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UFC 228: Woodley vs Till


wandshogun09
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Saturday 8th September in Dallas. The UFC is back on PPV with a big welterweight showdown. 

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PPV MAIN CARD
Tyron Woodley vs Darren Till - Welterweight Title

Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs Jessica Andrade

Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Brandon Davis

Jimmie Rivera vs John Dodson 

Niko Price vs Abdul Razak Alhassan 

 

FX PRELIMS
Carla Esparza vs Tatiana Suarez 

Aljamain Sterling vs Cody Stamann

Frank Camacho vs Geoff Neal

Darren Stewart vs Charles Byrd 

 

FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Diego Sanchez vs Craig White

Jim Miller vs Alex White

Irene Aldana vs Lucie Pudilova 

Jarred Brooks vs Roberto Sanchez

 

It's not what you'd call stacked or anything but I like this card. The main event is really interesting and there's a few quality fights on the undercard. 

 

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Tyron Woodley vs Darren Till for the 170lbs title tops the bill. Like I said, intriguing matchup. Woodley's been a formidable champion so far. He won the title by knocking out Robbie Lawler in two minutes just over two years ago. Since then he's defended the belt against probably the two most tricky and awkward fighters in the division in Demian Maia and Wonderboy Thompson twice. But his last couple of fights - the Maia and second Wonderboy fights - were complete shite. Wasn't all his fault, like I said they're both difficult to look good against and he was injured in the Maia fight. But he could do with a spectacular performance right about now.  

Enter Darren 'The Gorilla' Till. 

Till is a big boy at 170. 6'0", long and rangy, broad shoulders. He's a physical force at welterweight. When he makes weight. And that's the problem. He's missed weight twice out of six fights in the UFC so far and he's talked a lot recently that his days as a welter are numbered. Hopefully he hits the weight here. Because, that aside, there's a lot to like about Till as a fighter. He's undefeated at 17-0-1 with 12 stoppages. Never really got on everyone's radar until he bashed up Donald Cerrone in Poland last October. Following that, he finally brought the UFC to Liverpool and was matched up with Wonderboy in the main event. He won a razor close decision which many thought he lost but regardless, it goes in the W column for the Gorilla. 

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So here we are. As you can see, there's a noticable size difference. Till is the much bigger man. If this becomes a standup fight I'd favour Till. Woodley could still crack him, he's got KO power and we've seen him drop the likes of Lawler and Wonderboy in the past. But Till's striking technique coupled with his size and range, I think it will cause Woodley all kinds of grief. I don't think Woodley's looking for a kickboxing match though. A lot of this is going to hinge on Woodley's wrestling, IMO. Woodley's a really good wrestler but we haven't seen him use it much in recent fights and I think that's just because of the matchups. He wasn't going to be shooting in on Demian Maia, for example. Till's wrestling is untested though. We haven't seen him in with a powerhouse wrestler yet and until we see that, it's impossible to fully rate him. It's an interesting one though because although I think Woodley's going to go back to his bread and butter and wrestle a lot, he does like to stand too. It'll be interesting to see how much of that he does in this fight. 

Can't wait. 

 

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Nicco Montano vs Valentina Shevchenko for the flyweight strap co-headlines. Not the most anticipated of title fights, this. In fact, I'll go as far as to call this a bit of a squash match. I could be wrong, but I'm looking at Montano pretty much purely as a placeholder champ who's simply keeping that belt warm for Shevchenko.

Montano became champion by winning the TUF tournament late last year. She was a big underdog going in but managed to get through to the finals. She was supposed to fight Sijara Eubanks at the Finale but Eubanks pulled out so she faced veteran Roxanne Modafferi instead. She won on points and became the UFC's first women's flyweight champion. She's been out since with various injuries and illnesses, and has been criticised for 'ducking' Shevchenko. Even Ariel Helwani reported that the UFC were getting frustrated with her, which resulted in her and Dana both having a pop at Ariel publicly. Whatever the case, the fight is on now. 

And I think she's getting well and truly fucked up. Shevchenko is a beast. 15-3 in MMA, with 2 of the losses being close decisions to Amanda Nunes! She's got a 56-2 Kickboxing record, with 3 wins over Joanna Jedrzejczyk! She's 2-0 in Boxing. Plus a black-belt in Tae Kwon Do, black-belt in Judo etc etc. She dropped down to flyweight for her last fight in February and totally mauled Brazilian Priscila Cachoeira before submitting her. It was hard to watch. A beating so bad that referee Mario Yamasaki came under heavy criticism for not stopping the fight sooner. By the time the fight was over, Shevchenko had outlanded Cachoeira 230-3 in strikes, for fuck's sake! Cachoeira was unbeaten going in, it's not like she was a complete can. But it quickly became clear she was in way over her head. I mean, fair play to Nicco for coming through TUF as an underdog and winning the thing. But she's 4-2 and I don't remember anything particularly impressive about her performances. I think Shev takes this pretty much whenever and however she wants. 

 

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Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs Jessica Andrade is a strong fight in the strawweight division. This could well turn out to be a number one contenders match. Especially if Kowalkiewicz wins because she's already got a win over Champ Rose. Andrade is also coming off impressive back-to-back wins over Claudia Gadelha and Tecia Torres so she should be in with a shout for the title shot if she adds Kowalkiewicz's name to that list. Really good little fight, this. Kowalkiewicz is quality and I'd love to see a rematch between her and Rose. The first fight was an excellent and very close 3 rounder. I'd like to see them do it again over 5. But I've got a feeling Andrade takes this. She's a little tank of a woman. A proper bulldozer at flyweight. I can see her overpowering Karolina here.

 

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Niko Price vs Abdul Razak Alhassan should be fireworks. I've become a big fan of Price. Fun to watch, he's got some raw talent and he can finish a fight in the blink of an eye from almost any position. We saw that in his last fight when he knocked out Randy Brown with punches from off his back, like you used to be able to do on the UFC: Sudden Impact game for the Playstation. And Alhassan is an explosive hard hitter himself. 9-1 with all his wins coming by knockout. His uppercut KO on Sabah Homasi was one of the best highlight reel knockouts of last year. As clean a KO as it gets. This is going to be some fight. 

 

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Carla Esparza vs Tatiana Suarez is a fight I'm kind of into just because I can't stand Esparza and I'm hoping Suarez throttles the piss out of her. I like Suarez anyway. She was the TUF 23 tournament winner back in 2016, she's 6-0 in MMA and submitted the hyped Alexa Grasso in a round in May. I think Suarez is a legit prospect and she's a really strong grappler. Incredible backstory as well. She was actually training to wrestle at the 2012 Olympics in London but she injured her neck and had to pull out. The CAT scans on her neck also revealed that she had cancer. Long story short, she beat cancer before she even had her first MMA fight. 

 

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Aljamain Sterling vs Cody Stamann could be good. Quite enjoy Sterling. He's had a few blips but I think he's got potential. He got KO'd to fuck by Marlon Moraes not long ago but he bounced back with a solid win over Brett Johns and he beat Renan Barao as well. It feels like the ingredients are there but something hasn't quite clicked yet to really bring them all together for whatever reason. Stamann is a tough opponent though. He's not really ever talked about but he's 17-1 and on a 10 fight streak with decisions over Bryan Caraway and Tom Duquesnoy in his last two. 

 

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Jimmie Rivera vs John Dodson is a fight I'm looking forward to. Rivera is trying to rebound here. He got knocked spark out in 33 seconds by Marlon Moraes in June. He was on a 20 fight winning streak before that with wins over Urijah Faber, Thomas Almeida, Iuri Alcantara and Pedro Munhoz. Moraes fucked him up before he even got going. Be interesting to see if that will effect his mindset and confidence going forward. He's got a tricky opponent here in John Dodson. This is certainly no soft bounce back fight. 

 

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Jim Miller vs Alex White is one of those kind of uncomfortable ones for me. Jim Miller used to be a handful for anyone at 155. He never made it to challenge for the title but he was always the guy just under that level. Gave a lot of top lightweights a hard fight. Now he's in a position where he's lost his last 4 fights and has gone 6-4 in his last 10. He got knocked out pretty badly by Dan Hooker last time out as well. He's not completely fucked like a Rashad, Penn or Bigfoot. He took Dustin Poirier and Anthony Pettis the distance in good fights last year. But it's clear he's lost a few steps and you just get the sense watching him that it's all downhill from here. Alex White is a definite step down in competition for Miller though. I could see him winning this one. If he loses to White, it's probably time to hang up the gloves. 

 

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Diego Sanchez vs Craig White is a late addition to this card. Diego was last seen getting wiped out by a Matt Brown elbow last November. He's 1-3 in his last 4 and was finished in the first round in all 3 of those defeats. A worrying sign for a guy who used to be damn near impossible to stop. He's in with Brit Craig White, 14-8, fought in Cage Warriors. White made his UFC debut in May, stepping in to fight Neil Magny on short notice. He lost by TKO but it's earned him another crack here. 

 

That's 228 then. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Oh did it? I missed that and guessed the bout order because I hadn't seen an official one yet. 

I wouldn't have Esparza vs Suarez on the main card. The other two women's fights are main card worthy though, a title fight and a top contender fight. But Esparza vs Suarez has prelim written all over it. 

Edit - seems you're right @Egg Shen updated the opening post. That's the order MMA Junkie have it. Bonus that Niko Price vs Abdul Razak Alhassan is listed now. That's a great fight. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Well this is fucking shit. 

BJPenn.com are reporting that Yair Rodriguez is injured and out of the fight with Zabit Magomedsharipov. Haven't seen it on the bigger, more reliable sites like MMAJunkie or MMAFighting so I'm hoping they're chatting shite but it's not looking good. Really hurts this card if that fight is off. It was the best fight on the entire show for me. 

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36 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

Well this is fucking shit. 

BJPenn.com are reporting that Yair Rodriguez is injured and out of the fight with Zabit Magomedsharipov. Haven't seen it on the bigger, more reliable sites like MMAJunkie or MMAFighting so I'm hoping they're chatting shite but it's not looking good. Really hurts this card if that fight is off. It was the best fight on the entire show for me. 

I wouldn't even like to hazard a guess at what shade of purple Dana White is right about now.

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If the fight is definitely off I think they need to shuffle the deck here. The 3 womens fights in a row on the PPV is going to make the main card feel a bit too Invicta. I've got no problem with the women's fights but it's better to sprinkle them throughout the card not all in one block on the PPV. 

As much as I like Tatiana Suarez, I'd sack her fight with Esparza off to FS1 or even Fight Pass. If they're finding a replacement for Zabit I'd definitely keep him on the main card and I'd also bump Price vs Alhassan up to the PPV. 

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Yeh, 3 womens fights on a PPV isn't doing anything for me. 3 on a show maybe (though id be happy if they all buggered off to Invicta) but like you said, they should be sprinked throughout the card.

John Lineker is calling for the Zabit fight! I'm up for that.

 

Edited by Egg Shen
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