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UFC on FOX: Alvarez vs Poirier 2 - Jul 28


wandshogun09
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The UFC's stacked summer continues Saturday 28th July on Big FOX. The UFC comes back to Hart Country - Calgary, Alberta, Canada for the first time since 2012. 

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FOX MAIN CARD
Eddie Alvarez vs Dustin Poirier 

Jose Aldo vs Jeremy Stephens 

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Tecia Torres 

Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs Alexander Hernandez 

 

FOX PRELIMS
Jordan Mein vs Alex Morono

Islam Makhachev vs Kajan Johnson 

Hakeem Dawodu vs Austin Arnett

Ion Cutelaba vs Gadzhimurad Antigulov 

 

FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
John Makdessi vs Ross Pearson

Alexis Davis vs Katlyn Chookagian

Dustin Ortiz vs Matheus Nicolau

Randa Markos vs Nina Ansaroff

Devin Powell vs Alvaro Herrera 

 

That's a hell of a card. This is only the second time the UFC have been to Calgary. The first time was UFC 149. A card that promised so much on paper but completely shat the bed on the night. A right rotter of a show. In the fallout Dana vowed he would somehow make it up to the fans in Calgary. It took a while but here we are, 6 years later almost to the day. This looks fantastic on paper. If THIS card turns out crap then it's Calgary's fault and they should never go back there. 

Anyway...

 

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Alvarez vs Poirier 2 is the main event. Like I said, if this fails to deliver then Calgary is cursed. Because I can't really envision a way these two don't go to war. There's too much on the line. Sometimes when the stakes are high you see guys fight safe. But with these two there's also water under the bridge and too much unfinished business. Playing it safe just isn't going to cut it. 

This is a rematch that's needed to happen since the second the first fight ended. May 13th 2017 at UFC 211 is when they first met.

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It had high expectations going in and it turned out to be a brilliant fight. After a competitive first round things really started to heat up in the second. It became a slugfest and both had each other hurt and rocked. That's when it got all controversial. Towards the end of round 2, Alvarez briefly got Poirier down and as Poirier was getting up, Alvarez threw three knees to the head. But Poirier had a hand down on the mat when the knees connected so they were illegal strikes. The last knee in particular fucked Poirier right up. 

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It landed right on the temple and he'd also been cut pretty bad as a direct result of the knees in the exchange. The fight was stopped and ruled a No Contest. 

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After the fight both men were very respectful to each other. Alvarez was apologetic and said it was a thing that happened in the heat of battle. Poirier backed up his comments and even got on the crowd's case when they booed Eddie. 

It was a great fight with a really unfortunate ending. It seemed like a no-brainer that they'd run it back and do the immediate rematch. But the UFC took a different route. They booked Poirier against Anthony Pettis for November. And they had Alvarez coach TUF opposite Justin Gaethje, with the two facing off in December. Poirier and Alvarez both came through those fights victorious. Again, it seemed like the logical next step would be to do the rematch. But again, it didn't happen. Poirier fought Gaethje himself in April and won by 4th round TKO in a FOTY barnburner. Meanwhile, Alvarez's UFC contract was coming to an end so it was up in the air what the next move for him would be. 

Somewhere along the line, the respect between these two has turned to a bit of bad blood. No doubt they still respect each others' fighting abilities but the way the first fight ended and the stop/start talks about doing the rematch seems to have caused some bad feeling to bubble up. 

Here's Poirier's POV on the situation...

"I felt the rematch should have happened before he got that TUF gig. I was winning the fight, some foul stuff happened and we should've run it back. He shouldn't have been rewarded with a TV show and another big fight. But, this isn't the fair business, this is the fight business, so you keep rolling."

"I don't think the guy wants to fight me. I'm not a quitter, man. Look at my history. If he has to tell himself that to feel good about the 10 minutes he got his ass whooped, whatever. The crazy thing is, I grew up looking up to Eddie. He was a big name fighting out of Japan and HDNet used to do specials on him, and I was a young fighter then and I really liked the guy. Still now I respect him as a fighter, he's a strong fighter and he has a lot of heart. But as a person...he's a bitch, man. He's talking shit when I stood up for him in the heat of the moment. Maybe in the heat of the moment it was an accident. But now that I've gone back and watched the fight as a fan like he said, I think it was on purpose. It was a veteran move. He knew he was going out of that fight and he saw a chance to land a strike on a guy and did it. He knew exactly what he was doing. So he quit. Fuck Eddie. Fight me 5 rounds and see who quits." - Dustin Poirier 

Thankfully, 5 rounds is what we get this time. 

On Alvarez's end, he's taking a big gamble here. This is the last fight on his current UFC contract. If he wins this it puts him in a fantastic position to negotiate a new deal. If he loses, that's out the window. Here's Eddie's take on his position...

"The thought of ducking or not signing, that's just silly talk. I'm betting on myself. There wasn't a new contract signed, and whoever - whether it's his camp or whoever's camp that is kinda putting that out there - that's bullcrap. That's not what happened. There was no deal signed, but there's a point in every fighter's career where sometimes you roll the dice on yourself. Sometimes you believe in yourself and you roll the dice. I like to put myself in a very emotional state, and I think by rolling the dice on myself, putting my back against the wall - in the past I've done really well there. So I'm kinda putting my own back against the wall and I'm rolling the dice and betting on me." - Eddie Alvarez

Like I said, there's a lot on the line. And not just the score to settle and not just Alvarez's bargaining position after this fight. There are also possible legitimate title shot implications for the winner of this fight. With McGregor's return up in the air, Ferguson out for fuck knows how long, Kevin Lee still working his way back into contention, the division is wide open for one of these two to make a statement here and bag that title shot. 

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Proper buzzing for this. It's a great fight style-wise. It's got some backstory behind it, unfinished business. There's a grudge. There's high stakes. It's the main event on Big FOX. It's fucking perfect is what it is. Perfect matchup, perfect timing. So perfect I just spat my gum out and swatted it away with my forearm. Absolutely Perfect! 

 

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Jose Aldo vs Jeremy Stephens co-headlines. This could've easily main evented a Brazil Fight Night on its own and wouldn't look out of place on a PPV main card. It sounds kind of messed up but the best thing about Aldo not being in the title picture anymore is fights like this. When he was champ forever he always had to fight the next contender. And although Stephens is a good fighter, he's one that might never quite get himself in position for a title shot. Now they can just go ahead and book it. Love the matchup. Should answer some questions about what Aldo has left as well. After the back-to-back losses to Max Holloway, I saw people talking like Aldo is shot or something but I think it's way premature for that kind of talk. Holloway can do that to a lot of men. And before the Holloway losses, Aldo dominated Frankie Edgar to a shutout at UFC 200. If Aldo gets wrecked by Stephens then we can talk about declines but until then, I'm more inclined to believe that it was more down to Holloway just being a beast. The thing I love about this is that Stephens is going to fancy his chances in the striking. He's got undeniably brutal KO power and he's on form coming in off 3 consecutive wins. He'll fancy the job. Which will only make the fight better. 

 

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Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Tecia Torres is very similar to the above in that I think Joanna is in almost the exact same boat as Aldo. She was a dominant champion. She didn't just beat all challengers she outclassed them and methodically took them apart. It was sinister to watch. Then she ran into her Max Holloway in Rose Namajunas. Thug Rose shocked the MMA world by KOing Joanna inside a round on the MSG show in November. Then she validated it further by outworking Joanna over 5 rounds in their April rematch. At 0-2 to the current champ, Joanna is in limbo and is now faced with the choice of either moving up for a fresh start at flyweight, or climbing the strawweight ladder from the bottom again. She's gone for the second option. Personally, I'd have loved to have seen her up at 125. A title fight with Valentina Shevchenko would instantly legitimise and give credibility to the flyweight title. But here she is still plugging away at 115, still making that weight cut and I guess just hoping that someone dethrones Rose soon because the chances of Rose vs Joanna 3 anytime soon are slim. Tecia Torres is an opponent I expect Joanna to beat, if she isn't completely mentally gone after those 2 losses to Rose. Torres is a solid fighter herself. 10-2 record. Has wins over Namajunas and Michelle Waterson but she's coming off a loss to Jessica Andrade.

An interesting little twist here is that Torres has apparently been training with none other than Rose Namajunas for this fight. 

 

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Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs Alexander Hernandez is a funny one. First time I've ever been interested in anything involving Aubin-Mercier. Find him boring as fuck usually. But I'm intrigued by this Alexander Hernandez. I'd never heard of him before his UFC debut in March. But he soon got my attention when he knocked out the usually durable Beneil Dariush in 42 fucking seconds! Dariush is a guy who's beat Jim Miller, James Vick and Michael Johnson and is a BJJ and Muay Thai black-belt. He's absolutely no pushover. Gone in 42 seconds. Hernandez looks the real deal to me. He's 25 years old and has a 9-1 record with 6 finishes. 

OAM isn't a shit fighter by any means. 11-2 and a decent all-rounder. He'll certainly ask some questions of Hernandez. He's just a bit of a dullard. He recently tried to make up for his blandness by dubbing himself the 'Canadian Gangster'. Yeah. Look at the picture again. Gangster. It's like Millhouse acting ghetto. 

 

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Dustin Ortiz vs Matheus Nicolau probably won't get much love on a card like this but it might pleasantly surprise you. I like Ortiz. Good little fighter. He holds the record for the fastest finish in flyweight history, for his 15 second KO of Hector Sandoval last August. Beat Alexandre Pantoja in his last fight and also has wins over Ray Borg, Zach Makovsky and Justin Scoggins. Nicolau is a BJJ black-belt with a 13-1-1 record. He's just beat Louis Smolka and John Moraga back-to-back. 

 

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I'm going with Ion Cutelaba vs Gadzhimurad Antigulov as ***WAND'S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. This could be total mayhem, bedlam, chaos, whatever. Cutelaba is a potential star if he can keep a winning streak going. He has something. There's an intensity there like you rarely see, even in a sport filled with intense characters. He's got the 'Hulk' gimmick with the painting himself green for the weigh ins and stuff. Bit silly but it sets him apart. Came across like an absolute star in the making in his last fight against Henrique Da Silva last June. Paced back and forth during the intros, never taking his eyes off Da Silva. The fight started, they collided, and 22 seconds later Da Silva was left in a heap as Cutelaba marched around like a lunatic. He looked the business that night. So what did he go and do? He got a USADA suspension for 'ozone therapy' whatever the shit that is. Something to do with blood manipulation which is on the USADA banned list. Anyway, he got a 6 month suspension. He's back now. Hopefully his run-ins with USADA are in the rearview.  He's 13-3-1 in his career, 2-2 in his last 4 so I'm not expecting him to Goldberg through the 205 ranks or anything. But he's definitely somebody worth keeping an eye on and he just adds something to a division that's needed strengthening for a while. He's up against Gadzhimurad Antigulov. A hard Russian with a 20-4 record. He's riding a 14 fight winning streak and has stopped his last 6 opponents, 5 of them in the first round. Not the fight that immediately jumps out at you on this card because they're not really established names yet, but it's a killer fight on paper. 

As an aside, I've got to say I love this little mini tournament of new blood and prospects they've got going on at 205 at the moment. Scheduled over the next few months you've got Cutelaba vs Antigulov, Ledet vs Rakic, Saki vs Rountree, Kimball vs Stosic then you've got Volkan Oezdemir and Tyson Pedro in big fights against Shogun and OSP respectively. The 205 division has been criticised for being shallow for the longest time but I actually think we're seeing an exciting new wave coming through here. The division is just in an evolving phase right now. I like all these matchups though. Fuck it. Put all these new guys against each other and let's see what's what. 

 

 

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Islam Makhachev vs Kajan Johnson will likely be an entertaining fight. This Makhachev has gone right under the radar. Nobody talks about him like they do some of the other Russian standouts but he's really good from what I've seen so far. 15-1 record. Beat Nik Lentz and KO'd Gleison Tibau in about a minute in his last fight. Trains with Khabib at AKA. Still only 26 as well. Kajan Johnson is scrappy and will try to make a real fight of it with anyone. I think he's outmatched here but he'll bring it. 

 

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Randa Markos vs Nina Ansaroff isn't going to determine any number one contenders. These two are both kind of floundering. But saying that I like the fight. I think they're quite evenly matched and they both need to make a statement and soon if they ever want to be more than just a journeywoman. I've liked Randa Markos since she was on TUF a few years back. On a show full of twats like Herrig, Esparza, Rawlings and of course Vinegar Tits, Randa stood out as just a real and normal woman who was chasing her dream instead of craving 15 minutes of reality TV fame like the names above. She was a big babyface with me for eliminating Felice Herrig on the show as well. Sadly since TUF she's been very hit and miss. She's been alternating between wins and losses every single fight over her last 10! She's 8-5 now. Not good. She won her last fight so she's due to lose this one. Ansaroff is also 8-5. She's coming off 2 wins but, like Randa, she's been very inconsistent. At this point she's best known for being Amanda Nunes' girlfriend. I genuinely think this is a good fight though. The styles match up well, especially if they both come to grapple. 

 

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Jordan Mein vs Alex Morono is worth a mention just because Mein is usually good value. There was a time when he seemed on the verge of breaking out and becoming a real player at 170 but his roll has slowed for whatever reason. I think it might be a case of him just burning out too soon. He's only 28 but he started young and he's already had 42 fights, 49 if you include the amateurs. That's a lot of shit to put your body through in a short time. There's been spells when he's shown all the potential in the world but he hasn't been able to get over that hump against the elite. This is a homecoming for him as he's from Alberta. Morono is a solid enough test. 14-4-1 with wins over Josh Burkman and Kyle Noke on his résumé. 

 

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Hakeem Dawodu vs Austin Arnett is going to be another crowd pleaser. Dawodu was born in Calgary. He's 7-1-1 and was unbeaten before his UFC debut in March. Real good striker. Stopped 5 of his first 6 opponents. Don't recall seeing Arnett before. He's 15-4 and lost his last two.  

 

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John Makdessi vs Ross Pearson is probably going to be entertaining enough. I just think Pearson is done. He won his last fight, a decision over Mizuto Hirota, but before that he'd lost 4 on the trot and lost 7 of his last 10! He got KO'd badly by Dan Hooker as well. The Hirota win feels like papering over the cracks at this point. He's just got the feel of a fighter on borrowed time. Shame because he seems a genuinely top bloke. Makdessi's got some nasty striking as well. Got a bad feeling Pearson is getting ironed out again. 

 

Didn't mean for that to go on so long but it's such a good card I got carried away and gave it the PPV hype job ;) this one deserves it though.

Edited by wandshogun09
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I've flipped a few times on it. I'm leaning towards Poirier myself. He's been active, he's really looked sharper than ever since losing to Michael Johnson a while back, he's got that momentum coming off the Gaethje win and he genuinely believes he was on his way to stopping Alvarez last time they fought. 

All that said, Eddie has to win this. Last fight on his contract so the outcome is obviously going to effect his bargaining position going into his new contract negotiations. Also, you could argue that Poirier coming off that crazy war with Gaethje then having to turn back around and fight another battle-tested guy like Alvarez might not be the best for him. 

It's a tough call, this. Just got a feeling Poirier comes out on top. Rooting for Eddie though. 

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Same here.

Wasnt Dustin getting the better of the last fight before the stoppage too? I feel if either of the two is improving its Dustin, and hes gotta be riding high confidence wise. I'll take Dustin in a FOTY contender, but i want Alvarez to win.

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I'm going to try and squeeze a rewatch of Poirier vs Alvarez 1 before the weekend. The narrative seems to be that Poirier was battering him but most of that talk is coming from Poirier himself. I definitely remember Poirier having him badly rocked at some point but I also recall Eddie hurting Poirier as well, before the illegal knee controversy, but of course Dustin leaves that bit out when reminiscing on their first fight. 

Definitely agree that of the two Poirier seems to be the one who's improving and has upward momentum at the moment. Thats part of the reason I'm edging towards him. But it's splitting hairs with these two. If Eddie has a good night I could definitely see him winning this, and vice versa. I think the timing slightly favours Pea Head but maybe that's bollocks because who knows what that Gaethje fight took out of him? 

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Me neither. There was the Zombie fight years ago, which was awesome, but Poirier lost that. His last few fights have been tough really. The Pettis and Miller fights were pretty hard hitting but Poirier was mostly in control. The Gaethje fight was something else though. Poirier really showed something to come through that with a win but you don't want too many of those fights in your career. It's great for us to watch but it shortens a career in most cases.

Gaethje has probably knocked time off both these guys' careers over the last 8 months. 

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Joanna's one of those weird ones for me where she says stupid, goofy shit sometimes and acts a twat often, but I'm so in love with her fighting style that I remain a huge fan. She's basically the female Wanderlei Silva in that sense. 

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She definitely comes across as a bully and a twat with regards to an opponent but at the end of the day shes a prize fighter and intimidation is a big part of her game. I think in MMA fans lose sight of the fact that pychological warfare is a big part of the sport, i think certain fans (not you particularly carbomb) get so hung up on the 'respect' thing that goes along with Martial Arts that they forget that certain fighters are trying everything they can to gain an advantage. Id definitely put Joanna in that category.

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1 hour ago, Egg Shen said:

She definitely comes across as a bully and a twat with regards to an opponent but at the end of the day shes a prize fighter and intimidation is a big part of her game. I think in MMA fans lose sight of the fact that pychological warfare is a big part of the sport, i think certain fans (not you particularly carbomb) get so hung up on the 'respect' thing that goes along with Martial Arts that they forget that certain fighters are trying everything they can to gain an advantage. Id definitely put Joanna in that category.

I appreciate not everyone can be GSP, but bullying and intimidation as part of tactics is a bit off, for me. Felt the same about Rousey, so was very satisfied when she got her arse handed to her by Holm.

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2 hours ago, Carbomb said:

It's not just that she's goofy, though. Sometimes she comes across as a bully and a twat.

There's definitely some of that but again, Wandy was the same in Pride and I love the daft cunt. I'm with Ebb's point. It's fighting at the end of the day. If it was Tennis and Joanna was carrying on like she does to her opponents I'd feel differently but the mind games are a big part of it. Obviously, for some it doesn't come into it. There are loads of examples, GSP is probably the best one. Fuck, Shogun as well. Wandy and Shogun are my two favourites ever, were teammates, are still friends today but they couldn't have been more opposite in how they approached fight buildups. Wandy was like a rabid pitbull in his temperament, Shogun was like a placcid golden retriever in his. I'm sure away from the cage Wandy, and Joanna, are anything but bullies. It's just the mindset some fighters need to put themselves in, I guess.

I can see why some find it off putting though. 

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