I'm not saying O'Malley is from Boston, I know he's from Arizona. I'm saying that any combination of those factors would help get a fighter on the map.

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His name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue either, does it? Zabit Magomedsharipov. Although looking at his Wikipedia page, for what it's worth they have his nickname listed as 'ZM Punk' :laugh: love that! 

Actually, looking at this card as a whole...









Bruce Buffer's got his work cut out. 


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yeh, disappointed to see Zabit buried here, he was top pick to really break out and become a contender. Genuinely believe hes top 15 worthy already.

Means im gonna have to tune in for the FP prelims.

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5 hours ago, wandshogun09 said:

It honestly baffles me when they do things like this. Burying promising prospects and good fighters deep in the undercards where nobody but the hardest of hardcores is going to see them. Then wondering why they don't resonate with audiences when they're thrust onto a PPV, or in some cases a title fight, and no cunt knows who they are.

This is a hot topic at the minute in MMA.

Just this week, Breen was complaining about Bellator not promoting and showcasing their prospects. 


Bellator MMA made a big show of signing amateur wrestling standouts Aaron Pico, Joey Davis, Tyrell Fortune, Ed Ruth and Jarod Trice. Yet aside from Pico, the promotion has made no reasonable attempt to push any of them in any serious way, burying them on preliminary streams even as they show rapid and truly impressive development; 

I notice that Lauzon and Caceres are also on the Fight Pass prelims. It could be argued that they are bigger names then anyone fighting on the Fox prelims. Maybe the UFC are trying to whip up interest in the Fight Pass prelims. Of course, this doesn't help Magomedsharipov. He needs the platform, not vice versa. 

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Yeah, I actually understand putting a recognisable name like Lauzon on Fight Pass. Similarly, when they put fights like Anderson Silva vs Michael Bisping and Dustin Poirier vs Joseph Duffy on there a couple of years ago. I moaned at the time about them putting those fights on Fight Pass because I didn't have it and I'm selfish, but I got why they were doing it. 

But putting someone like Zabit on there at this stage doesn't make sense. The people who are going to stream the Fight Pass prelims are already in the bag. He doesn't have the name recognition at the moment to attract people to Fight Pass. He needs exposure now while he's climbing. Then by the time he gets in contender fights, if he does, people will know him and have some kind of attachment or investment in him. 

It's good to see someone like Breen talking about it but it's been going on for a while now. Even about 4 or 5 years ago we were seeing John Moraga taken from the Facebook prelims and thrown into a Big FOX main event against Mighty Mouse. And when they first brought in the strawweights, they stuck the first Jedrzejczyk vs Gadelha fight on the Facebook stream as well, despite it being known that the winner would likely be challenging Carla Esparza for the title. They got lucky on that one that Jedrzejczyk smashed it and caught on but it was no thanks to the UFC really. Joanna got popular almost in spite of their 'promotional malpractice', as Luke Thomas would say. 

There are enough people behind the scenes in the UFC who obviously know what they're doing. They know more about running an MMA company than any of us, of course. But it boggles my mind when they're putting prospects and standouts in the dark, not putting fighters who are getting imminent title shots in prominent positions on cards and taking divisions like 205 which is seen as thin and not giving hardly any of the new blood much exposure. I'd like to somehow blame the Reebok deal but this is shit that predates Reebok. It's been going on for years and, as you point out Jim, it's not exclusively a UFC problem. 

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the inclusion of prospects on the main card of big shows is essential, especially in this day and age where they are crying out for new stars. O'Malley is the perfect example of them getting it right, only 1-0 in the UFC before 222 but it was a star making performance, and having him sit in the middle of a PPV main card just shone a brighter light on it than it could ever have if its buried down the prelims.

Star making in MMA isnt as easy as putting someone on the card though and hoping they win, the need for fighters to sell themselves is more important than ever and the UFC needs to tell these guys' stories. When the UFC or whatever promotion find these guys who just have that certain something special about them, they need to put them in the big spots, if that means leap frogging guys who may be more deserving of slot in terms of merit then so be it, its all about the $$$ at the end of the day. O'Malley being the perfect example, he got more traction and fan buzz from 2 UFC appearences than others have generated in 20.

edit* back on the subject of Zabit, looks like hes suffering from a case of 'high risk - low reward':



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22 hours ago, wandshogun09 said:

His name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue either, does it? Zabit Magomedsharipov. Although looking at his Wikipedia page, for what it's worth they have his nickname listed as 'ZM Punk' :laugh: love that! 

In situations like that, I always remember the immortal words of Schwarzenegger: "If it's difficult for them to remember, it'll be difficult for them to forget."

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