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UFC Singapore: Maia vs Askren - Oct 26 🇸🇬

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On Saturday 26th October, the UFC returns to Singapore with a clash of two of the best grapplers in the game. 


Demian Maia vs Ben Askren 

Michael Johnson vs Stevie Ray 

Beneil Dariush vs Frank Camacho

Ciryl Gane vs Don’Tale Mayes 

Muslim Salikhov vs Laureano Staropoli


Randa Markos vs Ashley Yoder

Rafael Fiziev vs Alex White 

Enrique Barzola vs Movsar Evloev 

Maurice Greene vs Sergei Pavlovich

Aleksandra Albu vs Loma Lookboonmee 

Jeff Hughes vs Raphael Pessoa


Nothing amazing but I dig the main event. Should be on nice and early for us as well which always makes a nice change. 



So Demian Maia vs Ben Askren tops this one. I’ve seen very mixed responses to this but I like this matchup a lot. It’s one of the ones I used to always think about when it seemed like Askren was never going to compete in the UFC. Even as far back as when Funky Ben was in Bellator, I always wondered how he’d fare against some of the elite grapplers in the UFC’s Welterweight division and it annoyed me that we’d probably never find out. The main knock I’m seeing on this is that it’ll be boring. Maybe it will be, maybe it won’t. Not going to pretend I’m expecting a horizontal version of Adesanya vs Gastelum or anything. But I really think this is a fascinating clash of different grappling styles. 

Maia is one of the best BJJ specialists to ever step into the Octagon. Askren is one of the best wrestlers and has a unique style. And Maia isn’t just a BJJ guy. He’s really put the graft in over the years on his wrestling. The problem historically with a lot of BJJ stylists was that their takedowns weren’t the best. But Maia has been very effective at finding ways to put his opponents where he wants them. And he’s a fairly competent striker these days when he needs to be. If this becomes a stalemate in the grappling and they decide to strike (let’s hope not), I think Maia has a clear advantage. There are some questions on Askren going into this one. While he’s great at taking people down, Maia will welcome that. We’ve never seen Askren up against someone who’s as lethal on the ground as Maia. And also, how will Askren look coming off that brutal 5 second knockout from Jorge Masvidal? On the flipside, there is a blueprint to shutting down Maia if you’re a wrestler that was laid out by Woodley, Usman and Covington over the last year or so. It’s an intriguing one for sure. It’s a fight that I doubt will have much rewatch value but it should be edge of the seat stuff on the night watching two grappling masters at work. 



Michael Johnson vs Stevie Ray is a prime example of just how loaded the 155 division really is. You stick these two in any other promotion and they’re probably your champion. But here they are lost in the shuffle. Johnson was once a fringe contender, especially after knocking out Dustin Poirier in 2016, but he really hasn’t been quite the same since those back-to-back losses to Khabib and Gaethje a couple of years ago. He got knocked out cold by Josh Emmett in his last outing, in a fight I think I had him ahead in. It’s just not working out for Johnson lately. And Ray’s in a similar boat. He’s lost 3 of his last 4 and is coming off a bad one punch KO from Leonardo Santos on the Sweden show in June. Fights like this can go one of two ways. Either they go balls out to make a big statement or they fight safe to try to secure that much needed win. I don’t think the loser gets sacked but you never know. Their backs are kind of against the wall here. 



Beneil Dariush vs Frank Camacho is a bit of a darkhorse fight for me. Could see this surprising a lot of people and maybe getting some bonus money. Really like Dariush. Been saying it for years. He’s never going to be the champ but on his day he can give a lot of guys a tough night. He’s got wins over the likes of Jim Miller, Michael Johnson and James Vick when those guys were all in better form. Really good grappler and tough as nails. Unfortunately he’s just remembered more for being on the shitty end of Edson Barboza’s picture perfect flying knee. Camacho is alright, he’s usually in exciting fights so I see this being no different. He’s 22-7 and beat Nick Hein in his last fight.



Ciryl Gane vs Don’Tale Mayes then. Our second look at Gane. Anthony Joshua’s long lost twin brother from a different, French mother. He looks a decent prospect in all seriousness. Trains with Francis Ngannou and he’s a big old boy at 6’5” with a 83in reach and cuts to make 265lbs. And he moves really well for a man of his size. He doesn’t seem to be the one punch KO artist you might expect but he’s really technical and fluid in his striking and strings nice combinations together. He went 13-0 as a Kickboxer before transitioning over to MMA. He’s now 4-0 in MMA with 4 finishes. He submitted Raphael Pessoa in a round in his UFC debut on the Uruguay card in August. Looks promising. And at 29 years old, he could have a good few years in him. Always good to see new blood in the Heavyweight ranks. Never seen Mayes before but he was on Dana’s Contender thing and he’s 6-2 with 4 finishes. 



Muslim Salikhov vs Laureano Staropoli will most likely be a lively scrap. Quite like what I’ve seen of both these two so far. Salikhov is from Dagestan and is a seasoned striker, as you’d expect from a man nicknamed ‘King Of Kung Fu’. He’s got a Kickboxing record of 185-13-1 with 76 knockouts. In MMA he’s 15-2 with 14 finishes. Got into the UFC in late 2017 after knocking out Melvin Guillard with a spinning hook kick. He lost his Octagon debut but he’s bounced back with KOs over Ricky Rainey and Nordine Taleb in his last 2 outings. Staropoli is Argentinian, 9-1 with 7 finishes and is coming off the biggest win of his career over Thiago Alves in a fun fight May. I like this matchup. 



Randa Markos vs Ashley Yoder is a nothing fight really. They’re both kind of floundering and going nowhere. I’m a fan of Randa but she’s had a real stop/start run, alternating between wins and losses for pretty much all of her UFC career. She’s coming off a loss to Cláudia Gadelha so that must mean she’s due a win here. Yoder is 7-4 and has rallied back from a disastrous 3 fight losing streak at the start of her UFC career, to winning her last 2 fights. Could be decent as they’re fairly evenly matched. Randa needs to be beating fighters like Yoder if she wants to stick around though. She’s fallen way short of the potential she showed on TUF years ago. 



Rafael Fiziev vs Alex White should be enjoyable enough. Fiziev is a guy I hope can have a bit of a run in the UFC. He’s from Kazakhstan, trains in Thailand and is a former Muay Thai fighter with around 40 wins in that game. Sometimes referred to as the ‘Muay Thai Matrix’ due to his Neo-like defence; 


He’s 6-1 so far in MMA. Lost his UFC debut on the Russia card in April when he ran into Magomed Mustafaev. Hopefully he can rebound in style here. Not fancying his chances of becoming a top contender or anything but there’s plenty of fun fights to make with him at 155 and he’d be a great addiction to the European cards. He’s up against Alex White here. A 9 fight UFC veteran. Memory is hazy on him but I recall him being more of a grappler.



Enrique Barzola vs Movsar Evloev is a cracking fight on paper. Barzola is a bit overlooked, IMO. No world beater but he’s very solid. Won TUF Latin America back in 2015 and he’s 16-4-1 overall now, winning 6 of his last 7. He’s up against an undefeated Russian prospect though. Evloev is 11-0 with 7 finishes and, at 25 years old, could have a very bright future. He was meant to fight Mike Grundy on the China card in August, a fight I was really looking forward to, but it fell apart. I’m interested to see what he’s got here against a tricky UFC veteran. 



Maurice Greene vs Sergei Pavlovich is another Heavyweight tussle. Not massively fussed about this really. Greene was on TUF, he’s 8-2 with 6 finishes and is coming off 3 wins. Pavlovich could have some legitimate potential actually. He’s 13-1 with 10 knockouts. Most of them inside a round. His only loss is to Overeem in his UFC debut. He bounced back by stopping Marcelo Golm in a minute in April. He’s only 27 as well. 



Aleksandra Albu vs Loma Lookboonmee is a total mystery to me. But it’s ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** actually. Not that I’m expecting a particularly great fight, just intrigued by it. Albu is a weird case for me. I’ve seen and heard of her for what seems like years now but I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen her fight. I just know her as that Russian girl who posts pictures of her arse a lot. She’s 3-1 in her MMA career and got submitted in a minute by Emily Whitmire in her last fight. Loma Lookboonmee is the real story here though. She’s 23 years old, Thai and she’s also 3-1 in MMA and has fought for Invicta and Pancrase. It’s in Muay Thai where she’s most accomplished though. She’s a 9 time Muay Thai champion and has over 200 Muay Thai, Kickboxing and Boxing matches. Turned pro at just 8 years old and won her first title at 10! She’ll be making history here as the first fighter from Thailand to compete in the UFC. 



Jeff Hughes vs Raphael Pessoa. Heavyweights again. Could be enjoyable enough or a plodfest. You know the score with the Heavies. I’ve only seen both once. Hughes is 10-2-0-1. He fought Todd Duffee on the Vancouver card and it ended as a No Contest on an eye poke. Pessoa is 9-1 with 7 finishes. He got his first taste of defeat in August at the hands of Ciryl Gane. These two probably won’t be making ripples in the title picture anytime soon but provide some slobberknocker value lower down the card maybe.



Julia Avila vs Karol Rosa. The Raging Panda is back! Really liked what I saw of Avila in her UFC debut, and her media interviews leading into it. She came across so likeable and happy that you couldn’t help but warm to her. She beat Pannie Kianzad in her first trip to the Octagon on the prelims of the huge Jon Jones vs Thiago Santos card in July. She’s 7-1 overall with 4 finishes and already has wins over UFC fighters Marion Reneau and Nicco Montaño. Rosa I know nothing about. She debuted on the China card in August on won on points. She’s 12-3 with 6 finishes. Hopefully the Raging Panda continues to run wild. She’s exactly the kind of refreshing character the sport needs. Especially on the women’s side.


That’s Singapore Saturday. Not the card of the year or anything but I’ll give it a whirl. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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That, along with @Keith Houchen's "Two-Can Van Dammes", is now one of my favourite terms for shitty MMA fans.

I didn't want either of these guys to lose. Askren brought a heap of fun to the UFC when he arrived, but it's all went up the left for him this past while. Maia is one of the nicest guys in the s

Askren/Maia was probably the welterweight Velasquez/Werdum, when you think about it. When a guy's overwhelming speciality is wrestling, and his striking is inferior to his opponent's, he's really at a

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1 hour ago, Carbomb said:

Someone dig up Royston Wee for another run.

Out of curiosity I looked old Royston up. He hasn’t fought since getting TKO’d in his last UFC fight back in 2015. Wonder why he just stopped fighting. I assumed he’d have ended up in ONE or something. 

But yeah, surprising lack of ‘locals’ on this one. There might be a couple of late additions yet but it’s very late in the day now with the show is only 3 and a bit weeks away. Suppose it doesn’t help that this card falls between August’s show in China and the upcoming Korea show in December. So those two cards will have eaten up pretty much all of the Asian talent on the roster. 

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How we seeing Maia vs Askren going down? 

It’s a tough one to predict with both being such tremendous grapplers. I’ve got a feeling Maia catches him in a submission though. Can’t see Askren deviating from his wrestling game much and, even as great a grappler as he is, I think he might have a hard time wrestling Maia and avoiding his submissions for 25 minutes. But if it goes to the cards, Askren probably wins. It’s a weird one. While there are similarities style-wise, I’m just not sure Askren can shut Maia down quite like Woodley, Covington and Usman did. He’s more predictable than those three for me, and I definitely don’t think he can force the same kind of pace as Covington and Usman. Could go either way with it but my gut is telling me Maia subs him. I like Maia a lot but I hope not. It’d be disaster for Askren after that Masvidal KO. But I think this is a really tricky one for Funky Ben. 

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Its a real interesting main event, Askren's scrambling ability is what sets him apart as a wrestler because he always seems to end up in the advantageous position, against a submission threat like Maia though his game might be completely thrown off. I do think a large portion of the fight may take place on the feet though which could be painful. 

This is probably the only fight i want to see Maia in at this stage.

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