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wandshogun09

UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs Dos Santos - Jun 29 🇺🇸

Who wins and how?   

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Saturday 29th June in Minneapolis. The UFC is back with an ESPN show and a monster main event featuring two of the most scary yet loveable heavyweights in the history of combat sports. 

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ESPN MAIN CARD
Francis Ngannou vs Junior Dos Santos 

Joseph Benavidez vs Jussier Formiga 

Demian Maia vs Anthony Rocco Martin 

Drew Dober vs Polo Reyes 

Roosevelt Roberts vs Vinc Pichel 

Alonzo Menifield vs Paul Craig
 

ESPN PRELIMS
Sergio Pettis vs Ricardo Ramos 

Eryk Anders vs Vinicius Moreira 

Chas Skelly vs Jordan Griffin 

Jared Gordon vs Dan Moret 

Justin Ledet vs Dalcha Lungiambula

Emily Whitmire vs Amanda Ribas 

Maurice Greene vs Junior Albini

 

Solid card that. Of course, it was supposed to be headlined by Woodley vs Lawler 2 but I actually prefer this. I was never that keen on the Woodley vs Lawler rematch to begin with. Undercard for this looks pretty good as well. 

 

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So yeah, Francis Ngannou vs Junior Dos Santos tops the bill. This was originally on the UFC 239 card in July but when Woodley vs Lawler fell apart they shuffled the deck and moved this forward a few weeks. It’s a hell of a fight. It was actually supposed to happen back in September 2017 but JDS got USADA’d. At least we’re finally getting to see it. Although I do have mixed feelings on it. Like I said, these have to be two of the nicest and most likeable men in MMA. The fact that one of them not only has to lose, but they’re most likely going to do so by getting knocked out cold saddens me. On the plus side, it’ll be exciting to watch and at least if one of them does get stopped, it’ll be a good brother winning regardless. Friendly fire, if you will. 

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But yeah, this fight is almost certainly ending with one of these men horizontally, isn’t it? There’s always that outside chance it goes the distance and is either a Hunt vs Bigfoot style war or a Ngannou vs Beast style snoozer. But the smart money is on this ending with a bang inside the distance. They’re both just too powerful and too dangerous. I’ll be surprised if it goes past the second round, maybe won’t even get out of the first. Ngannou most likely wins this but you never know with the heavies. With power punchers it’s often a case of ‘whoever connects first’, and that’s even more the case at heavyweight. I just think at this stage, Ngannou’s bomb is the more likely to detonate first. If Ngannou does win, and especially by knockout, it’s hard to see past him getting the next title shot after this Cormier vs Miocic 2 thing sorts itself out. With back-to-back knockouts over Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos, who’d have a better case for a title shot? Mad to think, considering how the MMA world wrote Big Francis off after the Stipe/Lewis losses last year.

 

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Joseph Benavidez vs Jussier Formiga is a fun flyweight co-main. The 125 division isn’t dead yet. Benavidez is actually on a really great run but nobody talks about him because Demetrious Johnson completely whitewashed him in their rivalry and took him out of the title picture. He’s won 8 of his 9 fights since the last loss to DJ back in 2013. And the one loss was a split decision. He even has a win (although controversial) over current champ Henry Cejudo and with the debate over the judging in that one, you have to think a rematch has legs if Benavidez stays in the win column here. Formiga is no cakewalk though. Black-belts in BJJ and Judo, 23-5 MMA record, has won his last 4 and looked a right handful in his last 2 wins over Deiveson Figueiredo and Sergio Pettis. This is a tricky fight and a real potential banana skin for Benavidez. 

 

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Demian Maia vs Anthony Rocco Martin might be one of Maia’s good ones. I love Maia, like the 2 main eventers, he seems such a nice bloke that if you dislike him there must be something wrong with you. But his fights always seem to go from one extreme to the other. He’ll look amazing one fight, then have an absolute rotter the next. He had 3 duds in a row against Woodley, Covington and Usman which was a proper shitty stretch for him. But he broke that chain and got back to looking his old self in his submission over Lyman Good last time out. Maia probably doesn’t have many fights left. He’s 41 now and he’s hinted that he’s looking to just finish out his current contract and maybe hang the gloves up for good. Hopefully he has a few positive performances to go out on. Martin is decent. He’s a BJJ black-belt himself, although obviously nowhere near the level of Maia in the grappling. He’s 16-4 and coming off 4 wins. He’s the type of guy Maia usually runs through though. And I hope he does. 

 

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Drew Dober vs Polo Reyes could be alright. Not really a fan of Dober but he’s OK. Got subbed by Beneil Dariush in his last fight but was on a decent little run prior to that. Reyes is mediocre really, he’s never going to be a contender but he’s usually exciting to watch so this could be fun as a filler fight. 

 

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Roosevelt Roberts vs Vinc Pichel has my interest. Roberts has looked every bit the prospect he’s been hyped as so far. I think he’s got serious potential. He’s 25 years old, 8-0 with 7 finishes, lanky for the weight, aggressive, has shown skills in the standup and on the ground. He’s pretty good. And Pichel is probably his hardest test to date. He’s no world beater but he’s a tough, durable and fairly experienced scrappy fucker. He’s a BJJ brown-belt, has KO power, he’s 11-2 in MMA and was on a 4 fight streak before losing to Gregor Gillespie in his last outing. 

 

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Alonzo Menifield vs Paul Craig should be worth a look. Menifield is another prospect off Dana’s Contender Series. 8-0 with 8 finishes, 5 of them in the first round. Scored an 8 second KO on DWCS to get in the UFC and stopped Vinicius Moreira in a round in his Octagon debut in January. Seems a likeable guy in interviews as well. Craig’s been very hit and miss in the UFC. Came in unbeaten but he’s 11-3 now with some bad losses in there. He’s kind of become the master of the last minute, pulling a submission out of your arse comeback though. He’s had a couple of those now. Like a lower level, Scottish Big Nog with the miraculous come from behind subs. This looks like a rough matchup for him. If he can get Menifield down he should do well but Craig’s striking looks pretty awful and I can see him getting clobbered before the grappling even becomes a factor. 

 

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Sergio Pettis vs Ricardo Ramos is probably my frontrunner to bag FOTN. Pettis kind of has his back against the wall in this one. He’s lost 3 of his last 4 and comes into this fight off 2 consecutive defeats. He’s a skilled fighter and still young at 25, but he’s really got to make something happen soon if he wants to be relevant in the UFC. And Ramos is a tough fight for him on paper. He’s only 23 years old, 12-2 and was looking like a potential breakout contender until Said Nurmagomedov stopped his fun in his last fight. Bit of a coin flip fight for me, this. 

 

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Eryk Anders vs Vinicius Moreira should be an entertaining hoss fight. Two big heavy hitters. Both are coming off losses. Anders proper got his arse kicked by Khalil Rountree and Moreira got done in a round by Menifield. Can see this one being wild. Both might be fighting for their place on the roster. Especially with how the UFC are sacking fuckers willy nilly of late. 

 

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Chas Skelly vs Jordan Griffin could be bit of a grappling battle. Skelly is a wrestler with a strong submission game but he’s coming off a controversial submission loss to Bobby Moffett in November where the fight was stopped but Skelly didn’t tap. Griffin I’ve seen much less of but he’s 17-6 with a fair few subs. 

 

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Justin Ledet vs Dalcha Lungiambula is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** purely because I’m intrigued to see this Lungiambula bloke’s debut. He’s 33, from Cape Town, South Africa. He’s 9-1 with 5 finishes and he’s both the heavyweight and light heavyweight champion of the EFC promotion in Africa. Ledet should be a good first test for him. He’s coming off that 15 second loss to Johnny Walker but he’s got some solid boxing and has about the same record as Lungiambula. Quite looking forward to this. Not that I’m expecting Lungiambula to go on a Goldberg run through the UFC roster or anything, but he could be a fun addition to the 205 division regardless. For a division that was so weak outside the top 3 or 4 for so long, 205 is really starting to get some depth now. 

 

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Emily Whitmire vs Amanda Ribas is of no real relevance but could be decent. I remember Whitmire was on TUF a few seasons back and had a sad story about being homeless and sleeping in her car or something. So it’s nice to see she seems to be out of that hole now. She’s only 4-2 but she’s won her last 2 and subbed Aleksandra Albu in one minute in her last fight. Ribas is making her UFC debut here. She actually signed back in 2017 but before she could set foot in the cage she was handed a 2 year suspension by USADA. She protested her innocence throughout and USADA later lifted the suspension and ruled that it was another case of contaminated supplements. So Ribas is finally fighting. She’s 25 years old, has a 6-1 record with 5 finishes. 

 

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Maurice Greene vs Junior Albini might be perversely entertaining. One of those wild, sloppy heavyweight slobberknockers. Greene was on TUF, he’s a big old bastard at 6’7” and has a record of 7-2 with 5 finishes. If you remember Albini at all it’s probably as the big chubby nappy wearer. He’s probably gone with another loss here. He’s lost his last 3 in a row and was stopped in his last 2. 

Edited by wandshogun09

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