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UFC Raleigh: Blaydes vs Dos Santos - Jan 25 🇺🇸


Who wins and how?   

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Posted (edited)

Saturday 25th January in Raleigh, North Carolina. It’s the first Fight Night of 2020. 

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ESPN+ MAIN CARD
Curtis Blaydes vs Junior Dos Santos 

Rafael Dos Anjos vs Michael Chiesa 

Arnold Allen vs Nik Lentz

Alex Perez vs Jordan Espinosa 

Angela Hill vs Hannah Cifers 

Darko Stosic vs Jamahal Hill

 

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Lucie Pudilova vs Justine Kish 

Bevon Lewis vs Dequan Townsend 

Montel Jackson vs Felipe Colares 

Lina Länsberg vs Sara McMann 

Brett Johns vs Tony Gravely 

Nate Landwehr vs Herbert Burns 

 

The cack poster designer strikes again. This is not as bad as the McGregor vs Cerrone one but it’s been getting some shit on social media for looking like a pizza box...

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😂 Guess they do have a point. 

It’s a decent Fight Night though, in fairness. I like the top three fights and there are a few intriguing debuts thrown in on the prelims. This is also the card that Frankie Edgar’s Bantamweight debut against Cory Sandhagen was meant to be on, before Frankie got pulled to face the Korean Zombie instead.

 

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Curtis Blaydes vs Junior Dos Santos tops the bill. Solid Heavyweight fight. Blaydes is someone that MMA fans and media have been pretty lukewarm on and don’t really appreciate but, in a division that all too often relies on the old guard, Blaydes is one of the few promising young fighters who’s been rising through the ranks. He’s only 28 years old and he’s 12-2-1 with the only losses coming against Francis Ngannou. But he’s already beaten Alistair Overeem, Mark Hunt and Alexey Oleynik. He’s a handful. And he’s one of the few Heavyweights of the current crop who uses a lot of wrestling. JDS should provide a good test and a barometer to show where Blaydes stands currently. He’s not quite the beast he was a few years back but he’s always dangerous. He’s coming off a loss to Ngannou himself but was on a decent little win streak before that. I like this matchup. It’s not got FOTY written all over it but it’s an interesting fight style-wise and in terms of where Blaydes can go if he wins. It’s a big opportunity for him.

 

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Rafael Dos Anjos vs Michael Chiesa has all the makings of a show stealer. Dos Anjos is 1-3 in his last 4 now. But the losses were to Colby Covington, Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards. He’s been mixing at the highest of high levels in the Welterweight division. And he does have wins over Kevin Lee, Robbie Lawler and Neil Magny at 170. That’s on top of his stellar run at 155. RDA is a badass. At this point it’s clear he’s not getting a look in as far as the title picture goes, that mix at the top of 170 is all wrong for him. The top 4 or so guys are all stylistic kryptonite. But he’ll still fuck up a lot of guys just below that level. Chiesa is up against it here for sure. But saying that, he’s looked good since moving up to 170. Looks big for the weight too. Don’t know how he made Lightweight so long. This is a real step up though. He’s beat fading versions of Carlos Condit and Diego Sanchez since moving up in weight but Dos Anjos is another level. Should be a good one. It’s the step back in competition RDA probably needs while also being the step up Chiesa needs. 

 

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Josh Emmett vs Arnold Allen is a fight I’m quite into. Emmett is a hard hitter. 15-2 record and trains out of Team Alpha Male. Weird thing is, he wasn’t exactly a knockout artist early in his career. But he’s flattened Ricardo Lamas, Michael Johnson and Mirsad Bektic in recent fights. In his mid 30s he’s become a slugger. Probably a combination of him improving his boxing and gaining confidence in his power. Allen is the one to watch here though. One of the better British prospects in the UFC for me. He’s 25 years old with a 15-1 record and beat Gilbert Melendez in his last fight in July. He hasn’t really had that spectacular blowaway performance yet but he consistently looks the business and you just get the feeling watching him that the best is yet to come. Providing he avoids Emmett’s bombs here, I see him winning this fairly comfortably. 

 

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Alex Perez vs Jordan Espinosa. Can’t say I’m really arsed about this. Nothing wrong with it, just not grabbing me. Perez has won 9 of his last 10 though, only loss coming against Joseph Benavidez. But nothing memorable sticks out about him. Espinosa is 14-6-1 and even less memorable to me. Meh. 

 

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Angela Hill vs Hannah Cifers is another filler fight but could be alright for what it is. Cifers is from North Carolina, that’ll be why this is on the main card. She’s 10-3 and comes in off the back of 2 wins. Hill’s never going to make waves in the rankings but she’s pretty consistently entertaining to watch. She had an absolute corker with Jessica Andrade back in 2017. She’s not done too well results-wise though. She’s 10-7 now and has spent her UFC stint alternating between wins and losses.

 

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Darko Stosic vs Jamahal Hill, I don’t really know enough about either man to be too invested in this. I vaguely recall seeing Stosic fight once or twice in the UFC. He’s Serbian, 13-3 and a real brick shithouse. Hasn’t beat anyone of any real note and is coming off a couple of losses. Jamahal Hill is 28 and another one of Dana’s Contenders. Undefeated at 6-0 with 3 knockouts. And he was 11-0 as an amateur. All sounds good so far. 

 

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Lucie Pudilova vs Justine Kish isn’t tickling my fancy, to be honest. Sounds harsh but neither are really going anywhere in the UFC and I can’t recall them being that exciting to watch either. Literally all I remember of Kish is that time she shat herself mid-fight. 

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Errr. 

Anyway...Pudilova has lost 3 on the bounce and Kish has lost her last 2 and has only fought twice in nearly 3 years. It’s very much got the feel of a ‘loser leaves’ match. 

 

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Bevon Lewis vs Dequan Townsend is another fight where I’m not too familiar with either man. Lewis fights out of Jackson-Wink in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He’s 6-2 with 3 knockouts. Came into the UFC undefeated but has lost to Darren Stewart and Uriah Hall since. Townsend is the more experienced with a 19-9 record and 15 finishes. Made his UFC debut in June and got stopped by Dalcha Lungiambula. 

 

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Montel Jackson vs Felipe Colares I’ll have a look at. I’ve thought Jackson has looked pretty good so far. He’s 8-1 with the only blip being a points defeat to Ricky Simon. He’s got some nice striking but he also subbed Brian Kelleher with a D’Arce choke. Colares is 9-1 with 7 finishes. Trains with Team Nogueira. Should be worth a gander.

 

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Lina Länsberg vs Sara McMann isn’t getting me particularly giddy but it might be OK. I like them both, they’ve always seemed nice enough. It’s a babyface fight but it’s pure filler. Could be an interesting clash of styles though. Länsberg is a pretty decorated striker. She’s won various medals in Muay Thai and has a record of 37-11 in that game. She fought Valentina Shevchenko back in 2010 in a Thai fight. Her MMA record is a patchy 10-4 but she won her last 2 fights. McMann is a wrestler. She won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. She’s 11-5 in MMA and lost to the likes of Rousey and Nunes. She’s 39 now, lost her last 2 fights and hasn’t fought in 2 years so I don’t know what to expect out of her at this stage. 

 

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Brett Johns vs Tony Gravely sounds like a fun one on paper. Welshman Johns has been good value so far in the UFC. He had a cracking forgotten fight with Pedro Munhoz last time out and there was that calf slicer submission on Joe Soto. He’s 15-2 now, lost his last 2. I like him. Not familiar with Gravely but looking him up, he was on DWCS and he’s 19-5 with 11 finishes. He’s won 11 of his last 12 and the only loss was to Patrick Mix. He’s rattled off 7 straight stoppages since then.

 

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Nate Landwehr vs Herbert Burns has got my attention and is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** on this card. Both newcomers but I’m intrigued to see both on the big stage. Landwehr is American but has fought a lot in Russia. He’s 13-2 with 8 knockouts, fought in M-1 and was their Featherweight champ. Looks like mostly a striker from the little bits and pieces I’m looking at. He’s taking on Herbert Burns, younger brother of UFC Welterweight standout Gilbert. He’s 9-2 with 7 by submission. He got his foot in the door with a quick submission win on Dana’s Contender Series. From the bits I’ve read and seen of these two, I’m looking forward to this. Rarely do you see a fight between two debuting fighters that’s genuinely this interesting.

 

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Nik Lentz vs Nad Narimani could actually wind up being the sleeper on this card. Really enjoy watching Lentz fight. The fights never went his way but his trilogy with Charles Oliveira was class. He was briefly linked to a long brewing grudge fight with BJ Penn that was supposed to go down in November, but Penn got released. Can’t say I’m disappointed that the fight didn’t happen. This is better anyway. Narimani is 12-3, British born and a former Cage Warriors Featherweight champion. Beat Paddy Pimblet in 2017. I like him for that alone. This should be good. 

 

That’s your lot. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Yeah it’s odd. They put Allen vs Emmett in North Carolina and Nathaniel Wood is fighting John Dodson on the New Mexico card in Feb. They’d both have been ideal fights for London and they’ve landed on cards a matter of just weeks before. 

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Love that one-two punch at the top of the card. JDS is one of my favourite heavyweights ever, and Blaydes is one of my least favourite, so there's a nice heel/face dynamic there. It's not just because of Blaydes' style either. It's more the reaction he gives on social media to anyone that dares criticise him. Instead of taking it in his stride, he chucks his toys out of the pram anytime he's called "boring". I get that he's focused on winning and that's all he cares about, fair play. But a lot of the top guys, especially now, understand that there is an entertainment component to all of this. It is a spectator sport, after all. If Conor McGregor is at one end of the spectrum, Curtis Blaydes is at the other. Besides, how can anyone root against JDS? He comes across like the nicest man on the planet.

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What a guy.

I like Rafael dos Anjos too, and would like to see him get on track against Chiesa. Fully backing the Brazilians this time out. Chiesa is no joke though, been a beast since going up to 170.

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So, now that McGregor-mania is over for the time being, it's back to regular business. I actually like this card better than the one from last weekend in all honesty. 

Arnold Allen is now facing Nick Lentz it seems, which is a proper test of where Allen is at the moment. I like the look of the lad, so it'll be interesting to see how he gets on.

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Yeah I like Allen vs Lentz. I was disappointed when Allen vs Emmett fell apart but that’s a good substitute. 

I agree it’s a better overall card than 246. If this was the undercard for McGregor vs Cerrone it’d have felt more like a PPV with JDS vs Blaydes as co-main and RDA vs Chiesa third from top. Still wouldn’t have paid 20 notes but it might’ve convinced some who were on the fence to buy it. 

Whatever. I’m happy with how it turned out because now we get the better card as part of the normal subscription. 

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Dos Anjos vs Chiesa is a bit of a dream match for me as a grappling geek. I've always liked Chiesa, and this will be a real test of his abilities. Unless they both decide to stand and trade terrible boxing for three rounds.

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Yeah it’s a good one. Chiesa has looked good so far at Welterweight and I think Dos Anjos might finally be starting to slow down just a little bit. So it could be a good time for Chiesa to fight him. Big step up though. He has looked impressive at 170 but we’ve only seen him against faded versions of Condit and Sanchez. If he can beat RDA it’ll be a big statement. Interesting fight. 

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ive said it a bunch of times before for past fights but i think this is a bad night for Junior. I see him ending him in guard at some point and thats somewhere you dont wanna be against Curtis Blaydes. I think it might get ugly.

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Curtis Blaydes then... that was a great performance. That fight will give him massive confidence going forward on the feet. Take the takedown threat coupled with that power, guys gonna be a problem. Given the Ngannou losses and the DC/Stipe situation he may have a frustrating 2020 waiting, but hes right up there. Who next though?

Michael Chiesa did what i expected him too. Just too much physically at 170 for RDA. Not sure his Colby callout will go anywhere but id like to see that fight.

Caught a few prelims i was interested in. Great to see Brett Johns get it done after a long time out. Arnold Allen was comfortable against Lentz, at 7-0 he's well overdue a big fight. Herbert Burns KO was tremendous too, bink.

Edited by Egg Shen
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Blaydes said post fight that standing and trading is always plan Z and that he doesnt like to get hit in the face and that he'll always wrestle whether the fans like it or not. Gotta admire the man's honesty but cant help but think his quiet demeanor is gonna hold him back, especially at heavyweight where theres a log jam at the top. I like him though, seems a good dude.

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Yeah, Blaydes has grown on me as well. He’s probably in for a wait for that title shot he’s after though. Wins over JDS, Overeem, Hunt and Oleynik is good going. But you’ve got to think it’s either Stipe vs DC 3 next or they’ll wait to see how the Ngannou vs Rozenstruik fight plays out. If Ngannou wins that he should be ahead of Blaydes really considering he’s beat Blaydes twice plus he’s coming off back-to-back first round stoppages of JDS and Cain. 

Thought this was a decent show in all but ended on a bit of a downer for me with JDS and RDA both losing.

Chiesa looks good at 170 though. Hard to fathom how he made 155 for so long. 

Montel Jackson vs Felipe Colares was fun on the prelims. Jackson put a hell of a beating on him but Colares just wouldn’t go away. How he was even mounting an offensive attack in the third round was nuts. Tough bastard. 

And I haven’t seen the fight but I read that Herbert Burns won by first round knockout. Mad how the Burns brothers are these amazing grapplers but they’re knocking fuckers dead with striking. 

Solid show. This mightn’t be a popular opinion but I wasn’t that keen on the 3 man commentary team of Brendan Fitzgerald, Michael Bisping and Daniel Cormier. It sounded great on paper and I’ve wanted to see Bisping and DC in the booth for a while. It wasn’t bad or anything but at times it felt like they were both just trying to be the loudest voice in the room and ‘outfunny’ each other. Much prefer Fitzgerald and Bisping as a duo and DC with Anik and Rogan. Wouldn’t mind seeing Bisping do a PPV actually and see how he gels with Anik and Rogan. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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