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I thought it was further away as well, was thinking mid-late March. 

Absolutely fucking love this card. Yeah, Jones vs Smith is a mismatch but even that’s got the Rocky underdog thing going for it. Woodley vs Usman is a legit fascinating matchup with two guys at their peak. Askren vs Lawler is a really interesting clash of styles and has that curiosity factor of Askren’s debut on the big stage/his lay-off etc. Then even on the undercard you’ve got Cody trying to rebuild against a tough and underrated Munhoz, old school vs new breed in Sanchez vs Gall and two of the most exciting prospects in the game right now in Zabit and Johnny Walker. 

Unbelievable card. Which no doubt means Jon Jones’ piss is going to murder it this week and cause it to be moved to Cousinfuck, Alabama in the dead of Friday night. Only 17 and a half people will attend the show, all related, 8 teeth between them. 

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Add me to those on the Johnny Walker bandwagon.

I caught up with his previous UFC fights last night. He's erm, very unique. Both as a person and how he fights. I am not sure how far he will go at 205lbs. But I really hope he becomes a player. Light-Heavyweight has been a bit shit for a while. Nonetheless, it's starting to show a bit of promise. Walker and Reyes are making a bit of noise. It seems that Gusty is going to be fighting more often. And Rockhold is now in the mix. He called out the winner of the Blachowicz vs Santos fight from this past weekend (I won't reveal who he called out, in case any of you are avoiding spoliers). 

Jones will only relinquish the belt when/if he moves up to Heavyweight (which I hope he does asap). But there are quite a few fun match-ups at 205lbs if the division pans out a certain way. 

 

 

 

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Upsets happen and that. It seems inconceivable Jones ever loses at LHW because he's just that good, but be interesting to see how Jones handles the schedule of two fights so close together after years of an apology tour. Skill v skill, Jones should really beat Smith in the same convincing fashion he did with Gus.

Woodley probably continues his current campaign of the P4P best. Genuinely, what a nightmare. We always read and hear about that cardio, but realistically no one has ever been able to do anything with it because he's so explosive.

I'm still in a funk about the UFC matching the funky one with our Robbie. Now GSP is gone for good, Robbie slots in that favourite active fighter slot now. Outside of maybe DC beating Jones, I want nothing more than Lawler to get another title run before he hangs it up. Although in reality I think Woodley sees to him always.

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I’ve got a feeling the wars might be finally catching up to Lawler now. By no means is he shot. In his last two he beat Cerrone in a really good fight and went 5 rounds in a losing effort against Dos Anjos. Maybe this break he’s had will have done him good and he’ll come back refreshed and with a renewed motivation. But he’s had so many fucking slobberknockers. Even going back to his first UFC run when he was in his early 20s there were the battles with Diaz and Lytle. Later on there were some rough fights with Melvin Manhoef and Scott Smith outside the UFC. But that spell from about 2014-2016 during this second UFC stint was proper brutal. In just a 2 year span we saw him go 10 really hard rounds with Johny Hendricks, 5 with Matt Brown and of course the back-to-back all-out wars with Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit. Then he suffered that big knockout against Woodley. That’s all between 2014 and 2016! That’s a lot of mileage in a short time. 

It’s a testament to how tough Lawler is that he’s still at the level he’s been in his last couple of fights. A lot of fighters would be a complete shell of themself after such a bastard of a schedule like that. But while Lawler looked like he might’ve lost a half step in his last fight, he still didn’t look like a spent force. It wasn’t sad to watch like say BJ Penn now or Rashad Evans at the end of his career. 

I love this Lawler vs Askren fight but it does have me conflicted at the same time. I want to see Askren do well in the UFC. He’s grown on me a lot over the years and he’s a great addition to throw into that division and ruffle feathers. Him losing right out the gate in his UFC debut wouldn’t be great. But at the same time, I can’t root against Robbie Lawler. I never have before and I’m not about to start now. 

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Lawler has definitely peaked, sadly. About as weathered as a fighter will be, considering. As you say, it's fairly remarkable he's still about competing at this level all things considered. It points to how double tough he is.

If Askren struggle to get him down then we have a good idea of how the fight will finish.

Edited by ColinBollocks

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Yeah, it’s a fascinating fight. Lawler has done pretty well against wrestlers in the past but he’s never faced one like Askren. Guys like Hendricks, Koscheck and Ellenberger were much more willing to stand with Lawler for a bit than Askren will be. And if you go back to some of Lawler’s most decisive losses, a few of them were against grapplers. Granted, you have to be an elite level grappler like Jacare or Shields to school Lawler like that but Askren is a bit of a freak wrestler. It’s a very, very interesting one as you can see the two clear ways it can go and both seem feasible enough. The x-factors like Lawler losing a step, both men coming off lay-offs, Askren’s UFC debut etc all just add to the intrigue. Askren might also benefit from having helped Woodley prepare for Lawler in the past. On the flipside, I don’t think Askren has ever faced someone who can hurt you quite like Lawler can. Douglas Lima is a big hitter but I still don’t think he’s got that same type of pure animalistic beast mode like Lawler does. 

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3 hours ago, wandshogun09 said:

It’s a testament to how tough Lawler is that he’s still at the level he’s been in his last couple of fights.

Christ, I can remember when the UFC picked him back up after his run with Strikeforce. Back then I considered him a fighter on the downward slide, coming in with a 1-3 record from his last 4 in Strikeforce.

I figured he'd get a little run in the UFC, but not really do much. 

That was in February 2013. 6 years, a knockout of the night, 4 fight of the nights, and a title run later he's still a top five welter. 

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I think Lawler's wins over Rory were his most impressive. Condit finished a developing version of Rory in 2010. But Lawler was the first fighter to beat the fully developed version of Rory. Not just once, but twice. Lawler clearly won the first fight on the cards and stopped Rory in their rematch. Rory defeated the likes of Woodley, Maia and Diaz around this period. So it's not like he was on a bad run or anything. Lawler's wins over Condit and Hendricks were also impressive. However, he was a bit fortunate to get the nod in both of those fights. As it turned out, I actually scored both fights in Lawler's favour. But most observers did not (especially the Condit fight). Regardless, he spent 3-4 years holding his own with the best in the division. And boy, were his fights enjoyable to watch. That's not bad for a fighter who I thought was finished as a serious contender in 2012. 

I want Askren to win on Saturday. He's a breath of fresh air outside of the cage. But I wouldn't be surprised if Lawler stops him. 

 

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Actually really looking forward too this card it's the day we come back off a Weekender festival stint so we will probs all watch it live. 

 

I hate jones so I want nothing more than him to loose but I cant see it happening unfortunately 

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It shouldn't be downplayed how our Rory thrived the second UFC decided to do proper drug testing. Like Bisping, the clean fighter with heart battered the current champ. It's no coincidence Lawler's battle blood coincided when fighters were testing positive.

Highlights what a Don he is.

Also, our dear wand posted one of the best gif's ever.

Edited by ColinBollocks

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This is 2 days away!! 

Came around fast, didn’t it? Such a ridiculously loaded up card. Can’t see past a complete squash in the main event. You’d be mad to pick Smith. I honestly think if Smith were to somehow pull this off it’d be a bigger upset than Serra vs GSP ever was. The gulf in skills between Jones and Smith as we speak today dwarfs the gap between Serra and GSP in 2007. One thing I like from listening to Smith this week is he seems genuinely confident. I think it’s unfounded and he’s going to get smashed but Jones is at that level  now where I think some guys are already mentally half defeated coming into the cage because he just has that almost unbeatable aura about him. I don’t get that sense at all with Smith. For right or wrong I think he legitimately fully believes he’s shocking the world Saturday night. 

I completely forgot Johnny Walker had stepped in against Cirkunov until the other day. Real test for Walker on paper and I’m unsure whether the quick turnaround will be a good or bad thing but I can’t wait to see him back in there. Mad bastard. 

One for the future?...

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Kevin Wilson's breakdown of the main event was quite interesting. He thinks that Smith's aggressive striking style has the potential to cause Jones a few issues. It's not that Smith is a better striker than Jones, or close to it. It's more that Smith has the potential to be somewhat competitive on the feet and land something big. Thus, Jones will probably be inclined to take the fight to the floor where he is the much better grappler. I think Jones will clinch fairly early and take Smith to the mat. From there, Jones will get the submission. 

Jones is also making a bit of noise about fighting at Heavyweight. He said earlier in the week that he would be open to fighting DC at Heavyweight if the right offer came along. Although he's more keen on fighting Brock. I would love the latter fight to occur. 

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Smith knocking off Jones would be the biggest upset since I've been watching, without a shadow of a doubt. Easily more shocking that Holm finishing Ronda or Conor wiping out Jose in 13 seconds. I just can't find a way in which Smith gets the win. I don't see Jones letting Smith trouble him with his striking, unless Smith decides to just forget all nuance of technique and try and flatten him in the opening 30 seconds. Even if that does happen, Jones has his wrestling and BJJ credentials to control where the fight takes place. 

I think with Smith it'll be a case in hindsight where everyone looks back like "shit, that guy really was leagues out of his depth". His wins at Light Heavyweight have come against two guys sinking into retirement, and a win against Volkan (who I don't really rate much at all anyway) where he was down on the scorecards before he turned things around. I think he either rushes in early doors, gets battered throughout the first and submitted in the second, or Jones just outclasses him en route to a dominant decision.

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Yeah. I like Smith a lot but I can see this being the most devastating Jones has looked since the days when he was pissing through the Brandon Veras and Vladimir Matyushenkos of the world. Either that or Jones will come in disinterested and feeling like there’s zero challenge to it, and just coast like in the OSP fight. But I can’t see that myself. I think with the controversy around ‘Picogramgate’ he’ll be really wanting to put on a show and make a statement here. Even moreso with a potential Brock Lesnar payday possibly looming. If he blasts through Smith here and passes all the USADA tests it’ll be a step in the right direction and maybe sets him up with a Brock or DC or whoever in the summer. 

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