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wandshogun09

UFC 238: Cejudo vs Moraes - Jun 8 🇺🇸

Who wins and how?   

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OK then, this one’s only a few weeks away. Saturday 8th June in Chicago...

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PPV MAIN CARD
Henry Cejudo vs Marlon Moraes - Vacant Bantamweight Title

Valentina Shevchenko vs Jessica Eye - Flyweight Title

Tony Ferguson vs Donald Cerrone 

Jimmie Rivera vs Petr Yan 

Tai Tuivasa vs Blagoy Ivanov 


ESPN PRELIMS
Tatiana Suarez vs Nina Ansaroff 

Aljamain Sterling vs Pedro Munhoz 

Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs Alexa Grasso 

Ricardo Lamas vs Calvin Kattar


ESPN+ PRELIMS
Angela Hill vs Xiaonan Yan 

Joanne Calderwood vs Katlyn Chookagian 

Eddie Wineland vs Grigory Popov 

 

I actually think this card has been massively slept on. I’m as guilty of it as anyone. The addition of Ferguson vs Cowboy this week got everyone’s attention though and it made me look at this card again and realise how good it actually is. Completely overlooked it. It doesn’t have that huge blockbuster fight but for top to bottom quality, it’s a proper strong card, I think. 

 

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Henry Cejudo vs Marlon Moraes headlines. Should be a tremendous fight. This is the real silver lining for me of TJ Dillashaw getting spectacularly popped by USADA recently. Without that, this fight almost certainly wouldn’t be happening now and we’d be getting Cejudo vs Dillashaw 2 instead. Maybe some would’ve preferred that but, for me personally, I’m all about this fight. 

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This all started when Cejudo shocked the MMA world by ending the flyweight reign of Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson at UFC 227 last August. With that win he avenged his previous defeat to DJ, beat maybe the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the sport and became the 125lbs champion all in one fell swoop. 

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He also made history. As it stands today, he’s the only person on the planet to ever hold both Olympic and UFC gold. Can’t see that accomplishment being matched for a long time. 

After that it was either a rubber match with DJ or a ‘superfight’ up at 135 with the bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw. The curveball came when DJ signed with ONE. Shortly after that news dropped, it was announced that we would be getting a Cejudo vs Dillashaw champion vs champion fight, on January’s ESPN+ debut card in Brooklyn. 

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But there was a twist. It wouldn’t be at 135 like everyone thought. TJ was coming down to flyweight with plans to take a second belt and kill off the 125 division altogether. The assumption was that the UFC wanted out of the flyweight business and were using Dillashaw as sort of a ‘hired gun’ to take the title and just go back up to bantamweight, essentially dissolving the flyweight strap. 

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Didn’t exactly work out. 

Henry done him in. 32 seconds is all it took. TKO. Dillashaw cried early stoppage but the majority of the MMA fighters, media and fans thought the stoppage was good. Turned out that was the least of TJ’s worries but we’ll get to that in a minute. 

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Cejudo remained the 125lbs King. And coming off back-to-back wins over Johnson and Dillashaw, and with no obvious next challenger at flyweight, he could pretty much call his next shot. The thinking was he’d move up to 135 for a crack at Dillashaw’s belt in a rematch. 

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Turned out TJ had been a busy boy though. USADA came knocking and popped him for a bunch of dodgy shit, including EPO. And that was it. Done. A wrap. Just like that he’s gone for the next 2 years. 

While all this was going on, a new bantamweight contender had emerged. 

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Although he wasn’t actually ‘new’. Marlon Moraes had been knocking around for years. He turned pro in 2007 and after a hot and cold start to his MMA career, he found a home in WSOF in 2012 and never looked back. His first big break came in his WSOF debut when he won a decision over UFC/WEC veteran Miguel Torres, a real pioneer of the lighter weightclasses. He won 4 more fights before becoming the first ever WSOF bantamweight champion in 2014. From there he went on a 6 fight winning streak, with 5 finishes, and by the end of 2016 he’d successfully defended his title 5 times. Safe to say that after a rocky start to his career, he’d found his form. He came into WSOF with a 7-4-1 record. By the end of 2016 he’d gone 11-0 in WSOF, and was 18-4-1 overall. 

It was only a matter of time before the call came. Moraes made his Octagon debut on the undercard of Aldo vs Holloway 1 in June 2017. He was matched with crafty vet Raphael Assuncao and lost a controversial split decision. I had Moraes winning, as did pretty much all the MMA media who scored it. But whatever. Moraes bounced back with a points win over John Dodson, then it began.

Moraes went on a tear.

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First he did THAT to Aljamain Sterling. In just 1:07 of the first round. He followed that up with a 33 second KO over Jimmie Rivera. A man who was coming in on a 20 fight winning streak and had never been stopped. 33 seconds. 

Then in February this year, Moraes got a rematch with Assuncao, the man who ruined his UFC debut.

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In a little over 3 minutes, Moraes dropped him and had him tapping to a guillotine choke. Assuncao hadn’t been finished in 8 years and hadn’t been submitted in 9, going all the way back to his WEC days. Moraes made it look easy. To submit a BJJ black-belt like that was very impressive. If there were ‘Octagon jitters’ in his first couple of UFC outings, he’s clearly shaken them off based on his last 3 fights. 

So with Dillashaw on the naughty step and out of the picture for the foreseeable future, the 135 gold was now vacant. As the man who’d just beat TJ and was likely next in line, Cejudo made sense to challenge for it. And nobody deserved the opportunity to be in the other corner more than Moraes. 

The fight got made official and it’s on. 

Clearly don’t like each other very much, do they? 

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This is an amazing fight on paper. There are only 3 ways I can envision this - a quick finish for Cejudo, a quick finish for Moraes, or all-out war. They’re both that perfect mix of speed, power, technique and aggression. I’d love to see Moraes crack Lego Henry and put the cringey, cocky little fuck out but he’s going to be a hard puzzle to solve and he always has that x-factor in the Olympic gold winning wrestling in his back pocket. 

 

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Valentina Shevchenko vs Jessica Eye is a bit of a weird one to me. Women’s flyweight is a division with some good fighters in it but just not enough depth. Jessica Eye is a pretty good fighter, but let’s be honest, she’s getting this shot because there’s a lack of contenders at 125 at the moment. 

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I’m a huge fan of Shevchenko though so I’m into it on that level. She’s a stone cold killer. Her fighting abilities speak for themselves. Black-belts in Taekwondo and Judo, ‘Master Of Sports’ (that always sounds cool) in Muay Thai and Boxing, a 56-2 Kickboxing record, a 2-0 Boxing record and currently holds a 16-3 MMA record. And the UFC flyweight title. She beat Joanna Jedrzejczyk in December to win the vacant title. She’s also beat Holly Holm and has taken Amanda Nunes the distance twice in close fights. She’s the only woman Nunes hasn’t been able to finish in the UFC. On top of all that, the way she carries herself is badass as fuck. She doesn’t really talk shit, but she damn well doesn’t take any either. 

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Hello. 

Jessica Eye hasn’t had the best of UFC careers. She signed in 2013 and came into the UFC bantamweight division with a tidy 10-1 MMA record (as a flyweight). But to say she floundered on the big stage would be a gross understatement. She went a miserable 1-5-1 in her first 7 UFC fights between 2013 and 2016. A couple were close decisions where she arguably got a raw deal with the judging but regardless, she was sinking fast. She was always a decent fighter skills-wise and for that reason I often said on here that I thought she was better than her record showed. But something just wasn’t working for her in terms of getting results to go her way. 

She didn’t fight at all in 2017 and by the time she returned, the UFC had added a women’s flyweight division. Eye dropped back to her natural weightclass and immediately found success. As a flyweight again, Eye went 3-0 in 2018. She didn’t look amazing in these decision wins but it was a massive leap in the right direction considering where she was at 135. 

Like I said though, I just can’t see how Eye wins this. She’s got decent boxing and she’s tough but it’s nothing Shevchenko won’t have seen countless times before. 

Eye’s talking a good game though; 

”I’m not a pushover. We all know Valentina is an incredible Muay Thai specialist. We know she loves to kick, we know she loves spinning techniques. We’ve seen her grind people up against the cage, we’ve seen her on the ground, we’ve seen her finish someone on the ground. She’s very versatile in that way. She brings years of experience to it. The difference between me and her is I’ve taken my weaknesses and made them my strengths. She has just taken her strengths and tried to make them stronger, she doesn’t take what she’s not good at and make it stronger.”

”One of her biggest weaknesses is her ability to adjust to the fighter she’s fighting and do something different. I think being versatile and being a true martial artist wins this flyweight title and keeps me champion for a really long time.”

That didn’t fall on deaf ears. Shevchenko heard it and she isn’t having it;

”I think she doesn’t know what she’s speaking about. Because it’s like, not make sense. To lack to adjust? It doesn’t make sense at all. If I need to go hard, I can go hard. If I need to wait a little bit, I will wait. If I have to go striking, I will go to strike. If I have to go down, I will go down. So this is my version of adjustments. I have a lot of techniques to choose what I will play against you. This is, in my mind, the adjustments. That you are not just adjusting because you don’t have the opportunity to do something else. No. You’re just choosing the right weapon against your opponent. And this is what, every time, I am doing. Maybe she’s saying words, but she doesn’t know what exactly this means.” 

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Boom Roasted. 

Yeah, I think Eye’s getting battered here. She’s not a bad fighter and she’s tough so I could see her lasting a bit but is that good news? Remember the mauling poor Priscila Cachoeira took when she ‘lasted a bit’ against Shev? 

 

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Tony Ferguson vs Donald Cerrone is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH***, there’s just no getting around it. Pretty much any card this landed on it’d be my one to watch. It’s just one of those fights that gets announced and you instantly cancel any plans you might have had for that night. It does seem quick for Ferguson to be back in there after those scary recent stories about his personal issues though. Hopefully that’s under control because if he’s in a good place now this could very well be the FOTY and it’s all there for the taking for Ferguson to finally get himself into an undeniable position as the next challenger for the Khabib vs Poirier winner, or whatever they’ve got cooking. He’s got to get past the best version of Donald Cerrone we’ve ever seen though. Cowboy has been a different man since his son was born. It really seems to have given him that kick up the arse to go and get that belt. He’s looked better than ever lately. His performance against Al Iaquinta the other week was one of his career best by far. This is going to be nuts. It’s a shame really that this fight is going to eliminate one of them from the title race for a bit, because they’ve both worked so hard to get there. 

 

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Jimmie Rivera vs Petr Yan is a real darkhorse potential show stealer, IMO. Rivera really needs a win here as he’s lost 2 of his last 3 fights. Like I said earlier though, he was riding a 20 fight win streak not too long ago with wins over Urijah Faber, Thomas Almeida and Pedro Munhoz among them. I’m pretty high on Yan though myself. Think he’s ace. He’s 12-1, former ACB champ, has won 7 in a row and he’s gone 4-0 in the UFC in less than a year. Quality striker, looks to have a solid ground game from what I’ve seen and he’s got that cool stoic mini Cro Cop vibe about him. 

 

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Tai Tuivasa vs Blagoy Ivanov should kick off the PPV with a bang. This has no right going to a decision really, does it? Two big heavy hitting sluggers throwing hands. If it does go to the cards it’s probably going to be one of those ugly heavyweight brawls where they both gas and just keep trying to take each others’ head off. Tuivasa is coming off his first loss to JDS, so it’ll be interesting to see if that effects his approach here. Ivanov is a tough rebound fight as well. 

 

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Tatiana Suarez vs Nina Ansaroff would’ve been my ‘one to watch’ if Ferguson vs Cerrone wasn’t added to this card. Really looking forward to this one. Ansaroff I can take or leave. She’s decent and she’s on a good 4 fight streak with wins over Claudia Gadelha and Randa Markos in her last 2. It’s Suarez I’m excited about though. She’s probably the best wrestler in the women’s game right now. She was all set to go to the London Olympics in 2012 but a neck injury took her out. Since then she’s won TUF and is undefeated at 7-0 with wins over Carla Esparza, Alexa Grasso and Cancer. That’s not a typo. She fought the Big C and won! She’s been called ‘the female Khabib’ a fair bit due to her relentless and non-stop grappling style. I really think she’s going to be a problem for a lot of fighters. We haven’t had a wrestler of her quality in the women’s game yet. Only Sara McMann but she was arguably past her physical prime a little bit, Suarez is still only 28. I think she’s going to force the bar to be raised a bit in terms of grappling. 

 

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Aljamain Sterling vs Pedro Munhoz is another cracking battle of bantamweights. This might actually be the ‘backup’ fight. Munhoz has said that if Cejudo or Moraes drop out, he’s stepping in. Whether that’s something he’s been told officially from the top or what, who knows, but it would make sense. He’s coming off 3 wins, including that big knockout win over Cody Garbrandt so he’d be the frontrunner. Sterling has won 3 in a row himself, outpointing Jimmie Rivera last time out. Expecting a good fight here. Not sure which way it goes. Sterling is a handful when he’s on but I think Munhoz is a bit more consistent in his performances. 

 

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Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs Alexa Grasso could be fun. Poland vs Mexico. These 2 came into the UFC with a lot of promise but they’ve both struggled of late. Kowalkiewicz has had her moments. She beat Rose Namajunas and got a title shot against Joanna Jedrzejczyk and managed to drop Joanna at one point. But she’s had some bad losses since then. The KO she suffered against Jessica Andrade was vicious. Grasso has really flopped though. She came in from Invicta as a 23 year old unbeaten Mexican prospect at 8-0. She’s gone 2-2 since. I mean, she’s still young, she still has time and could make something happen. And one of those losses was to Tatiana Suarez. But she fizzled out quick after the initial bit of buzz when she signed. I expect Kowalkiewicz to win this. She’s mixed at a higher level and done well and I’m just not convinced by Grasso yet. Hopefully it’s a good fight either way, the last thing either of them need now is a dud.

 

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Ricardo Lamas vs Calvin Kattar is another potential sleeper on a card pretty full of them. I’ve felt like Lamas’ best days have been gone for a while and at 36, they probably are. But on a given day he can still turn it on. He stopped the insanely tough Darren Elkins in his last fight so he’s still got some ammo left. Kattar has a bit of the Carl Froch’s about him, doesn’t he? Or is it just me? He’s a bit underrated, I think. 19-3 record with finishes over Chris Fishgold and Shane Burgos in the UFC. Could be a good one, this. 

 

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Angela Hill vs Xiaonan Yan I’m neither her nor there on really. Hill I mostly remember for her war with Jessica Andrade a couple of years back. She hasn’t had the best run of results though. Currently 9-6 and has lost most of the times she’s faced someone who’s any good. Yan is doing well at 10-1, I just haven’t seen enough of her. 

 

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Joanne Calderwood vs Katlyn Chookagian, like Sterling vs Munhoz, might be here serving as a ‘backup’ plan in case Shevchenko or Eye get injured. Calderwood would be the obvious choice to throw in there. She’s coming off 2 solid wins since moving up to 125 after struggling at 115. I’d fancy her to beat Chookagian but I’m not exactly confident as Calderwood has been hit and miss and Chookagian isn’t the easiest to look good against. I like what I’ve seen from Calderwood at flyweight so far though so hopefully she keeps it going. 

 

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Eddie Wineland vs Grigory Popov is a mystery to me. Wineland hasn’t fought in almost a year and he lost his last 2. Popov is making his debut. From what I read he’s 14-2 out of Russia and as you can see there, collects titles for fun. Just watched a little clip of his last fight and he murdered some poor cunt with leg kicks until he tapped out. I’ll check this out. 

 

I think that’s a real gem of a card. Ferguson vs Cowboy goes without saying but I also love the little unofficial bantamweight tournament they’ve got going. And they’ve done a good job of making sure there are backups for both title fights if they need them by having Pedro Munhoz and Joanne Calderwood on the undercard. Good stuff. I’m into almost every fight there on some level.

Edited by wandshogun09

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This is a really nice looking card with some real potential to deliver several great fights. The main event could be brilliant. The Co-Main is likely to be a Valentina showcase. Ferguson Vs Cerrone is madness. Rivera Vs Yan is unlikely to be a tepid affair. If Tuivasa brings the heat, then I'd imagine Ivanov will be happy to repay in kind. That could be a HW borefest, depending on how fast Tuivasa comes out of the blocks though. If he starts like he did against JDS, then one of them will go to sleep early. 

Edited by WeeAl

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Lots to like here. Still dont know why they aint going with Tuivasa/Willis though, that fight has made itself.

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Nice Ferguson vs Cerrone promo here that aired on the RDA-Lee show last night;

Still haven’t quite wrapped my head around the fact that we’re seeing this fight in just 3 weeks time! 

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As always, I feel dirty linking to Shit For Brains Schaub but this is really good. 

Food Truck Diaries with Tatiana Suarez; 

If you’re not familiar with her story it’s really worth giving this a watch. Amazing that she’s bounced back from a severe neck injury and cancer to where she is now. Even if you knew all that, it’s worth your 30 minutes. Really interesting and she comes off really cool and likeable. If she gets past Ansaroff here I can’t wait to see how she matches up with the likes of Jedrzejczyk, maybe Namajunas, Waterson and eventually Andrade. She’s inexperienced compared to the others but I think her wrestling kind of negates a lot of that and she’s bringing something that the rest of the division doesn’t really have yet in that mauling grappling style. 

You know it’s a good interview when I’m linking to Schaub. These Food Truck Diary interviews are the best things he does by far, IMO. The Ngannou one was class as well and I’ve just seen his got one with Dustin Poirier up now as well. He needs to do more stuff like this and keep his gob shut when it comes to things he clearly knows sod all about. Like Boxing. 

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yeh hes a decent interviewer, hes done a few of those Food Truck Diaries with boxers too, its good stuff.

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