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wandshogun09

UFC 236: Holloway vs Poirier 2 - Apr 13 🇺🇸

Who wins and how?   

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Saturday 13th April the UFC is back on PPV with a big double header in WCW Country - Atlanta, Georgia. 

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PPV MAIN CARD
Max Holloway vs Dustin Poirier - Interim Lightweight Title

Kelvin Gastelum vs Israel Adesanya - Interim Middleweight Title

Eryk Anders vs Khalil Rountree 

Alan Jouban vs Dwight Grant

Ovince Saint Preux vs Nikita Krylov

 

ESPN PRELIMS
Jalin Turner vs Matt Frevola 

Wilson Reis vs Alexandre Pantoja

Max Griffin vs Zelim Imadaev 

Boston Salmon vs Khalid Taha

 

FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Curtis Millender vs Belal Muhammad

Montel Jackson vs Andre Soukhamthath 

Poliana Botelho vs Lauren Mueller

Brandon Davis vs Randy Costa

 

Card isn’t complete yet but I wanted to get the ball rolling on this with it only being a month or so away. Guessing there’ll probably be another 4 or 5 fights added yet to fill out the ESPN and Fight Pass bits. Good card so far but could do with at least one more solid main card worthy fight adding to me. 

 

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Max Holloway vs Dustin Poirier 2 is a fucking fantastic fight. Yeah, the interim title merry-go-round got silly a long time ago but they’re going to keep doing it regardless. You can’t really complain at a fight like this. And in this case, the interim was kind of justified as Khabib might be sitting out a while until his teammates suspensions are up. Plus I think it was a way to appease Poirier who was getting increasingly and understandably frustrated with the title situation. 

Anyway...

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Yeah, it’s a rematch. A long time in the making. They first met as relative rookies back in February 2012. Poirier was 23 years old with a 11-1 record, Holloway was just 20 years old, 4-0 and making his UFC debut. The fight was on the FX prelims at UFC 143. Nick Diaz vs Carlos Condit headlined that card. That seems like a lifetime ago now, doesn’t it? Looking up that show now, Josh Koscheck and Matt Riddle were on the card, Renan Barão was still on the rise, and Wonderboy Thompson was the first fight on the Facebook prelims stream! 

Holloway vs Poirier 1 from 2012 means nothing in relation to this rematch 2019. They’re both completely different fighters now. But I’m firing up Fight Pass to revisit it anyway. Don’t think I’ve seen it since the night it happened so this should make for interesting viewing. 

Fuck me, Steve Mazzagatti is reffing and Mike Goldberg is commentating. This really is a throwback. 

Round 1: They don’t waste any time here. Both going after it early but not recklessly. Everything is technical and in combinations. Even at this early stage of their careers, especially Holloway, you can see the potential there. 

Less than a minute in and Rogan’s already impressed with Magic Max;

”I’ll tell you what, the first views that we’re getting here of Max Holloway, I like his technique. I like the way he holds his hands. His movement is excellent. Looks like a very seasoned striker.” - Joe Rogan 

Goldberg then compares him to Anthony Pettis, which is funny to hear now as both these guys both went on to beat Pettis. 

Anyway, Max is looking sharp early and doesn’t appear to have any of the old ‘Octagon Jitters’. Nearly two minutes in and Holloway is clearly starting to get the better of the striking, coming close on a big flying knee at one point. 

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Poirier wisely switches things up and initiates a clinch against the fence to slow Max’s momentum down. Holloway defends the takedown well at first but Poirier picks him up and slams him and almost immediately gets into full mount. Poirier softens him up with some elbows and punches and they go into a scramble. He goes from an armbar attempt to a triangle, then gets into the mounted triangle position and combines that with another armbar...

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That’s a wrap. Holloway has to tap. 

Winner - Dustin Poirier by submission. Round 1 - 3:23. 

Good little fight that was. No doubt the UFC will upload it to their YouTube channel before the show if they haven’t already. 

They’ve both obviously come a long way since then. 

Holloway went 16-2 in his next 18 fights. His only losses being a debatable points loss to Dennis Bermudez and a decision loss to Conor McGregor, both in 2013. Since then he’s been unstoppable. Beating the likes of Cub Swanson, Charles Oliveira, Jeremy Stephens, Ricardo Lamas and Anthony Pettis along the way. In 2017 he finally got the gold and beat one of the GOAT in Jose Aldo, twice, to become the undisputed UFC featherweight champion and solidify himself as the King of 145. 

Poirier has had more of an up and down, turbulent run. He’s had more highs than lows but the lows were pretty bad. He’s gone 12-4-1 since beating Holloway. Was finished by Conor McGregor, Korean Zombie and Michael Johnson but beat Anthony Pettis, Jim Miller, Bobby Green, Joseph Duffy and Yancy Medeiros. 

It’s in Poirier’s last few fights he’s really forced his way into the title picture though. After beating Pettis in November 2017, he was lined up with an April 2018 clash against Justin Gaethje on FOX. 

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What followed was THE fight of 2018. The word ‘war’ is probably the most overused among combat sports fans and media but there’s no better word for what this fight was. I wouldn’t quite put it on the same level as Arturo Gatti vs Mickey Ward because that trilogy is on a pedestal all on its own for me, but Poirier and Gaethje had a good old stab at it. 

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They absolutely battered each other. Both got wobbled and hurt a bunch of times and it was so back and forth with the momentum shifts that you couldn’t look away from it. Gaethje being the fucking cement headed lunatic he is, it seemed he was starting to pull ahead by the end of the 3rd round. He’d been kicking the shit out of Poirier’s legs and it was clearly starting to pay off as Poirier could barely stand and was beginning to grimace with every thudding kick Gaethje threw at his chewed up lead leg. But Poirier dug deep and came out like a man possessed in the 4th round, connected clean with some good shots and swarmed all over Gaethje and got the TKO. 

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One of the most brutal fights you’ll ever see. Poirier coming through that and getting the stoppage said a lot about him. It takes a special kind of scrapper to go nose to nose with Justin Gaethje in Justin Gaethje’s type of fight and come out with the win. It takes a hard, hard man to do that. 

Poirier followed that up by winning another war against another granite tough opponent in Eddie Alvarez in July. He was supposed to fight Nate Diaz at MSG in November but Nate was being Nate and the negotiations broke down. 

Holloway had an odd 2018. He was scheduled to defend his 145lbs title against Frankie Edgar in March but pulled out with a leg injury. He then stepped in on just 6 days notice to fight Khabib in April when Khabib vs Ferguson fell apart for the 93rd time. Again, Holloway didn’t end up fighting as the commission were concerned about his health due to the short notice weight cut. Then he was booked to fight Brian Ortega in July but was pulled out AGAIN with concussion symptoms. 

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Holloway vs Ortega finally happened in December at UFC 231 in Toronto. With all his setbacks earlier in the year, plus Ortega looking like a beast knocking out Edgar, a lot of people weren’t liking Holloway’s chances here. 

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But Holloway proper fucked Ortega up. It was a great fight and Ortega certainly had his moments but Holloway just took him into deep water and drowned him. He was non-stop on the offence and eventually overwhelmed Ortega, broke his face up, beat his eye shut and the doctor stopped it after the 4th. 

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This was Holloway’s best performance to date for me. Especially after all the health issues he’d had earlier in the year and having to pull out of three fights. He broke records with this win as well. Most significant strikes in one fight (290), most significant strikes in one round (134) and most wins in UFC featherweight history (15). He wasn’t fucking about. 

As 2018 ended, I don’t think Holloway vs Poirier 2 was a fight anyone really saw coming. But the lightweight division is so up in the air right now. Khabib sitting out, this McGregor vs Cowboy thing is on again/off again, Nate Diaz is on a milk carton, Tony Ferguson is off being Tony Ferguson somewhere, then you had guys like Poirier and Al Iaquinta just waiting for a shot. 

Poirier was getting more and more pissed off with all the waiting. Even going so far as asking to be released on Twitter;

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And...

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But then a few days later when the UFC finally announced Holloway vs Poirier 2 for the interim belt...

And it’s on. However we got here, and whatever you think about Ferguson being left out or Khabib sitting out or whatever, at least something is happening now. And this is going to be some fight. 

Holloway vs Poirier 2 promo;

Goosebumps. 

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So how does this go? Is Max just too dialled in right now? Is Poirier beat down after his last few slobberknockers? Will the move up to 155 effect Holloway for better or worse? 

 

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Kelvin Gastelum vs Israel Adesanya co-headlines. Like the main event, this is a brilliant piece of matchmaking pitting two young fighters at the top of their game against each other with high stakes and 5 rounds at their disposal. You can’t go wrong with this. 

Gastelum really is one of the very best middleweights on the roster. He’s bounced between middleweight and welterweight throughout his career but if you look through his record, he’s only lost once at 185. That was the Chris Weidman fight in 2017. Aside from that, as a middleweight he’s won TUF, stopped Nate Marquardt, twatted Tim Kennedy, smashed Vitor Belfort, KO’d and retired Michael Bisping and beat Jacare Souza, in Brazil, in a great fight. I’ve always liked him better as a middleweight myself. He seems to have a different energy about him at 185, more aggression and speed and power. 

Adesanya is one of the new names on everyone’s lips right now. He came into the UFC with some hype due to his Kickboxing background, his undefeated MMA record and his overall swagger and charisma. He’s carried himself as if he’s the champ from day one. He’s 5-0 in the UFC now, 16-0 overall. 

It was February’s UFC 234 in Melbourne where the seeds for this fight were first planted. 

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Gastelum was all set to challenge Robert Whittaker for the gold in the main event. While Adesanya was booked in an old school vs new breed dream match against Anderson Silva in the co-headliner. Of course, plans went tits up when Whittaker was pulled out on the day of the show due to a hernia and a twisted/collapsed bowel, which sounds absolutely fucking horrific. Whittaker was out and Gastelum was also off the card as a result. 

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Didn’t stop Gastelum from borrowing Henry Cejudo’s belt and parading about in the crowd and backstage with it though, proclaiming himself the new middleweight champion via forfeit, I guess. 

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Adesanya vs Silva was now the main event. The expectation going in was that Adesanya was probably going to walk through old Anderson. 

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It went the distance and turned out to be a really fun 3 rounder that was pleasantly surprising in its competitiveness. Adesanya clearly won but Anderson didn’t disgrace himself by any means and many, including me, had him winning the second round. It got FOTN, Anderson came out of it looking decent and Adesanya stayed unbeaten and got that big name win on his record. 

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All positive vibes coming out of that one. Which was nice to see as it was widely expected that it was going to be sad to watch. 

In the post-fight, while Adesanya was hugely respectful to Anderson, he couldn’t help but have a pop at Gastelum who was sat front row with the belt that wasn’t his, looking smug as fuck. 

”Kelvin, put that belt down. Seriously.” - Israel Adesanya 

That was February 9th. By February 19th there were already reports that Gastelum vs Adesanya for the interim title was in the works. 

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They made it official and it’s on. Love this fight. Hopefully Whittaker heals up and comes back 100% to fight the winner because either way that’s an awesome fight. But this one we’ve got here is mega interesting to me. As much as everyone’s on Adesanya’s cock right now, Gastelum is the more proven of the two in the UFC and he’s definitely the toughest test yet for the Stylebender. Adesanya has looked great so far but you can make the case that Anderson is finishing up and Derek Brunson has form for getting reckless and rushing in. Gastelum is the first guy Adesanya will have faced in MMA who’s a) young and in his physical prime and b) has mixed with and beaten top level guys. It should answer most of the remaining questions we have on Adesanya. On the flipside, I don’t think Gastelum has faced a puzzle quite like Adesanya before. I guess the closest would be Uriah Hall but he’s got obvious flaws and is kind of like a discount Adesanya. We also haven’t seen how Gastelum reacts to fighter taunting him like Adesanya does either. Or someone who moves like Adesanya. It’s a fascinating clash of very different styles. I’m guessing the majority will be picking Adesanya here but I’m really 50/50 on it. 

 

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Eryk Anders vs Khalil Rountree is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** for 236. Unless something amazing gets added it’ll stay that way. @WeeAl did a really good post previewing this fight in the ‘Upcoming Fights You Should Be Watching’ thread the other day and I agree wholeheartedly. It’s a great fight this, that probably won’t get that much attention under those two title fights. But I could genuinely see this stealing the show and bagging FOTN. Two heavy hitters who have something to prove. Anders is coming off a split decision loss to Elias ‘Poundland Rockhold’ Theodorou and a stoppage loss to Thiago Santos. And Rountree got wiped out by Johnny Walker’s elbow in his last fight in November. I don’t think the loser gets the sack but you never know. Both could be fighting for their place on the roster here. Sometimes you’ll see guys play it safe in that situation but I can’t see it here. They both hit too hard to play the cautious game. Can’t see it going past a round or two myself. 

 

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Ovince Saint Preux vs Nikita Krylov might be a sleeper actually. OSP has been pretty entertaining to watch over the last couple of years, win or lose. He’s coming off that loss to Dominick Reyes were he was almost knocked out in the dying seconds of the fight but he’d managed to finish Tyson Pedro, Corey Anderson, Yushin Okami and Marcos Rogério De Lima in some of his fights before that. Krylov’s UFC return on the Russia card last year didn’t go to plan. He’d racked up 4 wins and 4 finishes outside the UFC but he was welcomed back by Jan Blachowicz, who submitted him with an arm triangle. Krylov is 24-6 now and still only 27 years old. He’s definitely got some skills. Not sure OSP is the best matchup for him coming off the Blachowicz loss though.

 

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Wilson Reis vs Alexandre Pantoja could be a good one. The UFC still continues to book these flyweight fights. The division isn’t dead and buried just yet. I like Reis. He’s not a world beater but I like his style. Top class grappler, BJJ black-belt and world champion. 23-9 in MMA and beat Ben Nguyen in his last fight, snapping a 3 fight losing streak. Pantoja is 20-3 and has gone 13-1 in his last 14. Submitted Ulka Sasaki in his last outing and also subbed Neil Seery in a great fight in Seery’s swansong. He’s a quality grappler himself so this could turn out to be a bit of a ground war. 

 

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Montel Jackson vs Andre Soukhamthath is a fight I’m kind of into just to see Jackson again. He’s 7-1 with 6 finishes and stopped the usually durable Brian Kelleher quick in his last fight. He looked good so I’m interested to see what he’s got here. Soukhamthath I know mostly for losing to Sean O’Malley in O’Malley’s UFC debut but he does have a TKO win over Luke Sanders. . 

 

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Boston Salmon vs Khalid Taha is a fight where I know pretty much sod all about either man. Seems like I’ve been hearing and reading the name Boston Salmon for ages now but I’ve still never seen the cunt fight. Boston Salmon. This fight was apparently scheduled for the TUF Finale in November but fell apart for whatever reason. Anyway, Boston ‘Boom, Boom’ Salmon is Hawaiian, 28 years old, 6-1 with 4 stoppages. Was on Dana’s Contender Series. Taha is German, 27 years old and 12-2. He actually fought on last year’s UFC card in Germany but he lost and I have no recollection of him. 

 

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Poliana Botelho vs Lauren Mueller was originally meant to be Botelho against Paige VanZant. Would’ve been a big opportunity for Botelho but Paige pulled out with a broken arm. Lauren Mueller stepped in. She’s 5-1, 1-1 in the UFC and lost to Wu Yanan last time out. I quite like Botelho. She’s a Muay Thai black-belt with a 7-2 MMA record. She was on a nice 5 fight win streak before getting submitted by Cynthia Calvillo in November. She TKO’d Syuri Kondo in just 33 seconds with a body kick before that though. Clearly needs to tighten up her grappling but I think she gives most of the flyweight girls all kinds of problems on the feet. 

 

There you go. The UFC in Badstreet Atlanta, GA...

If someone doesn’t walk out to that I will be fuming. 

Edited by wandshogun09

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no matter what gets added to this, those top 2 fights have my money (if we had to pay for it).

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The main card looks really good. The top three fights should all deliver in spades, and even OSP Vs Krylov could as well. It needs a bit more flesh added to it overall, but I expect that to happen soon, likely this week, considering it isn't particularly far away. 

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I enjoyed watching this video from Luke Thomas 

It's 30 minutes long, so I will provide a few cliff notes. 

- He compares Holloway's ability to effortlessly switch stances and find angles with Hagler's.

- He says that Poirier possesses similar qualities, but not to the same extent.

- He runs through Holloway's most recent fight stats to show that he starts slow and turns up the volume in the mid/late rounds. 

 

Edited by jimufctna24

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Adesanya vs Gastelum probably deserves more attention than it's getting. It's a cracking little fight. But it's been overshadowed by Holloway vs Poirier, the Dillashaw/EPO story, and McGregor's antics. 

I think Adesanya will take over as the fight transpires, and either stops Gastelum in the later rounds or wins on points. 

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I’m really unsure about Adesanya vs Gastelum. I definitely think Adesanya is a special talent but at the same time his 2 best wins in the UFC are an old Anderson Silva and Derek Brunson. People were expecting Israel to blast through Anderson going in and when that didn’t happen they were quick to praise Anderson for looking better than expected. But part of me thinks if Adesanya is the killer people think he is then he really should’ve stopped or been more dominant against a 43 year old Anderson who was 1-4-1 in his previous 6. Don’t get me wrong, Adesanya clearly won 2 rounds but it was way more competitive than most expected. Was it more Anderson fighting a good fight or Adesanya not being quite elite yet? The Brunson win was highlight reel stuff and Brunson is good but Brunson ran right at him. He did the same against Whittaker and it cost him there as well. And he was also coming off a knockout loss to Jacare.

This all sounds harsh and I’m not knocking Adesanya. He’s clearly very skilled and has serious potential to go all the way. And I hope he does. I like him. But a lot of people are going on like he’s going to walk through the division and based off wins over an old Anderson and a reckless Brunson, I’m not so sure. People seem to have forgotten that he went the distance with Brad Tavares and Marvin Vettori before the Brunson thrashing, and Vettori gave him some issues and narrowly lost a split decision. I think a combination of his unbeaten record, his charisma and his flashy style has some getting a little bit overexcited. If another fighter beat Vettori on a split, went 5 rounds with Tavares, stopped Brunson then went to a competitive decision with 2019 version Anderson Silva would people be so confident picking him to beat the likes of Gastelum, Whittaker, Romero, Jacare etc? I get why people are excited and I know I’m pissing on people’s chips, but he’s still got all the really big tests to pass yet. So far, so good, but there’s a long way to go. If he goes out there and stops or schools Gastelum, it’ll say a lot. But that remains to be seen and I think Gastelum has a lot of tools that could give Adesanya grief, plus he’s got the experience of being in there with a Jacare and Bisping and Weidman and Woodley and so on. 

Not aiming this at you Jim, just the general feeling I get listening and reading around, it seems like a lot of people are counting their chickens before they hatch with Adesanya to me. 

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2 hours ago, jimufctna24 said:

Adesanya vs Gastelum probably deserves more attention than it's getting. It's a cracking little fight. But it's been overshadowed by Holloway vs Poirier, the Dillashaw/EPO story, and McGregor's antics. 

 

yeh, i keep forgetting its actually happening. My social media has been drowned by post-Mania stuff this week, 236 in general is feeling like a bit of an afterthought.

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34 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

I’m really unsure about Adesanya vs Gastelum. I definitely think Adesanya is a special talent but at the same time his 2 best wins in the UFC are an old Anderson Silva and Derek Brunson. People were expecting Israel to blast through Anderson going in and when that didn’t happen they were quick to praise Anderson for looking better than expected. But part of me thinks if Adesanya is the killer people think he is then he really should’ve stopped or been more dominant against a 43 year old Anderson who was 1-4-1 in his previous 6. Don’t get me wrong, Adesanya clearly won 2 rounds but it was way more competitive than most expected. Was it more Anderson fighting a good fight or Adesanya not being quite elite yet? 

I think the Silva fight was the result of the clash of styles. I think Adesanya enjoyed the process of trying to out-Anderson. There was so much mutal-respect going too that i think it just ended up looking like a bit of an exhibition bout.

Im with you though that certain people may be getting ahead of themselves, but Adesanya is unique to the point where a conventional fighter like Gastelum can either deal with the style and make Adesnaya look ordinary or he can freeze in the headlights and make him look amazing, his fights can go either way. I have no idea how this one goes, i think it all depends on Gastelum's ability to adapt and handles Israel's style.

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One thing with Gastelum as well is he’s not fazed by the hype on his opponent. Even going back to when he won TUF. I think most expected Uriah Hall was going to win the final. He was getting pumped up as the next Anderson Silva/Jon Jones type after his performances on the show, especially that spinning kick KO, and his wacky style. Gastelum rose to the occasion and looked great in the finale. And he was still really young then. 

I know Adesanya is a different task to solve than Hall was, but it shows Gastelum has form for derailing a hot prospect. And you look at Gastelum’s record and Weidman is the only clear and decisive loss on there. The Woodley and Magny losses were split decisions. I can’t really remember the Magny fight but I’m sure I had Gastelum beating Woodley at the time. Then you have the wins over Jacare, Bisping, Kennedy etc. I actually think Gastelum is still one of the most underrated fighters in the game. Which sounds mad considering he’s in a title fight co-headlining a PPV tomorrow night but I think his skills, resume and performances have been underappreciated for a while now.

If you’re going to beat Kelvin Gastelum he’s going to make you graft for it and you’re going to have to be really top level and firing on all cylinders. That’s what I love about this fight. It’s going to tell us more about how good Adesanya is than the Anderson or Brunson fights did. 

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if Israel wins the belt tomorrow i think he has a tough time defending it, the winner of Jacare/Hermansson could be a nightmare for him.

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Then you’ve got Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa lurking. Middleweight is a shark tank. The division is stronger than it’s ever been. Considering over the last year or two the UFC 185 division has lost Mousasi to Bellator, Bisping to retirement, Rockhold and Santos to 205, Weidman’s slump, Anderson’s decline, Machida, Belfort and Sonnen fading/leaving etc. That’s an absolute fuckload of quality and established names gone, yet the 185 division barely felt it. The top say, 4 or 5 in the weight class right now are better than any top 4 or 5 in any era in middleweight history. I loved Anderson Silva but if prime Anderson Silva was coming along now instead of 2006, I don’t think he’d have the reign he did. 

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I'm really excited for the two championship fights. The rest of the undercard is pretty weak in terms of name value and possible contenders emerging. 

I have no idea how either championship fight is going to go, I 100% echo wangshogun's thoughts, Kelvin is an underrated beast and I guarantee he is up for this fight. Israel is an enigma and who knows just how great he actually is, there might be far more for us to see of him. My gut feeling says Kelvin is going to leave with the title but that's just a feeling I have.

The main is also a toss up, Poirier has looked a star in the making for a while now in winning fights he was supposed to lose. I promised myself I would never write off Holloway again after he tore apart Ortega so I am going to go with a Max win. Again, this is just a toss up and Poirier has a lot more experience at light weight but I still think Holloway has the tools to defeat him on the night.

Even though this card is not stacked like previous PPVs I am very hyped for it and I am uncharacteristically wishing my weekend away as I want it to be 9am on Sunday morning right now with a cup of tea in my hands watching the replay spoiler free.

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Just watched the weigh in. I’ve really neglected this card. I’ve had a few things going on but I think it’s also partly because the undercard isn’t the strongest. Whatever the case though, those top 2 fights are incredible. Especially Holloway vs Poirier. And there are a couple of solid fights lower down the card that I forgot about. 

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Holloway vs Poirier 2 has all the potential to be the FOTY. Two young, ridiculously skilled, in form, in prime fighters facing off with (interim) gold on the line and a possible shot at Khabib and the proper belt looming. Even if there were zero stakes though, I love this fight. The first fight back in 2012 is a nice little wrinkle in the story but it’s not really relevant. As Holloway said, ”It’s a new me and it’s a new him.” It really is. Still, in the back of Holloway’s mind it has to be a bit of an extra motivator. A chance to not only get an interim belt in a second weight class, but it’s an opportunity to avenge a loss against the first man to ever beat him. 

I’m going Holloway by TKO in the championship rounds. I wouldn’t count Poirier out. He’s a warrior, he’s proven that over the last couple of years, especially in the Gaethje fight. And he’s got the skills and is dangerous enough that he could end the fight if Max isn’t 100% on at all times. And there is the x-factor of Max coming up in weight for this. I think it’ll be a good thing for Max but until we actually see it, we just don’t know. Poirier has settled in at 155 now and is comfortable at the weight. I think Holloway will be fine though, in fact I think he might be even better at 155, which is a terrifying thought. I just think Max is the smarter and slicker fighter here. Poirier can be dragged into fighting wild and has been plenty of times. Max can do that too but I think he manages it better. I see him just taking over and overwhelming Poirier as the fight draws on. Something similar to the Ortega fight. 

 

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Gastelum vs Adesanya is a tough one, for reasons we’ve gone into already. Adesanya is still such an unknown in terms of how good he actually is. Gastelum is definitely more proven in the UFC against top competition, that’s just a fact. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Adesanya can’t beat him. We just haven’t seen it yet. I’m back and forth on this. The face-off was interesting. I knew Adesanya would enjoy a height advantage but I didn’t realise quite how much of a difference there was. Even Gastelum looked a bit taken aback to me. Great fight, completely different styles. I think Gastelum probably has the better actual power in his strikes, but Adesanya is the way superior striker technically and is more accurate, more unpredictable and, as a result, more likely to land. Gastelum is the better grappler. He doesn’t show his ground game much but he’s got decent takedowns and strong ground and pound. The grappling is still a massive question mark on Adesanya. Tough call. 

I’m close to 50/50 on this one but I’m leaning towards Gastelum on points. I think his experience against top opposition might be a factor. Plus I reckon he’ll be looking to wrestle a lot. He’d be mad to just stand with Adesanya and play his game. He’s not that stupid. I think he’ll mix it up. I won’t be shocked if Adesanya wins but I think it’s undeniable that Gastelum is the most difficult test yet for him. And as good as Adesanya has looked his last couple of fights, I just can’t shake the thought that if Marvin Vettori was giving him all kinds of issues on the ground only a year ago (almost to the day!), Gastelum is going to be a huge hill to climb. 

 

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Anders vs Rountree is likely ending with a bang. Fuck martial arts, I can’t see this being anything other than wall to wall violence. Both pack a big punch, both strong as fuck and both are coming off losses so they’re looking to come in and make a statement here. A big knockout would go a long way to doing just that. 

Anders by KO for me. I think he’s better than his UFC record suggests actually. His 3 UFC defeats all kind of have asterisks next to them. He took the Thiago Santos fight on really short notice and was going up to 205. And the Machida and Theodorou losses, I actually scored both fights to him. So he’s 3-3 in the UFC when, IMO, he should be 5-1. Big difference. Whatever though. This should be an exciting bombfest however long it lasts. I just think Anders is the better of the 2 and more likely to connect clean. 

 

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Jouban vs Grant is a fight I didn’t even know was happening until the other day. Not a significant match in terms of relevance, rankings or whatever but it’ll likely be fun. Despite his other job as a model, Jouban has a knack for getting into crazy entertaining scraps. He loves it. If you’ve got Fight Pass and have some time to kill, watch Jouban vs Matt Dwyer or Belal Muhammad. Can’t really recall Grant but looking at his record now, he’s 9-2 with 7 TKOs. Seems like another type that Jouban can have a good ruck with. 

Ah, I don’t know. Shot in the dark I’ll go Jouban by decision in a slugfest. 

 

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OSP vs Krylov 2 opens up the PPV. Completely forgot this was a rematch when I did the opening post. Big Ovince Von Flue’d the fuck out of him in a round back in 2014. OSP’s coming off that loss to Dominick Reyes where he was nearly knocked out right at the buzzer at UFC 229. He needs a good performance here to get back on track. He’s had a right patchy run recently. And Krylov’s kind of in the same boat. Left the UFC in 2016 after some losses, went on a bit of a tear outside the UFC, then came back in September only for Jan Blachowicz to spoil his party. 

I fancy OSP by Submission again, to be honest. Krylov has 6 losses on his record, 5 of them being by submission. And OSP is a wizard with that Von Flue. Wouldn’t surprise me if he beats him with the same fucking hold. 

 

Full predictions; 

Max Holloway by KO/TKO.

Kelvin Gastelum by Decision. 

Eryk Anders by KO/TKO.

Alan Jouban by Decision. 

Ovince Saint Preux by Submission. 

Jalin Turner by KO/TKO. 

Alexandre Pantoja by Decision. 

Zelim Imadaev by KO/TKO. 

Boston Salmon by Decision. 

Curtis Millender by Decision. 

Montel Jackson by KO/TKO. 

Poliana Botelho by KO/TKO. 

Brandon Davis by Decision.

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