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UFC Fight Night: Maia vs Usman - May 19


wandshogun09
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On Saturday 19th May, the Octagon makes its first trip to Santiago, Chile. 

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FOX SPORTS 1 MAIN CARD
Demian Maia vs Kamaru Usman 

Alexa Grasso vs Tatiana Suarez

Jared Cannonier vs Dominick Reyes 

Diego Rivas vs Guido Cannetti

Veronica Macedo vs Angela Lee 

Vicente Luque vs Chad Laprise

 

FOX SPORTS 2 PRELIMS
Michel Prazeres vs Zak Cummings

Brandon Moreno vs Alexandre Pantoja 

Poliana Botelho vs Syuri Kondo

Gabriel Benitez vs Humberto Bandenay 

 

FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Enrique Barzola vs Brandon Davis 

Henry Briones vs Frankie Saenz 

Felipe Silva vs Claudio Puelles

 

Not a bad card that. Not bad at all. 

 

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Usman vs Ponzinibbio is your 5 round main event. Really good fight. Two fresh contenders who are really on the rise at the moment. And stakes and divisional standing aside, purely as a matchup it's interesting given the contrast in styles between these two. Usman is a badass grappler. He'll strike a bit but he makes no secret that the ground is where he wants you. And that's where his main strengths lie. He's 12-1 now, with the loss being in just his second fight back in 2013. In the UFC he's 7-0 and in his last two fights especially he's shone. He KO'd Sergio Moraes inside a round in September then totally dominated Emil Meek in January this year. At the same time as these standout wins, he's also gotten a lot more vocal. It's done him good obviously as it's landed him his first UFC headline spot. Ponzinibbio is no easy night's work though. He's a dangerous striker with a strong 26-3 record. In his last two fights he stopped Gunnar Nelson in a round and handily outpointed 'Platinum' Mike Perry. The story of this one is almost certainly going to be what Ponzinibbio's takedown defence is like. I can't recall if it's really been put to the test in his last bunch of fights but it's certainly going to be tested here. 

 

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Oezdemir vs Shogun should be fun while it lasts but as a Shogun fan I'm kind of dreading it. Shogun's a legend. If you're any kind of MMA fan I shouldn't really have to explain why. UFC champ, Pride Grand Prix winner, one of the most exciting fighters in MMA history. Wins over Liddell, Rampage, Machida, Overeem x2, Arona, Griffin etc etc. Oh and his absolute classics against Hendo and Little Nog. Not to mention one of the nicest guys in the game. Nobody has a bad word to say about Shogun. But I've got a bad feeling about this. He's coming off 3 wins in a row, which is actually his most successful run in ages. But he's been out a year now and he's 36 going on 94 in fighter years. Even in his last 3 wins, he got by but he's not what he was in the heyday. Volkan is 28 and hasn't had nearly the damage to his body that Shogun has. He's 15-2 with nearly all his wins by KO. He's mostly known for his quick UFC knockouts of Jimi Manuwa and Misha Cirkunov which earned him the nickname 'No Time'. He's coming off a one-sided arse kicking from DC so that might've knocked his confidence but I just feel like this fight is bad news for Shogun :( it's most likely going to turn into a shootout and in that kind of fight in 2018 I just see Volkan being quicker on the draw. 

 

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Luque vs Laprise should be a good 'un. I like Luque. He's 12-6 which is nothing special but he's 5-1 in his last 6 and has finished Niko Price and Belal Muhammad, who are two of the tougher undercarders in the division IMO. Exciting to watch from what I've seen as well. Canadian Laprise was the TUF Nations winner a few years ago, he's 13-2 and coming off 3 TKO stoppage wins. Darkhorse FOTN, I reckon. 

 

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Grasso vs Suarez is a matchup of two of the more promising prospects in the strawweight division. Grasso is Mexican, 24 years old with a 10-1 record. She has an entertaining and aggressive fighting style and had a really fun fight with Randa Markos last time out. Her opponent Tatiana Suarez won TUF last year. She's 27, unbeaten at 5-0 and is a wrestler with some nifty submissions. Should be a lively one. On paper it's another striker vs grappler matchup. 

 

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Borg vs Moreno is back on and it's ***WAND'S ONE TO WATCH***. This was meant to happen at UFC 223 in Brooklyn until Conor McGregor cocked that up when he decided to fly from Ireland to New York to vandalise a bus. Borg got glass in his eye during that whole mess and his fight with Moreno was cancelled. I'm glad they've got it rebooked because it should be quality. Borg's last fight was his title shot against Mighty Mouse in October, and he got made into a highlight reel when DJ hit him with a German suplex into an armbar for the tap in one of the most stunning and ridiculous finishes ever. Before that though, Borg had beaten Jussier Formiga and Louis Smolka. He's no joke. And Moreno is always worth a watch. Just a wild Mexican scrapper. He lost to Sergio Pettis last August but before that he was on an 11 fight streak. This is a hell of a fight. UFC 223's loss was UFC Chile's gain.

 

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Botelho vs Kondo isn't anything special but could be decent. Botelho is Brazilian with a 6-1 record. Decisioned Pearl Gonzalez in her UFC debut. Kondo is 6-0 and won her UFC debut on September's Japan Fight Night show. She was a pro wrestler previously and was trained by Tajiri! 

 

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Gabriel Benitez vs Humberto Bandenay should be good. Benitez is 19-6 out of AKA. Nearly all his wins are finishes and he beat Jason Knight in his last fight. And Bandenay stepped in on short notice last August against Martin Bravo and won by KO with a huge knee. It was one of the best and most forgotten knockouts of 2017, IMO. Bandenay dedicated the win to his dad who'd died not long before the fight. 

 

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Jared Cannonier vs Dominick Reyes is worth a gander. Reyes is one of the few genuine new prospects at 205. He's 28 years old and 8-0 with 7 finishes. 2-0 in the UFC currently. Made his UFC debut with a 29 second KO! He looks good. This is a step up though. Cannonier has gone the distance with Glover Teixeira and Jan Blachowicz. Again though, I feel like I'm always complaining about this but why stick this on Fight Pass? People are always moaning about the light heavyweight division lacking new blood, here you've got Reyes who's an undefeated guy who shows legit promise and is the right side of 30...so they shove him on Fight Pass? I'd rather see this than at least 4 or 5 fights between the main card and televised prelims but whatever. 

 

Looks a strong card all in all. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Great card on paper this. I think Usman is an absolute boss. Really underrated, even if his style of fighting isn't flashy and I'm expecting him to cut through Ponzi with relative ease. Nothing against Santiago, but Usman is up there with one of the guys I really rate in the company.

Going to plump for an incredibly wishful Shogun win. I called Volkan going on a losing streak after losing to Cormier before that fight in the predictions thread, and I think I'll stick to that, even if it does seem a little ambitious given the circumstances.

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This show is fucked. It loses Ozedemir, and I'm after reading on MMA Fighting that UFC are trying to re-book Volkan and Shogun for another date rather than find Shogun a new opponent, and now they lose their South American headliner, and are stuck trying to get somebody to fight Kamaru Usman on short notice, when it's hard enough to find somebody to fight him with plenty of notice. 

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Think I seen Ariel tweet saying Usman said he won't fight anyone that isn't ranked.

Which leaves the options pretty slim as a lot of the top 15 are either booked or injured.

Only options I think they've got is to break up the Gunni & Magny fight or ask Cowboy Oliveira to fight on short notice again.

They needed something. Can't see them cancelling this with the amount of other fights on the card.

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Good fight but this card has really taken a massive hit losing both Ponzinibbio and the Shogun-Volkan co-main. 

Fair play to Maia though. Like WeeAl says there, it's not like there's a long line of guys wanting to fight Usman at the best of times. For Maia to jump in on just a few weeks' notice, and coming off back-to-back losses, it's a gamble. Another loss here for Maia, even with the built in short notice excuse, is disaster. And for a guy who's 40 years old who has already blown his couple of world title shots, a third consecutive loss now is going to be hard to come back from. Say what you want about Maia and his inconsistency or whatever but the man will fight anyone. Most guys in his position would be looking to take an easier fight to get back in the win column. Maia is taking on a top contender who nobody really wants to fight and it's probably more risk than reward for him. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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