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wandshogun09

UFC 237: Namajunas vs Andrade - May 11 🇧🇷

Who wins and how?   

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On Saturday 11th May, the UFC is back on PPV and back in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil with this lot. 

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PPV MAIN CARD
Rose Namajunas vs Jessica Andrade - Strawweight Title

Jared Cannonier vs Anderson Silva

Jose Aldo vs Alexander Volkanovski

Thiago Alves vs Laureano Staropoli 

Francisco Trinaldo vs Carlos Diego Ferreira


ESPN PRELIMS
Antônio Rogério Nogueira vs Ryan Spann 

Kurt Holobaugh vs Thiago Moises

Bethe Correia vs Irene Aldana

BJ Penn vs Clay Guida

 

FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Wu Yanan vs Luana Carolina

Sergio Moraes vs Warlley Alves 

Said Nurmagomedov vs Raoni Barcelos

Talita Bernardo vs Melissa Gatto 

 

As always, I’ve gone off MMAJunkie’s bout order there. I’m guessing it’ll be shuffled about and maybe a couple of fights will still be added yet. I’ll update it if it changes. 

Good card, I think. Yeah, it’s not a blockbuster but there’s plenty to like about this one and I pretty much always dig the Brazil shows anyway. Usually always a great atmosphere. The crowd for this show should be especially electric with Andrade challenging for the title plus legendary names like Aldo, Silva and Nogueira on there. There was originally talk of Amanda Nunes vs Holly Holm headlining this show but I don’t know what happened to that. 

 

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Rose Namajunas vs Jessica Andrade tops the bill. This was confirmed ages ago. It’s been in the works for some time now. By the time this fight happens, it’ll have been over a year since we saw Thug Rose in action. I’ve seen fans speculating that she took time out because she was shaken up after that McGregor bus debacle in Brooklyn last April. But she’s actually been out with severe back issues. Hopefully that’s all sorted now and she can kick on with her career. 

Rose’s story hasn’t been told all that much but she’s had a hell of a life already for a 26 year old woman. Her family left Lithuania and escaped the Soviet Union to come to America, she was sexually abused as a kid and her Dad had schizophrenia and died when she was just 16 years old. She’s been through a lot and, knowing that, it kind of makes you understand why she comes across so cold and unfazed a lot of the time. 

When she first got on my radar she was just Pat Barry’s girlfriend to me. But I caught a few highlights and saw one of her Invicta fights and was impressed. She’s got an extensive Taekwondo background and also has a really strong submission game. Her first fight against Tecia Torres at Invicta 6 in 2013 is what really made me a fan though. They were both only 2-0 going in, and they had an awesome fight. Rose lost on points but it was clear she had a ton of potential. She then got on TUF in 2014, was mega impressive in her fights on the show but came up short in the Finale against Carla Esparza. She’s had a great run since then. She avenged her loss to Torres and submitted Angela Hill, Paige VanZant and Michelle Waterson. 

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In late 2017 she got her big chance. She was granted a title shot against Poland’s strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 217 in Madison Square Garden. Huge. But pretty much everyone saw Rose as the latest sacrificial lamb. Jedrzejczyk was undefeated at 14-0 and had been dominating and butchering all challengers. She had basically run out of contenders to smash up so Rose getting the shot just felt like a case of keeping Joanna busy until the next challenger emerged. 

But Rose went out there and shocked the world. She caught Joanna with a flush left hook right on the chin and put her away in the first round. 

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"It feels like a movie right now. This belt don't mean nothing, man. Just be a good person. That's it. This is extra. This is awesome. But let's just give each other hugs and be nice, man. I mean, I know we fight but this is entertainment. Afterwards, it's nothing. I feel like a normal person, man, I'm just regular. Ain't nothing special here." - Rose Namajunas 

As big a fan of Joanna as I am, this was such a feel-good moment that I couldn’t help but be happy for Rose. 

Their rematch 6 months later at UFC 223 in Brooklyn was much different and much more competitive. But in the end the outcome was the same. Rose retained the belt by unanimous decision, going 2-0 over Jedrzejczyk and solidifying herself as the real undisputed baddest 115lb woman on the planet. 

Like I said though, she’s been out ever since then with a bad back injury. Who knows how that, or the lay-off, will effect her. Talk about crap timing. 

In the meantime, the strawweight division rolled on and one woman really stood out for me. 

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Jessica Andrade was a pretty solid bantamweight, with wins over Raquel Pennington and Rosi Sexton. But, although she was built like a little tank, at just 5’2” it wasn’t the ideal weight class for her as her opponents often had the height and reach on her. In 2016 she dropped to 115 and never looked back. Sometimes when a fighter changes weight class it just feels like a bit of a desperate attempt to make something happen. With other fighters, it instantly clicks and you realise that they should’ve been at that weight all along. Jessica Andrade definitely falls into the second category. She immediately looked like a legitimate force at strawweight and was finally in with women who didn’t tower over her. She quickly went from being a decent 135er to a beast 115er. 

In her first 3 fights as a strawweight, Andrade TKO’d Jessica Penne, submitted Joanne Calderwood and decisioned Angela Hill in a barnburner. She looked so impressive that in May 2017 she got a title shot against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. She lost a 5 round decision but didn’t disgrace herself by any means and it felt like a loss she’d learn and improve from. 

The comeback began. In September 2017, Andrade traveled to Japan to take on fellow Brazilian Claudia Gadelha, who was previously considered the number two strawweight in the world. Gadelha had taken Jedrzejczyk the distance twice in close fights and was known for her strong grappling and physical strength. 

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Andrade threw her about like a beach ball. It was a great fight that got FOTN but when it was all over it was clear that Andrade had surpassed Gadelha as the top Brazilian strawweight. It was exactly the kind of performance and statement Andrade needed to make to get herself back in that title conversation. 

From there she beat Tecia Torres by decision in February 2018. And that set up another big fight in the co-main event of UFC 228 in September against another former title contender Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Kowalkiewicz had also gone 5 rounds with Jedrzejczyk and also had a win over Rose Namajunas herself. So this was 2 of the top 115lbers facing off with a probable title shot up for grabs. 

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And Andrade ironed her out in a round. 

It’s very rare that you see a strawweight who packs a one shot KO punch like that. Andrade is a little wrecking ball. I’ve called her the female John Lineker before and she really is that kind of attacking, aggressive savage. Shades of Wanderlei Silva in her style as well, so you can see why I love her. 

Namajunas vs Andrade promo;

I’m really excited for this fight. Won’t get the buyrate wankers stiff but it’s a fantastic fight style-wise. You can’t go wrong. Not sure how it’s going to play out. Could Rose’s lay-off be a factor? Can Andrade pull it off this time in her second crack at the gold on home soil? Can Rose keep Andrade at bay enough to make her game work? Or does Andrade ultimately overwhelm her with her power and physicality? A great, great fight this is. 

 

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Jose Aldo vs Alexander Volkanovski is currently slated to co-headline. I say ‘currently’ because I just read that Aldo has been in hospital with a bacterial infection this week. Andre Pederneiras is saying Aldo will be good to go so hopefully it won’t put this fight in jeopardy. Aldo was on about finishing up his contract and retiring later this year. I think he has 2 fights left so this and one more and that might be it. He’s looked great in his last couple of fights. He rebounded from the Max Holloway losses by stopping Jeremy Stephens and Renato Moicano. He seems really fired up to go out on a high. Volkanovski is no joke though. He’s 19-1 and on a 16 fight win streak, strong as fuck, aggressive, not afraid of trading punches with anyone, can take a dig, can grapple, sets a high pace. He’s really, really good. He finished Chad Mendes in his last fight in December in a proper fun scrap. So he’s earned a big fight like this. A win over Aldo here would put him right in line for a shot at the gold. 

Fair play to Aldo for taking this fight. Most legendary fighters finishing their career would be looking purely for big name money fights on the way out. Aldo has mentioned names like Anthony Pettis, Donald Cerrone and Dustin Poirier but in the end he seems down to fight absolutely anyone. Moicano in his last fight, now Volkanovski. He’s taking on the young, in form new breed guys. He’s only 32 years old himself. It’s a misconception that Aldo is old and washed up. He never was. But if he really is retiring after this next couple of fights, it’d be cool and refreshing to see him end it on some wins. I like Volkanovski, but I’m pulling for Aldo’s farewell tour to keep rolling here.

 

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Jared Cannonier vs Anderson Silva is a funny one. Not a fight I’d have chosen but I’ll roll with it. Anderson has also been talking retirement on and off. In December he was quoted saying he wants 3 more fights and he’s done. He’s had one of those already, losing to Israel Adesanya in a fun fight in February. So this is a fairly quick turnaround for Anderson. And I think it’s obviously because he wants to fight in Rio. It could well be the last time he fights in Brazil. He’ll be 44 by the time he steps into the cage in May. And while he didn’t embarrass himself against Adesanya, it’s clear he’s at the end of his career now. Cannonier is a good fighter but like I said, he wouldn’t have been my choice to use up what will surely be one of Anderson’s final fights. Nothing against Cannonier. He earned a big fight when he scored the upset KO over David Branch at MSG in November. But it feels like a bit of a waste as one of Anderson’s last fights. If Anderson wins here, I guess he’ll do his farewell fight later in the year. If he loses though, I can see him retiring in the cage post-fight. I just hope it’s a good fight either way. The Adesanya thing felt like a positive despite him losing, the last thing Anderson needs now is a snoozer. 

 

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Antônio Rogério Nogueira vs Ryan Spann is another case of the old Brazilian vs the young up and comer. Seems to be the theme of this show. I love the Nogueira brothers but Little Nog should probably go the way of his brother soon and hang the gloves up. He’s 42 now and while he hasn’t taken quite the damage in his career that Big Nog did, he’s not far behind really. He’s had a load of injuries and lay-offs over the years. Not to mention some bad knockouts like the Rumble and Sokoudjou ones, the war with Shogun in Pride etc. He’s got some miles on him. It was great to see him stop Sam Alvey in his last fight but I hope he doesn’t carry on too long now. He really looks like a relic in there these days. Like when Hacksaw Jim Duggan came back to WWE in 2006 or whenever it was. Just weird seeing him still there now. And Spann looks decent. 27 years old, 15-5 record, think he trains with Curtis Blaydes. And he’s a big old boy at 6’5”. Most of his wins are by submission though, so hopefully he’ll play the grappling game and that’ll play to Nog’s strengths. We’ll see. 

 

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Bethe Correia vs Irene Aldana is a nothing fight but could be alright. It was meant to happen at UFC 227 back in August but Correia got injured. She hasn’t fought since Holly Holm kicked her head in nearly 2 years ago. Mostly remembered for getting KO’d by Ronda Rousey in what turned out to be Ronda’s last MMA victory. Aldana is Mexican, 30 years old, 9-4 record. She’s OK, nothing amazing. I did love her wild fight with Leslie Smith in her UFC debut a couple of years ago though. If you haven’t seen it and fancy watching a brawl, you can do worse than throwing Leslie Smith vs Irene Aldana on. 

 

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Wu ‘Tang’ Yanan vs Luana Carolina, I don’t know enough about Yanan and nothing about Carolina to really comment on this much. Yeah, Wu Yanan’s nickname isn’t ‘Tang’ but I’ll keep calling her it because it should be. She could be promising actually. 10-2 record and still just 22 years old. Submitted Lauren Mueller in a round on the Shanghai show in November. Luana Carolina is making her UFC debut here. She’s Brazilian, 25 years old with 5-1 record and was on Dana’s Contender Series last year. 

 

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Thiago Alves vs Laureano Staropoli could well steal the show. You pretty much know what you’re getting from Alves. He’s lost a few steps since the heyday about a decade ago but he’ll still push forward and try to kick your legs off and punch a hole in your face. He had a tremendous fight against Max Griffin on the Fortaleza show in February. One of my lowkey favourite fights so far this year. Just a back and forth war with neither giving an inch. Alves got the judges nod on a close split decision. He’s had a bunch of losses in recent years and, at 35 and banged up, it's clear he’s never getting back to title contention but he’s still great to watch when he’s on. He’s in with Argentinian Laureano Staropoli. 26 years old, 8-1 with 7 finishes. Seems like the type of scrapper who Alves will be able to have a good ruck with. 

 

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Talita Bernardo vs Jessica Rose Clark is just there really. Neither are troubling the title picture anytime soon. Might be a pleasant surprise though. Bernardo is Brazilian, 32, a BJJ black-belt and has a 6-2 MMA record. Clark is Australian, 31 with a 9-5-1 record and notable wins over Paige VanZant and Bec Rawlings in the UFC. I quite like Clark actually. Seems a cool girl and has shown some skills in her fights. But I can’t see her ever climbing too far up the ranks. 

 

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BJ Penn vs Clay Guida is a fight lifted from 2008, isn’t it? If this would’ve happened at any time between 2007 and 2009 it could’ve been so much fun. Yeah, BJ was in his prime then and no doubt would’ve steamrolled Clay in the end. But as squash matches go, it would’ve been about as entertaining as they get. Clay was a total lunatic of a wildman back then. Having FOTY candidates for fun against the likes of Tyson Griffin, Roger Huerta and Diego Sanchez. Proper nutcase. He would’ve been buzzsawed by Penn back then but it’d have been great however long it lasted. In 2019 though...not so much. BJ is just shot to bits now. He’s got nothing left. It’s actually worrying that he keeps being booked to fight. He’s lost 6 in a row, 8 of his last 10 and hasn’t won a fight since 2010. He got submitted in less than 3 minutes by Ryan Hall in December. It’s been over for years. Clay is 37 years old himself now, 2-3 in his last 5 and hasn’t won in 2 years. But he still feels like a massive favourite here. Which says everything about just how done BJ Penn is. 

 

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Said Nurmagomedov vs Raoni Barcelos is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** here. I really like what I’ve seen so far of Said Nurmagomedov. I originally read that he was Khabib’s cousin but apparently they’re not actually related. He’s one to keep an eye on though. Even before his debut when he first signed with the UFC, I saw Frankie Edgar raving about how good he was. He’s from Dagestan, 26 years old with a 13-1 record. Much more of a striker than his namesake Khabib, although he can do a bit of everything. Stopped Ricardo Ramos (who’d looked promising himself previously) in his last fight in February with a nasty spinning body kick. Barcelos is Brazilian, also 13-1 but a few years older than Nurmagomedov. He’s on a 6 fight win streak and is 2-0 in the UFC so far with a submission over Chris Gutierrez and a highlight reel KO over Kurt Holobaugh that was probably one of the best finishing sequences of 2018. Love this fight. I hope it gets bumped up the card a bit because it should be televised, it deserves better than Fight Pass. 
 

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Alberto Mina vs Warlley Alves should be a solid little Brazil vs Brazil battle. Mina is a 3rd degree black-belt in BJJ and black-belt in Judo. He was undefeated before losing on points to Ramazan Emeev last time out, he’s 13-1 now. Stopped Mike Pyle via flying knee and beat Sexyama before that. Alves is 12-3 and was the TUF Brazil 3 tournament winner in 2014. He has wins over Alan Jouban and Nordine Taleb but his claim to fame is his 2015 first round submission win over Colby Covington on the Aldo vs McGregor undercard. I like Alves for that alone! 

 

So that’s that. 

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Edited by wandshogun09

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Lil Nog is a fighter who I have sadly overlooked over the years. He was always in someone else's shadow. His brother came along first and always had the higher profile. He played a supporting role in what was arguably the best fight in Pride's history, but it was Shogun who ultimately won the fight and took the starring role. He also competed in a stacked division. He was a top fighter in the mid-2000s, but so were Arona, Shogun, Wanderlei, Liddell and Couture. 

It's a shame because he did prove himself to be on a similar level to those fighters. He never got tripped up in Pride by gatekeepers (Overeem, Nakamura, etc). He scored wins over a faded, but not shot, version of Sakuraba. Most notably, he subbed Hendo in 2005. After that fight, Hendo went on to become the world's best at 185lbs for a brief period.

His run in America has been okay. He's mostly only lost to top contenders and rarely been tripped up by gatekeepers. There is no shame in losing to Bader, Davis and Rumble Johnson. He was also in his late 30s when a few of those losses occurred. I can't say I have much interest in watching him fight these days. But I probably should have appreciated Rogério a little more over the years. 

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Little Nog was great but you’re right. He was always the bridesmaid. Big Nog was the one who was always in the main events in Pride, had the backstory of being run over by a truck as a kid, pulled off those heroic comebacks against Sapp and Cro Cop and so on. He was always in his brother’s shadow. And even moreso with them being twins. I mean, they had the same face! Everything Rogério did would naturally be compared to Rodrigo’s accomplishments. He was quality in his own right though. I always thought he had better hands than Big Nog. He repped Brazil and had some success and won medals as an amateur. I think he trained a bit with the Cuban Boxing team as well if I’m not mistaken. Like you say wins over Sakuraba, Hendo and Overeem were highlights of his Pride run. Even that classic with Shogun, it’s arguable that he should’ve got the decision that night. Even as a massive Shogun bummer I wouldn’t have complained if they scored that to Nog. It was that close. 

I’ve posted this before but I’ll post it again. This Little Nog highlight is the bollocks and really shows you what he could do when he was at his best;

I remember being so chuffed when the UFC finally signed him in 2009. I was sure when Pride died that they’d bring him in with his brother but I guess the Sokoudjou KO put paid to that. You’d see him cornering his brother for his UFC fights and hear about these fights he was winning in Brazil or Affliction and there’d be no mention of the UFC picking him up. Then all of a sudden he’s in the Octagon, finally making his debut, knocking the shit out of Luiz Cane (proper ‘where is he now?’ name there but Cane was looking like a top prospect for a bit). Sadly, with hindsight that was kind of the peak for Little Nog. He had and won a cracking fight with Jason Brilz but got backlash (unfairly) because most people seemed to think Brilz got robbed. Him battering Tito was lovely actually. It’s been mostly a rough old stint though. 

But he was really good in his day. People who’ve only seen him in the UFC haven’t seen the best stuff. He deserves more love. I think he’ll always be under appreciated. 

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Was updating the opening post and noticed MMAJunkie now has the BJ Penn vs Clay Guida fight down as the first fight on the card. As in the very first prelim. The curtain jerker. Maybe it’ll be changed but fuck me, if it stays like that what a fall from grace. That fight would’ve headlined a Fight Night years ago, and even been in a prominent position on a PPV. If it stays in that spot then it’s going to be weird as fuck watching Penn vs Guida fight in front of a load of empty seats. 

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yeh thats nuts, Penn should really be sitting in that position where his name alone allows to him to headline shows in certain markets, his performances have been that poor though that's relegated to opening shows, its sad.

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