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UFC Vegas: Woodley vs Burns - May 30 🇺🇸


Who wins and how?   

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Saturday 30th May at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Well, for now anyway.


Tyron Woodley vs Gilbert Burns 

Blagoy Ivanov vs Augusto Sakai 

Daniel Rodriguez vs Gabriel Green

Roosevelt Roberts vs Brok Weaver

Mackenzie Dern vs Hannah Cifers

Katlyn Chookagian vs Antonina Shevchenko 

Spike Carlyle vs Billy Quarantillo 

Jamahal Hill vs Klidson Abreu

Tim Elliott vs Brandon Royval 

Casey Kenney vs Louis Smolka

Vince Morales vs Chris Gutiérrez

I don’t even think that’s the official poster. Saw it on Twitter. Sod it. Looks cool and no doubt it’ll be better than the proper one they put out. Not the best card but there’s some fun to be had there. After doing a bit of digging on some of the undercard fights, I think this is actually a little bit of a deeper card than it first appears. 



Tyron Woodley vs Gilbert Burns then. Excellent fight this. It’s been brewing for a little while now. Of course, Woodley was all set to fight Leon Edwards on the London card in March before that show got cancelled. Since then it seems like every single Welterweight has been calling every other Welterweight out on a weekly basis. Last I heard, an Usman vs Masvidal title fight is the plan for July but who knows at this point? Relying on plans actually happening in MMA seems foolish at the best of times but with the current situation with Covid, there’s more uncertainty than ever. Hasn’t stopped a lot of the names at 170 giving each other grief though. Woodley, Burns, Edwards, Covington, Till, none of them ever seem to stop talking shit on each other.


We haven’t seen Woodley fight since he lost the belt to Usman over a year ago. He was on a good run as champion before that but Usman really dominated him. And at 38 years old now, with other options with the analyst work and fucking around with his awful rapping, you wonder how much longer he’s got at the top level. Definitely not writing him off after one arse kicking from a beast like Usman. Especially when his fight before that against Darren Till was one of the best overall performances of his career. But I don’t know what to make of him lately. And I’m not sure the 14 months out of the cage are going to help matters either.

Burns is in the best form of his life right now. 33 years old, 18-3 record and coming off 5 wins in a row. About as high level a BJJ artist as there is in MMA today. World champion, 2nd degree black-belt, there’s not much on the mats that he hasn’t mastered. And now on top of his elite grappling game, over the last few years he’s developed an ability for knocking people out.


In March he scored the biggest win of his career so far, knocking out fellow BJJ wizard Demian Maia in about 2 minutes. Before that he beat Gunnar Nelson and stepped in on short notice and handed Alexey Kunchenko (who was 20-0 going in) his first loss. He’s been stepping in on short notice, campaigning for big fights, the lot. And it’s paying off. The Maia fight was big, that was Gilbert’s first UFC co-main event. But he started really pushing for the Woodley fight after that. Using the tactic of slagging off Tyron’s singing;

He kept trolling to the point Woodley ended up blocking him on Twitter. 



It worked though and he’s ended up getting the fight.

All joking aside, this is a step up into that very top tier at 170. If he can beat a guy like Woodley, there’s nowhere to go but title contention. And if he were stop Woodley, man, I could see him shooting straight up to face the Usman/Masvidal winner. But although I’d love to see Burns win this, I’ve got a feeling this might just be a step too far for him. Hope I’m wrong. But whether I like him or not, Woodley is elite. I put him as probably the third best Welterweight ever behind GSP and Matt Hughes. He’s that good and despite my doubts on his age, lay-off etc, I don’t think he’s anywhere near shot. I’m seeing a lot of people being quick to write him off based on the Usman fight which is bollocks really as 1) Usman is an animal and 2) didn’t Woodley pick up an injury in the fight as well? Whatever happens, this is a really interesting fight. Just got a feeling Woodley’s wrestling will cancel out Burns’ BJJ, and on the feet I’d give the slight edge to Woodley.



Blagoy Ivanov vs Augusto Sakai is the co-main. Can’t say I’m particularly fussed with this although I quite like Ivanov. He’s 18-3-1 with wins over Ben Rothwell and Tai Tuivasa in the UFC. Had a really fun fight with Derrick Lewis on the MSG show in November. Former WSOF champ, fought in Bellator, beat Fedor in Sambo in 2008, survived being stabbed in the chest in 2012, he’s been a busy boy. No wonder he looks haggard as fuck for 33. Sakai I’m a bit less familiar with. He’s 29 years old, Brazilian of Japanese descent, 14-1-1 record. For ages I only ever remembered him as the guy who had a really shitty fight with Cheick Kongo in Bellator but, in fairness, he’s been alright in recent fights. Has a win over Arlovski and stopped Marcin Tybura in a minute in his last fight. This is one of those fights that could really either be a ton of fun or a total dogshite plodfest. No in between. 



Daniel Rodriguez vs Kevin Holland might be OK. Haven’t seen enough of Rodriguez. He lost his UFC debut against Tim Means in February but he was 11-0 with 10 finishes before that. Interesting to see Holland back in there so soon though. He literally just fought on the May 16th card. Got to be one of the quickest turnarounds in UFC history that. 2 weeks. I think Chris Leben had a similar turnaround when he fought Akiyama but there haven’t been many jump straight back in that fast. His fight on the 16th only lasted 39 seconds though. And with the fights all being thrown together last minute recently, he probably never had much of a camp either. So this is a no brainer for him. He gets two paydays and he really hasn’t put a lot of miles on his body. Be cool to see him get another win here.



Roosevelt Roberts vs Brok Weaver is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. Serious show stealer possibilities here. I’ve been pretty high on Roberts from what I’ve seen so far. He’s 26 years old, 9-1 and he’s got skills. He’s not the finished product at all but you watch him and you can just see the potential. Not saying he’ll go on to have anywhere near the same level of success but watching him reminds me of watching Max Holloway early in his career. I haven’t seen a great deal of Brok Weaver but he seems like a complete wildman. He’s 28, 15-4 record and was on Dana’s Contender Series. Unfortunately his UFC debut in February was an anti-climax and was all over in less than a round when his opponent threw a blatant illegal knee forcing the DQ. From what we did see though, I think Weaver’s going to be good fun. And I really think him and Roberts match up perfectly.



Mackenzie Dern vs Hannah Cifers kicks off the main card. This is probably designed to rebuild Dern. She came into the UFC with a fair amount of hype. She was already known as a world class grappler and had won a fucking shitload of medals in BJJ competitions, ADCC, Worlds, she pretty much did it all. Made her MMA debut in 2016 and went 5-0 with 3 submissions by the end of 2017. With her grappling accomplishments and marketable looks, it was no surprise when the UFC snapped her up in 2018. But she didn’t set the world alight in her debut, squeaking out a razor thin decision over Ashley Yoder. She steamrolled Amanda Cooper in her next fight but she also missed weight. Then she was off for over a year as she had a baby. Came back in October but got shut down and beat by Amanda Ribas. That was Dern’s first loss in MMA. She’s 7-1 now. Not sure what to make of her. She’s clearly a bad woman if it hits the mat but I don’t know if Strawweight is the division for her. She’s already missed weight 3 times and she’s only had 8 fights. Not a good ratio. Cifers is probably supposed to be the sacrificial lamb here but I wouldn’t be shocked if she comes out on top. She’s no world beater and if it hits the ground she’s fucked but I quite like what I’ve seen of her. She’s game and she goes for it. Dern should be the favourite but I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion.



Katlyn Chookagian vs Antonina Shevchenko isn’t getting my juices flowing. Never really got into Chookagian‘s style. Kind of interesting subplot here though, as Chookagian just fought Valentina Shevchenko for the title in February. Got battered, obviously, and now she’s up against the Big Valbowski’s sister. Antonina is skilled in her own right - 9-1 in MMA, 39-1 in Kickboxing. She’s a seasoned fighter. But she’s not the stone cold killer her little sister is. Not expecting much from this really. They’re both solid technically but neither are the most exciting to watch so it’s probably going to be one of those tip-tap sparring session fights. I’d much rather Shevchenko win though.



Spike Carlyle vs Billy Quarantillo is another darkhorse fight that’ll probably get overlooked. I haven’t seen much of either man yet but what I have seen I’ve really enjoyed. This could be non-stop mayhem. Carlyle AKA ‘The Alpha Ginger’ is 9-1 with 8 finishes. He’s won his last 5, stopped 4 of them and beat Aalon Cruz with a quick TKO in his UFC debut. Weird little bastard as well. Just a little whirlwind of ginger hair and frantic energy. He’s like if Clay Guida and Chucky had a kid. Quarantillo is 13-2, riding a 6 fight win streak and submitted Jacob Kilburn in his first Octagon appearance in December. Remember him looking really slick on the ground. Just based off seeing one fight of each man, this is one of the fights I’m most looking forward to on this card.



Jamahal Hill vs Klidson Abreu is just filling a space really. Not going to pretend I give much of a shite. Hill is undefeated at 7-0, to be fair, although he’s yet to really beat anyone that good. I vaguely recall him looking decent against Darko Stosic but it can’t have been overly impressive or it’d be more memorable. Abreu is 15-4 with 14 finishes. Mostly submissions. Again, decent enough but nothing that blows your socks off. Most notable thing about him is he has a submission over Johnny Walker on his record. Not a bad piece of matchmaking by any means. Just not grabbing me for whatever reason.



I think Tim Elliott vs Brandon Royval is going to be another sleeper. Elliott always seems a bit of a cock, just the impression I get, but he’s pretty consistently in entertaining, action-packed fights. He’s had nearly as many losses as wins at this point but he can go. The type of guy who can give almost any Flyweight in the world fits on any given night. As evidenced by his tremendous effort against Mighty Mouse in 2016. I was completely unfamiliar with Royval until this fight was announced the other day and I looked him up. He’s 10-4 with 9 finishes, is the LFA champ and won his last fight by submission in 23 seconds. Looks a fucking handful on the ground as well. Expect lots of crazy scrambling and submission attempts in this one. Oh and Royval’s nickname is ‘Raw Dawg’ apparently. Yeah. Definitely can’t wait to hear Buffer shouting that in an echoing empty arena.



Casey Kenney vs Louis Smolka could be another nice technical battle. Kenney is 13-2-1 with good wins over Manny Bermudez and Ray Borg. He also has a 2018 win over our debuting ‘Raw Dawg’ Royval. Smolka is my guy here though. Love watching him. He’s 16-6 overall and 5-1 in his last 6. Stupidly fun to watch and he’s always on the attack, in the standup and on the ground. Really under-appreciated when people talk about exciting fighters. His fights with Paddy Holohan and Tim Elliott are easily some of the best in Flyweight history, right alongside Lineker vs Gaudinot for me.



Vince Morales vs Chris Gutierrez jerks the curtain. Morales is 9-4 and beat Aiemann Zahabi in May 2019, which I have absolutely zero recollection of. Gutierrez is 14-4-1 and coming off a couple of decision wins. He’s also stolen Bas Rutten’s ‘El Guapo’ nickname. The cheek of it. Yeah, not bothered about this. Probably still end up watching it though.


Not the best card but definitely far from the worst. The main event is quality and I think Roberts vs Weaver, Carlyle vs Quarantillo, Elliott vs Royval and Kenney vs Smolka all have serious barnburner potential. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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At this point I'll take whatever the UFC can offer. Between lockdown restrictions, travel issues and fighters who may not want to actually fight, any card is decent.

Plus, it's nice to know that those fighting are getting paid. 

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Yeah I’m not moaning. I think I’ve been more positive than most. But you’re still going to compare cards even at a time like this. Like the other week when we had the two Fight Nights with Smith vs Teixeira and Overeem vs Harris. I enjoyed both but preferred the Overeem vs Harris one, on paper and in practice. That was actually hell of a show. One of the better Fight Nights I’ve seen in ages actually and it didn’t looked mega stacked going in, so you never know.

I’m in a ‘I’ll take whatever they give me’ state of mind with the whole thing too. But that Jessica Eye vs Cynthia Calvillo main event they’re working on is the shits. Global pandemic or not, they can still do better than that. Dropping that news the same day as they announced Dustin Poirier vs Dan Hooker really tickled me. 

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I think we'll see fight cards change considerably in the weeks leading up to them, for the reasons I mentioned above.

For that reason, I'm not even looking forward to a fight card until the week of the event at the earliest.

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On 5/23/2020 at 8:27 PM, wandshogun09 said:



I don’t even think that’s the official poster. Saw it on Twitter. Sod it. Looks cool and no doubt it’ll be better than the proper one they put out. 



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How are you all seeing the main event going then?

I’m seeing a lot of people writing Woodley off and I’m not on board with it. I know it’s the done thing with MMA fans to base everything off how a fighter looked in their most recent fight but that’s such flawed logic. The fact is Woodley ran into a Kamaru Usman who was a beast on a mission in his last fight. But his fight before that, Woodley outclassed, dropped and submitted the much bigger Darren Till. I know Woodley’s coming off a layoff but I wouldn’t count him out on the back of one bad night. Too many fans seem to just be looking at it as ‘Burns is coming off 5 wins, Woodley got dominated by Usman last time = Burns wins’. But I’m having a hard time picturing the route to victory for Burns here. And I say that as someone who wants him to win. He’s a world class BJJ artist but that’s useless if he can’t take Woodley down, and I do think he’ll struggle with that. So that leaves him with a best case scenario of relying on/hoping Woodley chooses to just stand and brawl with him. But 1) that mightn’t end well for Burns either given Woodley’s power and speed. And 2) Woodley isn’t typically the type to just throw caution to the wind and get reckless. He’s not going to be easy to land the bomb on. But that’s probably Burns’ best bet. To go for the KO, but he’s got to put himself in harm’s way to do it. 

Unless Woodley just turns up suddenly looking completely shot, I think this is a bit of a bad matchup for Burns. There’s no safe/easy route to take. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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You could be onto something with Woodley possibly losing focus a bit and getting distracted with other shit. I’d love to see Burns drop him and tap him out in a round or something. I’ve never forgiven Woodley for ending Robbie Lawler’s epic title reign, to be honest. A even worse crime than his rapping. Just got a bad feeling Woodley’s going to defend the takedowns and shut Burns down, maybe finish him in the mid-later rounds. 

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Woodley has systematically shut down, ground out decisions or fluked wins against some of my favourite fighters - Lawler as you say, Carlos Condit and Wonderboy. I even wanted Darren Till to beat him.

Usman mauled him though. I'm not sure if that's due to Usman being great, or Woodley being on the downturn. A bit of both I suspect.

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I guess there’s an outside chance of Woodley getting caught in a guillotine shooting in maybe. But I can’t see him going for takedowns much in this one at all. If he shoots I think it’ll be because he’s getting the worst of the striking.

Just don’t fancy Burns’ chances unfortunately. Maia was a good matchup for him because the grappling was always likely to be a bit of a stalemate so it always had a fairly high chance of being a standup fight and Burns was winning that all day against Maia. With Woodley I just don’t see where Burns has the advantages style-wise. Apart from BJJ, which T-Wood’s wrestling likely nullifies. I think if Woodley’s going to lose this one, it might be a case of the x-factors you mention, Guy. Possible slowing down or focusing on spitting barz fam. 

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