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wandshogun09

UFC Somewhere: Woodley vs ??? - Mar 21

Tyron Woodley vs Leon Edwards   

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Saturday 21st March. The UFC was meant to be back in London but fucking Coronavirus. 

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ESPN+ MAIN CARD
Tyron Woodley vs TBA  

Jack Marshman vs Kevin Holland 

Nicolas Dalby vs Danny Roberts 

Darren Stewart vs Marvin Vettori 

Jack Shore vs Geraldo De Freitas 

Marc Diakiese vs Jai Herbert

 

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Ryan Spann vs Paul Craig 

Gabriel Benitez vs Lerone Murphy 

Molly McCann vs Ashlee Evans-Smith 

Makwan Amirkhani vs Mike Grundy 

John Phillips vs Dusko Todorovic 

Jake Collier vs Tom Aspinall 

Bartosz Fabinski vs Shavkat Rakhmonov

 

Anyone going? I never get to these anymore. Always intend to but either something comes up or the tickets just seem to evaporate the nanosecond they go on sale. It’s a nice card. I don’t like it quite as much as the Brazil one the week before but it’s pretty solid throughout. Really like the main event and there’s a few mouth watering clashes on the undercard and a couple of interesting debuts to boot. I like it. 

 


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Tyron Woodley vs Leon Edwards tops the bill. Really good fight with high stakes and potential title shot implications. It was rumoured for a while but then it started to look like it wasn’t going to happen after all. The holdup seemed to be that Woodley didn’t want to fight outside the States. They got it done in the end though, obviously.

“Tyron was trying to make excuses for why he shouldn’t come overseas and why he didn’t want to come to London. The UFC had to force him into it. They gave him no choice but to take the fight. He knows it’s a dangerous fight for him, and after I beat him, where does he go? He knows the risk.” - Leon Edwards 

Whatever the case, it’s on now. I’m really interested to see how Woodley looks here. By the time he steps into the Octagon in London, he’ll have been out of action for a whole year. Last time we saw him was at UFC 235 last March, losing his title to Kamaru Usman. Woodley has came back from losses before but this was a little different. Usman completely shut him down and dominated him for 5 rounds. Nobody has ever beat Woodley the way Usman did. And at 37 years old, can Woodley get back to the top of the mountain? He’d looked great prior to that loss, in fairness. The win over Darren Till might’ve been the best performance of Woodley’s career. But he’s got his work cut out now.

In his time away from the cage, Woodley has started up his rap career. Fair play to him for that. He’s awful though.

Edwards couldn’t resist needling him about it. He’s even talked about possibly using one of Woodley’s songs for his walkout music or during the open workouts on fight week as a pisstake. He also posted this when the fight was announced and it didn’t go down well with Woodley.

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Nothing too scathing there, right? You know how sensitive Woodley gets though. He took great offence to this and sent a nasty DM Leon’s way. 

“He started posting mad videos on Instagram of his music, and I posted a video on my Instagram telling him he’s a shit rapper, basically. That got him mad. He inboxed me saying ‘You little pussy, I’m gonna knock you out’ and then he blocked me straight away so I couldn’t even reply to him. I know I got under his skin. I’m laughing while I’m writing and he’s just getting mad.” - Leon Edwards

All this silly bollocks aside, this is a really good fight between two of the best in the Welterweight division. Of course, Woodley is a former champion. But Edwards is right on the cusp of title contention himself. He’s not the most exciting fighter to watch but the run he’s been on has been really impressive. He’s 18-3, on a 8 fight win streak and has beaten Rafael Dos Anjos, Gunnar Nelson and Donald Cerrone in his last 3 outings. The last time Edwards tasted defeat was against the current champ Usman back in 2015. Usman was even asked recently who his toughest opponent was and he said Leon Edwards. If Edwards can beat Woodley it’ll be hard to deny him a title shot. Especially with Usman vs Masvidal in the pipeline for the summer and Edwards having history with both. Of course, a Conor McGregor shaped monkey wrench can always fuck plans up but however it goes, Edwards puts himself in a great position with a win here. Easier said than done though. And Woodley sounds as grumpy and pissed off as ever...

“He’s gonna get fucked up. He’s gonna be the next one. This shit’s personal now. He will very quickly find out that he got locked in the cage with the wrong motherfucker.” - Tyron Woodley

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Looking forward to it. Not a huge fan of either, despite Edwards being a fellow Brummie, I’ve just never warmed to him. But it’s a big fight for the division and an interesting clash in styles and the timing of it. 

 

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Jack Marshman vs Kevin Holland is most likely going to be a lively scrap. Not much of a co-main event if the bout order stays as it is but a good fight all the same. There hasn’t been much in the way of dull moments in Marshman’s UFC career. Hasn’t done the best in terms of wins and losses, he’s 3-4, but every fight has been pretty exciting from what I recall. Holland is a guy the UFC seemed fairly high on at one point but it’s cooled off. He’s 16-5 now and got submitted by Brendan Allen in his last fight in October. He won his 3 previous fights though and went the distance with Thiago Santos in 2018. Could be decent, this. Like I say, Marshman doesn’t do duds. 

 

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Nicolas Dalby vs Danny Roberts sounds like a cracking fight on paper. Dalby returned to the UFC in September, on home soil in Copenhagen, and beat Alex Oliveira. He got back in the UFC after his incredible bloodbath with Ross Houston in Cage Warriors. He’s a good fighter and also took Darren Till to a draw back in 2015. Roberts is the hometown boy from Croydon. He’s had his ups and downs in the UFC but he comes into this one off a spectacular knockout win over Zelim Imadaev on the Moscow card in November.

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Doesn’t get much cleaner than that, does it? Really like this matchup. Two exciting European fighters, and both coming off a nice win.

 

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Darren Stewart vs Marvin Vettori might be alright. I’m not that into it but I don’t hate it. London’s Stewart has had his moments, to be fair. He had a fucking awesome forgotten war with Julian Marquez in December 2017. Go and watch that if you get some spare time. He also handed Deron Winn his first loss in his most recent fight. And Vettori I mostly remember because he actually took Israel Adesanya to a split decision in 2018. He’s won his two fights since then. So by no means a bad piece of matchmaking here. It’s just not tickling my fancy for whatever reason. Be interesting to finally see Stewart and Tyron Woodley in the same place at the same time on fight week though. 

 

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Jack Shore vs Geraldo De Freitas is going to be worth having a look at purely to see Shore back in there. He’s Welsh, 24 years old and undefeated at 12-0 with 11 finishes. He was also the Cage Warriors champ at 135. He submitted Nohelin Hernandez in his UFC debut in September and looked fantastic doing it. Dana White was impressed as well, describing Shore as ‘the hottest prospect in the UK’ or something. He looks the business so far, right enough. He should be beating this De Freitas bloke without too much hassle, I reckon. He‘s 12-5 and trains at Nova Uniao, but he’s never even fought anyone particularly good, much less beat them.

 

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Marc Diakiese vs Jai Herbert has piqued my interest. This is a fairly late switch up. It was supposed to be Diakiese vs Scotland’s Stevie Ray but Ray is out injured. In steps Jai Herbert. He’s from Wolverhampton, 10-1 with 8 knockouts. He won the vacant Cage Warriors Lightweight belt last year. He also trains with Leon and Fabian Edwards. I’ve never actually watched him fight but I’ve heard the name around the Midlands and I’ve just looked at a few little clips. Could be a really fun standup fight here with him and Diakiese. Probably a better fight style-wise than the original fight with Stevie Ray actually.

 

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Ryan Spann vs Paul Craig might actually be one of the more interesting and overlooked fights coming up for me. If this becomes a grappling battle I think it could be pretty excellent. Both are strongest on the ground. Spann is a guy nobody is talking about but he’s been quietly stacking up wins in the 205 division. He’s 17-5 overall, 11 by submission, and has finished Devin Clark and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in his last couple of fights. And Craig is obviously primarily a grappler. BJJ brown-belt with a 12-4-1 MMA record, also with 11 subs. There’s every chance they decide to have a shit standup fight but if it goes to the floor it should be good stuff.

 

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Gabriel Benitez vs Lerone Murphy is a fight I’m not really here or there on. Could be OK, I guess. Benitez is 21-7 and coming off a knockout loss to Sodiq Yusuff. He’s nothing special really but I recall him being in fairly entertaining fights for where he’s at on the cards. Murphy is where the minimal bit of interest I have lies in this one. He’s fighting out of Stockport and is unbeaten at 8-0-1 with 5 finishes. He went to a split draw with tough Russian Zubaira Tukhugov in his last fight. Might be some potential there.

 

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Molly McCann vs Ashlee Evans-Smith isn’t doing it for me. I’ve quite enjoyed most of McCann’s fights that I’ve seen, to be fair. She’s a tough little cookie. 10-2 record, former Cage Warriors champion, she’s won her last 3 fights. She’s doing alright. Evans-Smith just doesn’t interest me as an opponent though. She’s 6-4 and all I remember her for is that she got headlocked unconscious by Raquel Pennington years ago and that she TKO’d transgender fighter Fallon Fox. She’s not much good really. I actually feel like this is a step back for McCann. I was hoping she’d be matched with someone like Roxanne Modafferi or Maycee Barber. Hopefully she wins this and gets a step up next time.

 

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Makwan Amirkhani vs Mike Grundy is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. Big fan of this fight. It’s easy to forget now but Amirkhani at one time had a real buzz about him. He burst into the UFC in 2015 with an 8 second flying knee KO in his debut, for fuck’s sake. He was cutting promos, coming across really well in the media, had an exciting fighting style. He was also training with Conor McGregor at SBG, before that association had a negative stench attached. But injuries buggered him and he had a bunch of big gaps of inactivity, only fighting once a year in 2016, 2017 and 2018. He fought twice last year, going 1-1, but he was fun to watch as always. Hopefully the injury issues are behind him now and he can get back to being more active. Grundy is from Wigan. He’s one of the more interesting UK UFC newcomers for me. He’s 12-1, stopped Nad Narimani in his UFC debut on last year’s London show and he’s a standout wrestler who won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Hasn’t lost since 2015. He looks good from what little I’ve seen of him. Looking forward to seeing how he matches up with Amirkhani’s wild style.

 

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John Phillips vs Dusko Todorovic might just be the show stealer. Phillips is a real banger. He’s nicknamed ‘The Welsh Wrecking Machine’ according to his Wikipedia page. And with good reason. He can definitely crack. He’s 22-9-1 in MMA. With 20 of those 22 wins coming by knockout. Don’t expect him to be in the title picture but he’ll probably be one of those undercard guys who banks a fair chunk of bonus money however long he sticks around. Todorovic is making his Octagon debut here. He was on Dana White’s Contender Series though. Sounds like someone well worth keeping an eye on. He’s 25 years old from Serbia. Undefeated at 9-0 with 8 finishes and he has a first round TKO win over Michel Pereira in 2018 on his record. Never clapped eyes on him before but I’m well up for this one now.

 

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Jake Collier vs Tom Aspinall is the Heavyweight offering on the card. Can’t say I’m familiar with either man myself. Collier has been inactive since 2017. Apparently he’s fought in the UFC six times. I don’t recall ever seeing him. If I did then he can’t have left much of an impression. He’s 11-4. Aspinall makes his debut. He’s from Wigan, 7-2, all finishes. That’s all I’ve got.

 

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Bartosz Fabinski vs Shavkat Rakhmonov then. Going in blind on this one. I’ve seen Fabinski before but it’s been a while. He’s been in the UFC for a few years now but doesn’t fight all that often. Last fought in 2018 and got submitted in a minute. The debut of Rakhmonov is the pull here. He’s the first Kazakh fighter to be signed to a UFC contract. 25 years old, unbeaten at 12-0 with 12 finishes. M-1 Global Welterweight champion. Sounds like a good signing. I’ll make sure to check his fight out. 
 


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Spot of tea, my G? 

Edited by wandshogun09

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excellent card this, hopefully im free on the 21st and i can watch this one from the start.

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I'm hoping Marc Diakiese can carry on with his rebuilding. Going from undefeated to losing three on the trot was a shame, but hopefully he's adapted, and can go back to fulfilling his early promise.

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Edwards said he may walk out to Woodley's music which would be tremendous.

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We had tickets for this. Frankly, I’m glad they’ve moved it and I don’t have to weigh up going or not anymore.

Dana’s insistence that these fights will still happen isn’t the greatest look when everything else is shutting down for the foreseeable future. 

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Ashlee Evans-Smith pretty much just landed in London and is already goin’ back to Cali;

Her scheduled opponent Molly McCann doesn’t know what’s happening either;

Now Leon Edwards is liking tweets calling for the event to be postponed. 

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Not to sound all Luke Thomas but at this point surely it’s better they just push this one back. It’s not like the Brasilia card where the location didn’t change. There was actually no real disruption to the fighters in that case. Only difference was no crowd. This is different though. We’re 6 days out and nobody has a clue where the show is taking place, if at all. And we must be close to the point where UK fighters on the card are going to be unable to fly to the US if they’re not on a flight soon. Or have the flights already stopped? It’s all such a fucking mess. 

Edited by wandshogun09

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12 hours ago, wandshogun09 said:

And we must be close to the point where UK fighters on the card are going to be unable to fly to the US if they’re not on a flight soon. Or have the flights already stopped? It’s all such a fucking mess. 

Also:

 

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Christ. What’s the point persisting with it? Trying to hold together some sort of card at this stage is surely more hassle than it’s worth. The main event is most likely off and about 50% of the fighters on the undercard won’t be able to fly out. This card is going to be the UFC equivalent of Trigger’s broom in Only Fools And Horses. None of the original components in sight. 

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12 hours ago, wandshogun09 said:

Christ. What’s the point persisting with it? Trying to hold together some sort of card at this stage is surely more hassle than it’s worth. The main event is most likely off and about 50% of the fighters on the undercard won’t be able to fly out. This card is going to be the UFC equivalent of Trigger’s broom in Only Fools And Horses. None of the original components in sight. 

Agreed.

Dana would probably try and solider on regardless of how bad the circumstances are. However, it could be that he senses an additional opportunity on this occasion. With most other live sports cancelled and people staying indoors more, there is an opening for the UFC to entice lapsed/casual/new fans into watching their product. 

I suspect even Dana will have to throw in the towel eventually though. The obstacles are mounting up for him with every passing day. 

Edited by jimufctna24

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