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wandshogun09

UFC 231: Holloway vs Ortega

Who wins and how?   

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The Octagon is back in Toronto on Saturday 8th December with this...

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PPV MAIN CARD
Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega - Featherweight Title

Valentina Shevchenko vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk - Vacant Flyweight Title

Gunnar Nelson vs Alex Oliveira 

Hakeem Dawodu vs Kyle Bochniak

Jimi Manuwa vs Thiago Santos

 

FOX SPORTS 1 PRELIMS
Cláudia Gadelha vs Nina Ansaroff 

Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs Gilbert Burns 

Katlyn Chookagian vs Jessica Eye

Eryk Anders vs Elias Theodorou

 

FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Brad Katona vs Matthew Lopez

Chad Laprise vs Dhiego Lima

Carlos Diego Ferreira vs Kyle Nelson

Aleksandar Rakic vs Devin Clark 

 

I love this card. It's not a blockbuster like you get when a McGregor or GSP fight, or a Lesnar or Rousey in the past. But for quality fights, you can't really knock this card. 

 

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Holloway vs Ortega is a fight I've been counting the days to pretty much all year. It was supposed to go down at UFC 226 in July but Holloway was pulled off the card with concussion symptoms which is never good. He hasn't fought at all yet this year so hopefully he's well rested and comes into this fight healthy and good to go. This is too good of a fight to give up on so I'm glad they've rescheduled it.

These two are the absolute elite at 145. They've raised the bar at featherweight and both cemented in their last fights that the new era of 145 has arrived. Both emphatically beating what had previously been two of the best 145ers ever. 

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Max Holloway spent 2017 battering Jose Aldo. He TKO'd him in June to win the title. Then in their December rematch he did it again. The second fight he put an even worse beating on Aldo than the first time. Solidifying himself as the 145lb King. And on top of being 2-0 over Aldo, he also holds wins over Anthony Pettis, Ricardo Lamas, Jeremy Stephens, Cub Swanson and Charles Oliveira. Max Holloway is the man at featherweight. 

Or is he? 

Brian Ortega is 27 years old. Undefeated at 14-0-1 with 10 finishes. He had some great performances right out the gate in the UFC. He finished Thiago Tavares in a tremendous forgotten gem of a fight, knocked out Clay Guida, submitted Diego Brandao. But he seemed to go under most peoples' radars until 2017 when he forced everyone to take notice. He had another great fight with Renato Moicano at UFC 214 and came from behind to win by submission. Then came his proper acid test. He was put in his first main event in December against Cub Swanson. Fans and media questioned if Ortega would be able to handle the pressure of his first UFC headline spot and against an opponent the level of Swanson. But, cool as a cucumber, he had Cub tapping to a guillotine in 2 rounds. 

There was only one way to go for Ortega after that. One of the top dogs at 145. He got Frankie Edgar. I'll be honest, as much as I rated Ortega going into their fight in March, I didn't think he was ready for Frankie. 

I couldn't have been more wrong. 

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Boom! First round uppercut to the chin that, as you can see there, literally lifted Frankie right off his fucking feet! 

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Frankie was done. Curtains. He'd never been stopped before this. 13 years. 28 fights against the best of the best in 2 different weight classes. The wars with Maynard and Aldo and Oliveira. He was basically the poster boy for toughness and heart in the lighter weight classes. Granite. And 'T-City' put him away in less than 5 minutes. 

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So that's what we're dealing with here. Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar - two of the greatest featherweights of all time - and Holloway and Ortega have decisively and brutally finished them. The new breed. I don't have a clue how this goes. I really am 50/50. They're both good everywhere. On paper Ortega holds the edge in grappling but I'd say Holloway's the better striker overall. But then Ortega KO'd Edgar. Ah, fuck trying to work it out. I can't even decide who I want to win this, much less who I think will win. Just sit back and enjoy it. 

Oh and watch this promo. Holloway vs Ortega - 'Mission Impossible';

If you're not excited about this fight then I don't know why you're watching MMA. This is about as good as it gets. 

 

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Valentina Shevchenko vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk is your co-main event. I think this fight might set a new standard for the women's game and basically be to women's MMA what Holloway vs Ortega is to the 145 mens division. Raising the bar. 

This is actually the 4th time these two will have fought each other, but the first time under MMA rules. 

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Between 2006 and 2008, Shevchenko and Jedrzejczyk fought 3 times in Muay Thai competition. Shevchenko went 3-0 with decision victories. 

Here's Joanna back in 2016 talking about those losses and kind of predicting the future on them meeting again in the UFC flyweight division. Which didn't even exist back then. 

Anyway, after successful careers in Muay Thai, Valentina and Joanna both made the jump over to MMA. 

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Joanna Jedrzejczyk made it to the UFC first. She'd gone 27-3 in Kickboxing and had a 37-3 amateur Muay Thai record already. She made her MMA debut in 2012, had two amateur fights (subbing future UFC opponent Karolina Kowalkiewicz in one of them) and turned pro in the May. Within 2 years she'd gone 5-0 and got her first real break in June 2014 when she knocked out British women's MMA pioneer Rosi Sexton in Cage Warriors.

Then the UFC call came. She dropped to strawweight and fought Juliana Lima in her debut and won comfortably on points. In her second fight she narrowly outpointed Claudia Gadelha. 

At just 8-0, with 2 UFC fights under her belt, she was given a title shot. And the reign of terror really began. 

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March 2015 - UFC 185: Joanna decimates and TKOs champion Carla Esparza in two beautiful rounds in Dallas, Texas. She just battered Esparza. It didn't even seem like a fair fight. A total mugging. Look at that punch! Dallas hadn't seen a head snap back like that since the Kennedy assassination.

Joanna Champion was born. 

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June 2015 - Fight Night: Joanna defends her title. Bludgeoning poor Jessica Penne to a 3rd round TKO in Berlin, Germany. This was a massacre. One of the few times I've genuinely felt sorry for a fighter during a fight. Penne was out of her depth here. This probably took years off her life. 

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November 2015 - UFC 193: On the undercard of Rousey vs Holm, Joanna delivered a 5 round masterclass in Melbourne and beat Valerie Letourneau's eye shut en route to a lopsided points win. 

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July 2016 - TUF Finale: Jedrzejczyk vs Gadelha 2. This was the big grudge rematch after they'd spent months coaching TUF and getting in each others' faces. They went 5 rounds in a great fight and it was another close one, but ultimately Joanna went 2-0 up and left Las Vegas with the gold. 

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November 2016 - UFC 205: An all Polish battle at Madison Square Garden. Joanna survives a knockdown to come back and school Karolina Kowalkiewicz to a unanimous decision. Still the champ, still the MMA Queen of Poland. 

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May 2017 - UFC 211: Back in Dallas. This time Brazilian wrecking ball Jessica Andrade was coming for the belt. But Joanna proved too technical, played the matador and used Andrade's own aggression against her for another comfy decision win and another successful title defence. This was her best win IMO. Andrade has gone on to prove to be an absolute beast and has beat the likes of Kowalkiewicz and Gadelha more impressively than Joanna did. But Double J's performance on this night was on another level. 

At this point Joanna Jedrzejczyk was undefeated at 14-0, had defended her UFC belt 5 times and looked pretty much unstoppable. Of course, that's when it all comes crashing down (it hurts inside, you know). In Joanna's next two fights, Rose Namajunas proved to be her Boogeywoman, in a nice bit of irony. Joanna lost the title, her unbeaten streak and much of her aura by going 0-2 to Thug Rose. She came back with a decision over Tecia Torres on FOX in July and here we are. Going up to flyweight for this fight.

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Hello.

Valentina Shevchenko has a Kickboxing record of 56-2, a Pro Boxing record of 2-0 and a MMA record of 15-3. All that and she's still only 30. She's been busy. She's actually been fighting MMA a fair bit longer than most probably realise. She made her MMA debut all the way back in April 2003! But there were a few big gaps in her MMA career where she'd go back to Kickboxing. 

So yeah, from 2003 to 2006 she went 7-0 in MMA. Went away to Kickbox, came back in 2010 and suffered her first defeat to Liz Carmouche. She then won 4 in a row and the UFC got in touch. 

In December 2015 she made her UFC debut, a fight against Sarah Kaufman on short notice, and won on points. Over the next couple of years she added to that with impressive wins over Holly Holm and Julianna Pena. Her only UFC losses have been two competitive decisions against bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes. 

She dropped to flyweight for her last fight in February, taking on unbeaten 8-0 Brazilian, Priscila Cachoeira. It wound up being a brutal one way assault that was really hard to watch. 

Soon as the fight started Shevchenko was hurting her in the striking and after a few punches and a body kick, Cachoeira had this look on her face like she realised she'd signed up for something she wasn't ready for. Then it really got ugly. 

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Shevchenko absolutely mauling Cachoeira there. And it was like that the whole fight. Referee Mario Yamasaki copped a load of abuse and criticism for not stopping the fight sooner and I agree with that criticism. By the end of the first round it was obvious that Cachoeira was fucked up and she'd basically stopped defending herself. She was done. But she somehow survived to the second. Although why Cachoeira's corner let her back out for more of this just baffles my head. 

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The beating continued and got even worse. It was fucking grim to watch. Blood everywhere, Cachoeira getting destroyed, Shev battering her to a pulp and Yamasaki just standing around scratching his arse. 

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The attempted murder continued some more as Shev got in the mounted crucifix position and started raining down elbows and punches to Cachoeira's already smashed up face. 

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Realising that Yamasaki is not going to stop this and might just let Cachoeira, you know, die...Shev decides it time and mercifully snatches up a rear naked choke. It's over.

Nearly 10 minutes of GBH that. By the end of the fight Shevchenko had outlanded Cachoeira 230-3 in strikes. Fuck's sake! 

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That's a woman who's just happy to be alive. It's like when you see a picture of someone who's survived a shark attack or something. Just pure relief that it's over. 

Anyway, Shevchenko vs Jedrzejczyk 4! This is a hell of a fight. My head is telling me that Shev is just going to be too much. She's a bit bigger, she can match Joanna on the feet but I'd say she's better on the ground, and she's got that psychological edge of being 3-0 up already. But I think 125 might be a better weightclass for Joanna too. I'm favouring Shevchenko but I certainly wouldn't count Jedrzejczyk out.

 

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Renato Moicano vs Mirsad Bektic has been added to the card now. The reports are that this has been put together as a backup incase Holloway or Ortega don't make it. Always a good idea. This is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH***. Awesome fight. Two real darkhorses of the 145 division. Moicano is Brazilian, 29 years old and 13-1-1. The one loss was to Brian Ortega in a fight Moicano was probably winning before getting caught in a late guillotine choke. He got back in the win column by beating Calvin Kattar on points. And in his last fight at UFC 227 in August, he made short work of Cub Swanson, dropping and submitting him in a round. He's also got wins over Jeremy Stephens and Khabib's mate Zubaira Tukhugov. He's really good. BJJ black belt, strong Muay Thai, he's long and rangy, durable. I like him. And Bektic is an animal himself. Bosnian, 27 years old and a 13-1 record. His loss was that mental comeback knockout by Darren Elkins last year in a fight where Bektic was battering him. Besides that loss he's beaten Ricardo Lamas, Godofredo Pepey and Chas Skelly. Interesting parallel between these two with the records actually. They both have one loss in a fight where they were winning and got caught late. This could easily be a battle of the undefeated if they'd zigged instead of zagging. Excellent fight. 

 

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Claudia Gadelha vs Nina Ansaroff could be decent. Can't pretend I'm massively enthusiastic about it. I think this is more a case of Gadelha needing to rebuild. In her last two fights she's lost to Jessica Andrade and won an unconvincing decision over Carla Esparza. But Ansaroff might be a banana skin for her. I've never been that convinced by Ansaroff but she's coming off 3 wins now and beat Red Randa and Angela Hill in her last two. So she's coming in with some nice momentum. I think Gadelha should win this all day but she's had some rough fights the last couple of years and the cut to 115 has never been easy for her. 

 

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Jimi Manuwa vs Thiago Santos is ***WAND'S OTHER ONE TO WATCH*** and is surely going to be a complete bombfest. This was supposed to headline the São Paulo card in September but Manuwa got injured. I'm so glad they rebooked it. Should be bell-to-bell fireworks. Both throw everything with 100% power and murderous intentions. Both heavy handed as fuck. When they kick it sounds like a baseball bat. I can see this being one of those wild one rounders myself. Certainly not the fight to go and make a sandwich or have a piss. 

 

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Gunnar Nelson vs Cowboy Oliveira is another really strong fight that's been added. Nelson is 30 years old, 16-3-1 in MMA and a Renzo Gracie BJJ black belt. Outstanding grappler, reminds me of BJ Penn when he was younger. He's had his ups and downs in the UFC, some great performances but also a couple of setbacks. He got stopped by Santiago Ponzinibbio on the Glasgow show last July and has missed over a year of action due to a knee injury. He'll be wanting to make up for lost time here. But Oliveira is nobody's pushover. He's also 30, 20-5-1-2 record, purple belt in BJJ and has some Muay Thai experience. He's always fun to watch, never a dull moment. In his last 5 fights he's submitted Tim Means, knocked out Ryan LaFlare, had a FOTY candidate with Yancy Medeiros, submitted Carlos Condit, then in his last fight he scored a 39 second TKO over Carlo Pedersoli Jr. He's no world champion but he's a handful for most of the division. It'll be interesting to see how Gunni tackles him. 

 

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Katlyn Chookagian vs Jessica Eye could be a good little flyweight battle. Chookagian is a BJJ brown belt under Renzo Gracie, 11-1 in her MMA career and comes in off 3 wins. And Eye has kind of reinvigorated herself since dropping back to 125. She had started her career as a flyweight and went 10-1 before joining the UFC as a bantamweight. But at 135 she didn't do well and went 1-5-1 over her next 7 fights. She lost 4 consecutive fights before making a fresh start back down at 125 this year. She's won two in a row now, taking her to 12-1 if you discount her disaster run at 135. I genuinely think she's a darkhorse at flyweight. 

 

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Aleksandar Rakic vs Devin Clark is a fight I hope makes TV. Either the PPV or FS1 prelims, I'm easy. Because Rakic might be a legitimate prospect at 205. I've been highlighting his fights for a while in these opening posts. Of all the new blood 205ers we've seen over the last year or two, I think I like Rakic to go the furthest. I like the look of him, I think he's got something. He's Austrian, 26 years old, trains at ATT, he's 6'5" and he's 10-1 with 8 stoppages, 6 in the first round. He hasn't had that big test yet against anyone really established but he's looked great so far and showed a more well rounded game in his last fight against Justin Ledet in July. Clark is 28, 9-2 and looks decent himself but he's giving up quite a bit of height here and he's been finished twice already. Hopefully a showcase for Rakic and he can start climbing the ladder properly in 2019. 

 

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Eryk Anders vs Elias Theodorou will hopefully be a one way hammering with Theodorou as the nail. Never been keen on him. He's like a Poundland Rockhold. But he's smug as fuck but doesn't have the redeeming quality of being fun to watch fight. At least Rockhold has backed up his cockiness some of the time. This cheeseball knob is in love with himself and he's dull as fuck in the cage. I like Anders too so I hope he wrecks this chump. He took a bad beating off Thiago Santos last month though, this seems like a very quick turnaround. 

 

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Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs Gilbert Burns is another fight where I'm rooting against the Canadian. Never warmed to OAM. Like Knock-off Rockhold above, he mostly bores me to tears bell-to-bell and that cringey, forced 'Canadian Gangster' nickname he was trying to make stick was awful. I don't mind Burns either. He's a BJJ whizz but he's been known to knock guys out too. Hopefully he pulls one of them out here. 

 

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Hakeem Dawodu vs Kyle Bochniak genuinely might steal the show. Maybe. It has the ingredients of a barburner anyway. Dawodu is Canadian, 8-1 with 6 knockouts. And Bochniak had that mental fight with Zabit Magomedsharipov in April on the Brooklyn PPV. He seemed like a bit of a nutter in that fight, trying to walk through Zabit's strikes and screaming at him. Shades of Diego Sanchez. 

 

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Brad Katona vs Matthew Lopez...finally a Canadian I can cheer for. Brad Katona was one of the more likeable guys in the house on the DC vs Stipe season of TUF. He won the featherweight final, beating Jay Cucciniello. He seems a good guy but with a bit of an odd, sinister twist like Rory MacDonald. Lopez is 10-3 and comes in off two knockout losses. They're clearly trying to build Katona up gradually but Lopez could be a proper tricky test. He's lost a few but he's been mixing with the Raphael Assuncaos and Rani Yahyas. 

 

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Chad Laprise vs Dhiego Lima could be fun. I'm a bit indifferent to Laprise but he's usually in entertaining scraps. He's 3-1 in his last 4 and they all ended by knockout. Lima is coming off 3 losses in a row so he's probably fighting to stay on the roster here. He's 12-7 now. Alright to watch but not a patch on his big bro. 

 

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John Makdessi vs Carlos Diego Ferreira is one of the standouts on the prelims for me. Makdessi is one of those guys who's never going to trouble the top contenders but he's got a style that makes him really great to watch. Really good little striker, likes the "spinning shit". Ferreira is a fighter I was starting to get into but he just doesn't fight enough. He's an excellent grappler who can also bang a bit. He's 13-2 with his only losses coming to Dustin Poirier and Beneil Dariush. He beat Jared Gordon and Olivier Aubin-Mercier in his last two. Like this matchup a lot actually.

 

So there you have it, that's UFC 231. Not bad, is it? 

Edited by wandshogun09

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felt it was close originally but im heavily favouring Ortega here now. I think Holloway struggles with the weight again and Ortega takes him apart here in a bit of a superstar making performance. Skys the limit for T-City.

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Possibly but I don't think Ortega makes 145 easily either. He's not missed weight (I don't think) but he's looked rough as fuck a few times on fight week. Look at him here...

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You can only do that shit to yourself so many times. This is one of those fights that, as good as it's going to be, it'd be even better if they were fighting at 155. From a health POV first and foremost of course, they wouldn't be killing themselves on fight week. And as well as them being healthier, another added perk of that would be that the fight would almost certainly be better as a result. 

So yeah, the weight cut is rough on both of them. The bigger concern for Holloway for me is the concussion stuff. He looked and sounded terrible before he was pulled out last time. And even Dana, who usually throws fighters under the bus for last minute pullouts, seemed genuinely concerned for Max at the time. You can always change your weight cutting methods or switch weight class or whatever but once you start getting concussions, it seems like a scary as fuck slippery slope that there's no coming back from.

TJ Grant is the guy I always think of when the subject of concussions comes up. That guy couldn't have been hit with that shit at a worse time. He was right on the verge of getting himself in title contention, got a concussion in training (probably one of many and just the straw that broke the camel's back) and that was it. 2013 that was. He's never came back and nobody even talks about him these days. It's scary. I wonder how/what he's doing now? 

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fucking hell, ive never seen that picture before.

TJ Grant was on fire before he hung up the gloves, sad story that one. His last win against Gray Maynard was actually a title eliminator, shame he never got the chance to fight for the belt. Pretty sure i read years later that he was working in a mine.

edit: yep, http://m.sherdog.com/news/news/Report-ExUFC-Lightweight-Contender-TJ-Grant-Working-in-Mine-Not-Ruling-Out-Return-87055/amp

Edited by Egg Shen

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Completely forgot that the Benson Henderson vs TJ Grant title fight was actually booked. 

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With hindsight as well, Grant might've won that. He was building momentum and Bendo was heading for a bit of a slump. Just horrible timing for Grant to get hurt. 

Shows you how long Grant's been gone as well, that he beat Gray Maynard to earn that title shot. Gray Maynard in a title eliminator! Seems like a lifetime ago but it's only been 5 years.

Going into that show Bendo was the top 155er on the planet, Grant was the beast challenger, Rousey was pretty much the top star in the UFC, McGregor was a babyface, I was still in my 20s and me and the lady had just got engaged. Fast forward to now and Bendo's gone, Grant's done, Rousey is pretty much the top star in WWE, McGregor is a heel and I'm in my 30s, married and have two kids. Only thing that's stayed the same is I still haven't won the Lottery and Josh Barnett still > Frank Mir. 

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10 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

Only thing that's stayed the same is I still haven't won the Lottery and Josh Barnett still > Frank Mir. 

Plus BJ Penn and Shogun still think they have one more run left in them.

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Sad but true, Carbomb. Sad but true. At least Rashad saw sense. 

Saying that, here's me banging on about how much things have changed over the last 5 years. Yet we've just seen Rampage vs Wanderlei and we've got Chuck vs Tito in a few weeks! What is it, 2004? 

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Renato Moicano vs Mirsad Bektic has been added to this one according to MMAWeekly. Absolute corker of a fight. I've added a bit about it in the opening post. Chuffed with this addition, it's really strengthened the card overall for me. 

Apparently it's serving as a backup incase Holloway or Ortega drop out, Moicano will most likely get the spot from the reports. Hopefully it won't come to that but it's always good to have a backup. 

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https://www.mmafighting.com/2018/10/25/18023372/alex-cowboy-oliveira-vs-gunnar-nelson-ufc-231-toronto

This card is shaping up very nicely indeed. There's a lot of potential here for super exciting fights between this Oliveira fight, Moicano/Bektic, Holloway/Ortega, JJ/Schevchenko and Manuwa/Santos. A lovely card overall. 

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Man, that's another fun fight. Every time I think they're done with this card they add another quality fight. Oliveira is never involved in anything dull is he? 

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https://www.mmafighting.com/2018/11/15/18097727/mirsad-bektic-out-ufc-231-fight-renato-moicano

I'm sure if they don't find another opponent for Moicano, that he stays ready as the back up to the main event. Having said that, I'm sure they'll find somebody that'll be happy to take a PPV slot on 3 weeks notice. What's Zabit doing? Or Jeremy Stephens? 

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Ahh that’s proper shit. One of the best fights on the card. Like you say though, there’s still a bit of time to get a replacement in. 

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So, this weekend then?

My excitement for combat sport isn't the highest at the minute. The boxing this past weekend has sucked the life out of me. I don't think I will be getting goosebumps for an MMA or Boxing bout until Jones vs Gusty 2 later in the month. But I would be a fool not to make time for this one.

I want to predict a Holloway victory. I have always rated him highly since his UFC debut and felt he had the potential to be a top fighter. But I didn't think he would evolve into one of the best lighter-weight fighters in MMA history. He's also the more experienced fighter going into this fight. But is Ortega catching him at the right time? The injuries and weight-cut issues that Max has experienced this year are worrying. And it's not like Ortega needs much assistance anyway from what we have seen from him. 

Nevertheless, I will be happy if the fight lives up to the hype. 

 

Edited by jimufctna24

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