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UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs Volkov - Mar 17


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Saturday 17th March the UFC returns to the O2 in London. 


Fabricio Werdum vs Alexander Volkov 

Jimi Manuwa vs Jan Blachowicz 

Tom Duquesnoy vs Terrion Ware

Leon Edwards vs Peter Sobotta


John Phillips vs Charles Byrd

Danny Roberts vs Oliver Enkamp

Danny Henry vs Hakeem Dawodu

Paul Craig vs Magomed Ankalaev

Stevie Ray vs Kajan Johnson 

Mark Godbeer vs Dmitriy Sosnovskiy 

Nasrat Haqparast vs Nad Narimani


Anyone on here going to this? When the date was first announced I was planning to get tickets, back when the rumours were that this card would be headlined by Bisping's retirement fight and/or a Darren Till fight. I must admit I'm a bit underwhelmed with how the card has turned out so didn't bother. There is some decent stuff on there but not really enough for me to justify a trip to London and the cost of hotels and stuff like that. This is more a case of whack it on the telly with a few drinks and a munch. 




All that said, I do really like the Werdum vs Volkov pairing. It's an cool matchup of styles. Werdum is in kind of a weird position at the moment. He's basically fought all the top guys in the division already. Won some, lost some, had the title, lost the title. There have been nights where he's looked like the best heavyweight on the planet and other nights where it looks like he can't be arsed. He seems to be in the mode now of just staying active and fighting pretty much whoever. In his last 2 fights he fought twice in about a 5 week span. He quickly submitted Walt Harris on last minute notice in October. Then he stepped in again on short notice in November and outpointed Marcin Tybura in Australia. He's certainly been fighting down a level or two from championship level but he's looked good and it's probably helped him in terms of getting his swagger back after losing the title the way he did against Miocic in 2016.

Volkov is a big old fucker at 6'7" and has a very solid 29-6 record. He's a good striker and is coming off back-to-back name wins over Stefan Struve and Roy Nelson. I'd say he's a bit of a darkhorse at heavyweight. Nobody really talks about him but he's a threat and if he beats Werdum here that all changes. Obviously if it hits the floor that's Werdum's playground, Volkov will be looking to avoid the grappling at all costs. On the feet it's a tossup to me. Volkov is probably more of a traditional technical striker but Werdum has a way of outstriking guys who are supposed to be better strikers. And he's got form for beating big guys too with the two schoolings of Travis Browne. Interesting fight. 



Manuwa vs Blachowicz 2 is a rematch I could've happily done without, to be honest. The first fight was back in 2015 on the undercard of Cro Cop vs Gonzaga 2 in Poland. Manuwa took a decision that night. I remember fuck all of it. 

I don't know what it is but I just can't get into Blachowicz. He's like a Polish Bader or something. Good fighter but his fights generally do nothing for me. Manuwa is a fighter I like. He got KO'd in less than a minute by Volkan Oezdemir in July and we haven't seem him since so he's looking to bounce back in style here. And at 38, he doesn't exactly have bags of time left despite being a late starter. He went 14-0 with 14 finishes at the start of his career but he seems to have found his level now. He's lost every time he's stepped in with the top boys but he's beat everyone below that. I think people are a bit harsh on Manuwa sometimes. Before the Volkan loss he'd knocked out OSP and Corey Anderson in brutal fashion. He's good, he's just not champion material. Doesn't mean he's shite, there's a grey area. I'm hoping he KOs Blachowicz here. 



Duquesnoy vs Ware could be good. Duquesnoy looks like a prospect at 24 years old. He's got a 15-2-1 record, trains at Jackson's and seems to have a lot of potential. He dropped a split decision to Cody Stamann in his last fight but he has all the ingredients and the coaches around him to help him rebound. Terrion Ware (who I really hope is the son of Koko B?) is a guy I know very little about. I only know him as the guy who lost to Sean O'Malley recently. He's 17-7. Seems like a fight designed to rebuild Duquesnoy but we'll see how it pans out. 



Edwards vs Sobotta is UFC London's ***WAND'S ONE TO WATCH***. It's a fight that will probably slip under most peoples' radars and I almost overlooked it myself but I think it could steal the show. Leon Edwards is 14-3 out of my neck of the woods in Birmingham. In fact, he's billed as being from Erdington which is where my sister lives. He's still only 26 years old and has won his last 4 fights. Among those 4 fights are wins over Vicente Luque (who I rate) and Bryan Barberena (the man who ruined Sage Northcutt's undefeated record). He also submitted Albert Tumenov who is a bit of an animal. He's actually a quality fighter, he just needs that signature win. Sobotta won't be it but he's a solid opponent in his own right. He's been around ages, his original UFC run was back in 2009ish but he didn't do well back then going 0-3 before being cut. He's 4-1 so far on this stint though and looked better than ever stopping Ben Saunders in his last outing. I really like this fight. I think it's come at a time where both guys are better than they've ever been and they're both hungry to break into the bigger fights. 


Ray vs Johnson is another sleeper fight on this show for me. Stevie Ray got finished by Paul Felder last time out but he was starting to climb before that with wins over Joe Lauzon and Ross Pearson. And Kajan Johnson is Canadian, fights out of Tristar and has won his last 3 fights. I think these two should match up for an entertaining scrap. 


Undercard might be good but I'm not really familiar enough with a lot of the names there to be getting particularly excited by it. Hakeem Dawodu is worth a gander. He's unbeaten at 7-0-1 with 6 knockouts, 26 years old, all his fights so far coming under the WSOF banner. I've seen bits and pieces and he looks good. Paul Craig is back in action as well, looking to get back in the win column after suffering back-to-back knockout losses to Tyson Pedro and Khalil Rountree. He was 9-0 before those defeats and being talked up as one for the future. Hopefully he can get back on track here because I like what I've seen of him so far.


So yeah, not the best of shows we've had over here but there's a few points of interest there. 

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I'm sure we've had this discussion last time the UFC were in London, but the truth is that they'll continue feeding us relatively shit cards at top dollar prices because mugs pay for them.

When the day finally comes that people stop buying the tickets for these shows without knowing who's even fighting we'll see the company take the UK audience seriously.

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Aye. This is nothing new. In fairness to the UFC, why go that little bit extra for all UK events if the brand is strong enough to sell it alone? All they need to do is put on entertaining shows and throw us the occasional bone, like a PPV, and we'll keeping buying their shit.

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All this card needed was a Bisping farewell fight or Darren Till against a contender. Not even both, just one of those things would've boosted this card's 'must watch' factor significantly. 

I get why the Bisping fight never happened. It just never got done in time and he's coming off back-to-back stoppage losses, including the vicious Gastelum KO, so him sitting out a bit makes sense. 

What's the crack with Till though? He hasn't fought since October. I haven't heard that he's injured or anything. What's happening? He was the guy everyone was talking about after he bashed up Cerrone in a round but now it's like most of that momentum has fizzled out because he's been inactive for the last 6 months. 

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Probably but I'm sure Gunnar Nelson was after that fight at some point. Santiago Ponzinibbio would make sense if he's up for it. And Mike Perry would've been up to fight him, no doubt. But now he's coming off consecutive losses that's dead in the water for now. Failing all that, Colby Cuntington is forever gobbing off. I'm sure he'd be down to back up his pathetic shit talking and step in with Till. 

I'm not sure what's going on. And usually if fighters are turning down fights Dana's the first one to go public about it. It's just all very quiet on the Till front though. 

Edit - just did some Googling and apparently Till's angling for a fight on UFC 224 in Rio, which makes sense given his ties to Brazil. And he wants to fight Rafael Dos Anjos. Get the fuck in. Yeah, balls to London. Till vs RDA in Rio would be amazing. 

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29 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

just did some Googling and apparently Till's angling for a fight on UFC 224 in Rio, which makes sense given his ties to Brazil. And he wants to fight Rafael Dos Anjos. Get the fuck in. Yeah, balls to London. Till vs RDA in Rio would be amazing. 

Wait, isn't RDA next in line for a title shot? He just beat Lawler? Or is he being fucked over so Woodley can chase Diaz or some other nonsense?

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