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UFC Vegas: Blaydes vs Volkov - Jun 20 🇺🇸


Who wins and how?   

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Posted (edited)

Saturday 20th June at the UFC Apex again.

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ESPN MAIN CARD
Curtis Blaydes vs Alexander Volkov 

Josh Emmett vs Shane Burgos 

Raquel Pennington vs Marion Reneau 

Lyman Good vs Belal Muhammad

Jim Miller vs Roosevelt Roberts
 

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Clay Guida vs Bobby Green

Tecia Torres vs Brianna Van Buren

Marc-Andre Barriault vs Oskar Piechota

Cortney Casey vs Gillian Robertson 

Frank Camacho vs Justin Jaynes

Roxanne Modafferi vs Lauren Murphy

Austin Hubbard vs Max Rohskopf

 

Almost certain the bout order is off there. But that main and co-main have been confirmed. The rest will no doubt get shuffled over the next week or so. Standard COVID era Fight Night. Undercard is a bit wank but I like the top 2 fights a lot better than that Eye vs Calvillo card on the 13th.

 

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Curtis Blaydes vs Alexander Volkov. Not a bad fight this. Probably won’t have people buzzing but I quite like the matchup myself. There isn’t much in the way of new blood at Heavyweight in the UFC these days but these are two of the better guys on the rise. It’s a bit of a comedown from a decade or so ago when we had Brock, Cain, Carwin and JDS all burst on the scene within about a 6 month span but they’re both skilled fighters. Sadly, it looks like Heavyweight is heading for a weak spell again. We’ve still got Stipe and Ngannou but, after that? Daniel Cormier is on the way out, who knows if Cain will ever come back, JDS is slowing down, Overeem just turned 40, Werdum is 43 next month. The old guard are on the way out and there hasn’t really been much in the way of new exciting guys to replace them. I don’t think it’ll be as bad as the Tim Sylvia era but I’d say we’re heading for the weakest period in a long time for the division. With the doom and gloom out of the way, there’s still fun to be had. Derrick Lewis is still around, I still think Rozenstruik will provide some highlights and Walt Harris isn’t exactly dull. For new blood, I think we’re looking mostly at 3 names. Blaydes and Volkov are 2 of them. And I really think Ciryl Gane could be another with a bit more time. But for now, Blaydes vs Volkov is a battle to determine who’s going to be thrust into that upper echelon at Heavyweight.

Blaydes has been the more impressive of the 2 so far to me. Both in resume and his actual performances. His record stands at 13-2-1. His only losses are to Francis Ngannou, the No Contest was a win that got overturned because Blaydes tested positive for weed. Aside from those blemishes, he’s beat Alexey Oleynik, Mark Hunt, Alistair Overeem and in his last fight in January he got a TKO over Junior Dos Santos. He’s becoming more impressive the more we see him. He’s also a NCAA Division 1 wrestler in a division that doesn’t have many great wrestlers anymore. And he’s still only 29. Volkov is 31-7 with wins over Fabrício Werdum, Roy Nelson and Stefan Struve being the standouts on his record. He’s obviously more experienced in terms of number of fights but Blaydes has beat better names in less time. Volkov does always have the size on his side at 6’7” but, despite that, he’s only got an inch of reach on Blaydes. It’s a solid fight. I’d be surprised if Blaydes doesn’t win though.

 

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Josh Emmett vs Shane Burgos is the co-main event as best I can tell. Doesn’t scream co-main but I really like this fight. Emmett is a Team Alpha Male guy. He’s become a banger late in his career. He’s 35 years old now, 15-2 record, and really didn’t have a reputation as a heavy hitter until later in his career. It started when he knocked Ricardo Lamas out cold in late 2017. Since then he’s also KOd Michael Johnson and Mirsad Bektic. Don’t know why he’s developed a knockout punch now. Guessing it’s something Alpha Male have brought out of him and now he’s just got that confidence in letting those hands go, it’s paying off. Burgos is no mug himself though. 29 years old out of the Bronx. He’s 13-1 with the only loss coming against Calvin Kattar. I remember that being a real good scrap though and I vaguely recall Burgos getting the better of it before Kattar rallied and finished him. Since then, Burgos has rattled off 3 wins including a decision over Cub Swanson and a TKO over Makwan Amirkhani. Should be explosive. One of them don’t blink fights.

 

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Raquel Pennington vs Marion Reneau means sod all for the 135 division. Neither are really going anywhere at this stage. But style-wise, it’ll probably be decent enough. Pennington, for all her flaws as a fighter, is rarely dull. She is game as fuck though and granite tough. Sadly for her, it hasn’t often translated to wins in the cage. She’s 10-8 now and has lost 3 of her last 4. One of which being that soul crushing beatdown from Amanda Nunes that probably knocked a few years off her life. I like her though so I’m rooting for her here. She has had her moments. She beat Miesha Tate in Tate’s last fight and she submitted Jessica Andrade. Arguably should’ve got the decision over Holly Holm in their first fight as well. The losses are piling up of late though. Reneau is about to turn 43 years old. She’s also got a submission win over Andrade back in 2015 and also tapped Sara McMann. She’s coming off 2 consecutive losses now though and hasn’t fought in over a year.

 

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Lyman Good vs Belal Muhammad is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. It’s a fight that’s been booked twice already, the first attempt dates back to 2016. More recently it was supposed to happen at UFC 249 in April but Good tested positive for COVID and had to pull out. I’m glad they’ve persisted with rescheduling it though because I think this could be a belter. Good is 21-5-1, former Bellator fighter in the very early days of that promotion. He’s had his ups and downs in the UFC but he scored an impressive knockout over Chance Rencountre on the MSG card in November. Muhammad is 16-3 and coming off a couple of nice wins over Takashi Sato and Curtis Millender. Also had an absolute corker with Alan Jouban back in 2016 which is where I became a fan of his. Good dude as well. Worth a follow on Twitter. But yeah, liking this pairing. Probably favour Muhammad at this point but either way I think it’ll be a lively one however long it goes.

 

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Jim Miller vs Roosevelt Roberts is a late addition that could be a cracking fight. It’s down as a Catchweight fight at 160lbs for some reason. Guessing Miller asked for that given the short notice. Roberts just fought on the Woodley vs Burns undercard on May 30th, submitting Brok Weaver, so he probably wasn’t too far off weight when the offer came. 10-1 record now, 26 years old and I think he’s got some real potential. But if Miller is up for this and in decent shape, he should give Roberts a proper test. He’s past his best and he’s been through the wars but he’s double tough and a handful on the ground. Like this matchup a lot.

 

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Clay Guida vs Bobby Green is a fight that could’ve happened at pretty much any point in the last decade but didn’t for some reason. Not sure what to expect out of it in 2020. Guida has been in some of the most exciting fights in UFC history but he’s not the player he once was and he isn’t all that active these days. He’s 38 years old so it’s natural. But you don’t really know what to expect from him one fight to the next. He last fought in August 2019 and got guillotined in a round by Jim Miller. Before that he won a decision over the empty husk of BJ Penn. Bobby Green has been fairly frustrating to watch at the best of times. He’s been around for ages and, off the top of my head, the only fight of his I recall really enjoying was the draw with Lando Vannata in 2017. He comes into this one off a couple of points losses. Hopefully it’s better than I’ve made it sound there but I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be an awkward and uneventful fight.

 

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Tecia Torres vs Brianna Van Buren. Torres needs a win badly here. She got off to a promising start to her career going 7-0 with wins over Paige VanZant, Rose Namajunas, Felice Herrig and Angela Hill. Fast forward to 2020 and she’s coming off 4 straight losses. It’s a harsh game. Her fights are nowhere near as fun to watch these days either. Her first fight with Thug Rose in Invicta was incredible. In the UFC though, I’ve found her very dull to watch for the most part. Don’t recall seeing Van Buren before. She’s 26 years old with a 7-2 record and was the Invicta Strawweight champion. According to her Wikipedia page she’s only 4’11” as well. Rare that Torres is the taller fighter in there.

 

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Marc-Andre Barriault vs Oskar Piechota is pure filler for me. Haven’t been too jazzed at all with either from what I’ve seen. Barriault is Canadian and was a two division champ in the TKO promotion. He’s been pretty shit in the UFC though. He’s gone 0-3 since signing and I don’t remember one thing about his fights. Just a vague recollection of him being as bland as Roy Cropper’s beige cardigan collection. Piechota I’ll give more slack to. He’s also coming off 3 losses but, to be fair, he’s been fed to beasts on the rise like Rodolfo Vieira and Puna Soriano so maybe he’s not as bad as those guys made him look. Not arsed about this in the slightest.

 

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Cortney Casey vs Gillian Robertson is OK. Nothing more. But man, there’s a lot of nothing happening, mediocre women’s fights on this card, isn’t there? All feels a bit too Invicta undercard for me. Hopefully a couple of them exceed expectations. Casey just fought on the May 16th card. She subbed Mara Romero Borella in a round. Probably the best showing of her entire UFC run. She’s 9-7 now. She’s got some work to do. Robertson is 25 years old with a 7-4 record and fights out of American Top Team. Despite the less than stellar win/loss ratio, I’ve actually quite liked what I’ve seen of her in the UFC so far. She got stopped by Maycee Barber last time but, unlike a lot of the women fighters, she’s a finisher and has stopped 6 of her 7 wins. Including a submission over Molly McCann in Liverpool.

 

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Matt Frevola vs Frank Camacho is an alright little fight. Frevola is a Serra-Longo fighter with a 8-1-1 record. Coming off wins over Luis Pena and Jalin Turner. Camacho is 22-8 and has lost 3 of his last 4 fights. I remember the Geoff Neal loss in particular. It was a fucking brutal headkick KO. One of the nastiest knockouts of 2018 easy but I don’t think many saw it so it mostly flew under the radar. Camacho’s a scrappy guy. Don’t recall him being in any stinkers. I expect Frevola to beat him though. Roosevelt Roberts will no doubt be paying close attention to this one. He’s called Frevola out a few times in the past and apparently there’s some bad blood there stemming from Frevola beating Jalin Turner, who’s Roberts’ teammate and close friend. If Frevola wins here, that Roberts fight pretty much books itself.

 

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Roxanne Modafferi vs Lauren Murphy is a battle between two veterans of the women’s game. Was actually kind of surprised they haven’t fought before somewhere because they were both plugging away before the UFC got on board with the women and were probably on a lot of the same shows together. Modafferi has been the more active. She’s been fighting since 2003 and is 24-16 now. So not the best. But she’s fought pretty much everywhere, against almost everybody and she’s had her moments. Even now, she’s been very patchy in the UFC but in the last year she’s handed both Maycee Barber and Antonina Shevchenko their first MMA defeats. She’s awkward as fuck but she’s got some tricks up her sleeve. Murphy is 12-4 and a former Invicta champ. She went 8-0 at the start of her career but hit a rough patch. She comes into this fight off 2 wins though. Doesn’t do a great deal for me, this fight, but I don’t hate it.

 

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Joe Solecki vs Austin Hubbard could be worth a gander. Solecki might be someone to keep tabs on. He’s 26 years old, 9-2 with 7 finishes. Seems more of a grappler. Made his UFC debut in December, dominated Matt Wiman and looked good doing it. Hubbard seems to have become the poor shmuck they feed to the prospects now. He was thrown in with Mark Madsen at UFC 248 in March, now here he is again. To be fair, he lost handily against Madsen but he surpassed my expectations by going the distance and even hurt Madsen late with a big knee. He doesn’t come to lose, I’ll give him that.

 

It’ll do. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Probably because there's nothing else on but I'm kind of enjoying all these shitty lockdown cards in empty arenas. 

If we can all come out of this tragedy with a new found love for Neil Magny it will have been worth it right?

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This is suddenly looking a little bit deeper. Jim Miller vs Roosevelt Roberts and Clay Guida vs Bobby Green have been added. I’m neither here nor there on Guida vs Green but Miller vs Roberts should be good. 

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I'm looking forward to this card. It's got a nice mix of prospects, under the radar guys and past their prime but still fighting on guys. I like that mix.

Clay Guida is certainly past his prime but he has had so many classics in his time that I get excited to see him fight, I will be very much cheering on him to win. I love the guy.

Jim Miller vs Roosevelt Roberts is a great fight, it's a perfect chance for a potential prospect to show what he can do and it's a perfect chance for member of the old guard to show that he still has some fight left in him. Miller is always exciting but the talk of retirement always looms after his fights, in fairness it never comes from his mouth. Roosevelt looked great against Brok Weaver a few weeks back back, that was the first and only time I saw him and he caught my eye there. Let's see if it's "Bout Money" or if there is going to be a bad moon rising (reference to Miller's old walk out music).

I hereby announce that Jim Miller vs Roosevelt Roberts is ***ZKM's ALTERNATIVE ONE TO WATCH*** 

/Gimmick infringement

Lyman Good vs Belal is going to be a close one, I have Belal slightly edging it but it can go either way really. I think it will go the distance.

Shane Burgos vs Josh Emmet is going to be very exciting, a win for Burgos would shoot him straight up the rankings in my opinion and make him a contender with one or two more wins under his belt. I don't think a win for Emmet would do the same as I can't see him breaking into the top 5 at his age. I'm happy to be proved wrong as I always have a soft spot for Team Alpha Male guys as I love Urijah Faber but I don't see him being able to climb the rankings as fast as Burgos would if Burgos were to win. It's a great fight and neither fighter will want to add a number to their already impressively low L column.

The Main event will be a good one, I'm pretty confident in a Curtis Blaydes victory. He's going to be around the top 5 of the HW division for many years. I think he will always come unstuck against the elite guys like Francis and Stipe but he will always beat people on the next level down (his level). I think Curtis is catching him early in round number 1.

Roll on the next few weeks of cards! I'm so grateful that the UFC is still running despite everything else going on in the world today. It's my one constant that I can rely on every weekend.

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Posted (edited)

my initial instinct favours Emmet over Burgos but ive looked at some MMA tippers this week who are calling Burgos a lock as a slight favorite. 

earlier start tonight too:

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Edited by Egg Shen
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By the end of round 4, I wasn't sure if Blaydes was going to last the distance. I thought that Volkov was going to stop him in the final frame. 

However, as Blaydes grinded out the decision, both fighters remain in the same positions they were in before the fight. Blaydes maintains his status as a top contender (albeit one that is unlikely to receive a title shot in the near future), and Volkov remains a gatekeeper. 

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This has caused a bit of a storm. The conclusion of Austin Hubbard vs Max Rohskopf, which was the first fight of the night on Fight Pass. At the end of the second round, Rohskopf told Robert Drysdale he was done and to call the fight and Drysdale kept pushing him to continue. 

It ended up getting stopped when Rohskopf refused to come out for the third round. There’s been a lot of criticism of Drysdale today. And not just fans. Ariel Helwani, Luke Thomas (surprise, surprise), even some Boxing guys like Jamie Moore have been on about it. Drysdale hasn’t backed down and has said that Rohskopf “wasn’t seriously hurt”. And of course, the ‘warriors’ online are slagging Rohskopf for being a quitter.

I can definitely see the argument that some fighters need a push or a pep talk in the corner to motivate and get them through adversity. I get what Drysdale was doing from that POV. But Rohskopf took the fight on really short notice, he was down 20-17 on the scorecards going into the last round according to Helwani, it just wasn’t happening for him. And while he wasn’t ‘seriously hurt’, who is anyone to judge how he felt on the stool? You can’t just look at a guy and say he seems fine when he’s repeatedly saying he’s done. And the ‘not seriously hurt’ thing, surely that’s the point? To stop it before it gets to that stage. Why wait for him to get hurt badly? Sure, Drysdale knows him better than us, but Rohskopf knows himself better than Drysdale. He recognised he had nothing left and was fighting a battle he couldn’t win. It’s over at that point. He was making $12k for this before taxes/any expenses. It’s all well and good dickwads tweeting ‘he quit. I’d rather go out on my shield dude’ from the safety of the sofa but it’s not worth shortening your career on a short notice fight for that kind of money. He looked physically exhausted and was clearly done mentally. Whether he’d taken a lot of damage or not, in that frame of mind the chances of him getting fucked up in the third round would’ve been higher because he wasn’t in the fight anymore. 

I’d like to see him get another shot with a full camp because a lot of this could’ve been down to the short notice and his conditioning simply not being up to it. We all praise fighters for stepping in on short notice but it’s never ideal. For every time it pays off big like Bisping taking Rockhold’s belt, there’s 2 or 3 guys lower down the card taking the gamble and losing. Rohskopf shouldn’t be knocked for how the fight ended. He jumped in, took the risk and it didn’t work out. He’d also only had 5 fights coming in. With the combination of a lack of experience, no training camp and his conditioning not at its best, he was up against it from the off. Live to fight another day.

Aside from that, I thought this was similar to last week’s Eye vs Calvillo card. The undercard mostly delivered but the main event was dull as shite.

Blaydes did what he had to do though. He’s getting pelters left and right today but I think it’s a little unfair. Sure it was a bit of a snoozer. It happens. But I don’t think Blaydes is typically a boring fighter. With his style, I guess there are just certain matchups that are going to play out better than others. I was expecting a better fight but whatever. Volkov size was always going to make the standup tricky and he’s not the best wrestler. So the blueprint and path of least resistance for Blaydes was obviously to take him down. Dana‘s had a pop as expected, saying Blaydes has “the wrong attitude” or some cobblers. I get he’s not a promoter’s dream but he’s also stopped JDS and Overeem. People talking like he’s Jake Shields is bullshit. Don’t know where he goes from here though. He’s right up there but with Stipe-DC 3 to play out, then Ngannou next in line, plus Dana not being his biggest fan...he’s in for a long wait.

Emmett vs Burgos was a scrap and a half. One of my favourite fights of the year so far. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s a shame they didn’t swap this and the main event positions. I’d have been well up for 2 more rounds of this. One of those fights where I just got swept up in it and completely lost track of the scoring. By the end I felt like Emmett winning was the right call though. Tremendous fight.

The undercard was mostly action packed fights. I really think the smaller cage has been a huge factor in that. Even fighters like Tecia Torres and Marc-Andre Barriault, who are usually always going to boring and lifeless decisions, they were both noticeably more aggressive and proactive last night. Barriault in particular. He was like a different fighter than every other time I’ve seen him.

What else?

Love seeing Jim Miller showing the kids how it’s done. I’ve become a bit of a fan of Roosevelt Roberts but I can’t help but smile seeing Miller still slapping on submissions and getting the job done after all these years. Always had a soft spot for Miller. I was in attendance for his Octagon debut way back at UFC 89 in Birmingham and his bloodbath with Joe Lauzon is still one of my favourite fights. He’s had his ups and downs, the battle with lyme disease etc but it’s been good to see the little resurgence he’s had over the last year or so. He’ll never threaten the rankings at this point but he’s still great to watch. Still a fucker with the submissions as well.

Justin Jaynes made some first impression as well. He wasn’t even on the roster at the start of the week, jumps in on really short notice, filling in for Matt Frevola, wipes out Frank Camacho in seconds and bags a $50k POTN bonus plus a percentage of Camacho’s purse because he missed weight. What a rollercoaster of a week it must’ve been for him. 

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Thanks for mentioning the Drysdale stuff, I didn't see that at the time. Just had a look online and it sounds like Dana wasn't so sympathetic towards him, I saw Brett Okamotto on Twitter quote him saying "I'm sure Blaydes wanted to quite after round 2 as well." It doesn't look good for Rohskopf's future.

Enjoyable show overall but my god, that main event was terrible. I had my non UFC fan housemates join me for the main event and it was the worst possible main event for them to watch. "I'll never get that hour back of my life."

Curtis Blaydes certainly won't be going anywhere in the rankings for a long time. Even when DC/Stipe happens and Francis gets his rematch, if Francis wins that, it will be a hard to sell for their to be a trilogy when it already stands at 2-0. I have no wish to see him fight again in a hurry.

The co-main was brilliant, Burgos will come back from this, I still stand by my earlier comments that I can't see Emmet rising that much up the rankings in the future. I envision in 365 days from now, Burgos will be ranked higher. Hopefully both can recover quickly and have other fights soon, just seeing their name on the card will make any fight card more exciting going forward.

Jim Miller rolled back the years. Hopefully now he is fully recovered from Lyme disease he can go on a bit of a run. Roosevelt will be back, unfortunately he will be back on the prelims but he will be back no less. He took minimal damage so I expect to see him step up again in a couple of months or so.

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Posted (edited)

Mexico City, 2015 - Trevor Wittman doing the opposite to Robert Drysdale and pulling Nate Marquardt out of the Gastelum fight;

Of course, the situations weren’t exactly the same but Wittman was straight in there, no messing about, and put his fighter’s safety above the importance of winning the fight.

Again, I do understand what Drysdale was trying to do, to an extent, but there’s something really unsettling about the way he’s ignoring Rohskopf’s insistence to stop the fight. After the third or fourth time of saying “call it” and especially when he says “I don’t wanna do this anymore”, how could you send someone out there for another round?

Dana’s comments on it are a weird mix of supporting Rohskopf’s decision and basically saying he’s not cut out for MMA;

A lot of that is dead on for me. And I even think he’s likely correct that Rohskopf wasn’t ready for the UFC just yet. But he’s 25 years old, he’s only had 6 fights and took this on a few days notice. I wouldn’t close the book on him yet. Who knows? Maybe Dana is on the money and Rohskopf will decide MMA is not for him, which is fine too. But based off this fight and under these circumstances, I wouldn’t write him off. Maybe cut him loose and let him gain some more experience before coming back, or maybe give him another fight with a full camp a few months from now. But Dana’s comments here are a bit weird. In one breath he’s backing fighters pulling themselves out mid-fight if they’re done. But in the next breath he’s sending the message out to fighters that if you do that, you probably need to look at a different career path. Like Boxercise instructing or palling up to casino owners like he did. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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