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UFC Vegas: Wonderboy vs Neal - Dec 19th 🇺🇸


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OK then, Saturday 19th December at the APEX in Las Vegas. It’s the last UFC card of 2020 and they’ve loaded this one to the fucking brim. Merry Christmas.

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Wonderboy Thompson vs Geoff Neal

Jose Aldo vs Marlon Vera

Michel Pereira vs Khaos Williams

Marlon Moraes vs Rob Font

Marcin Tybura vs Greg Hardy 

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Anthony Pettis vs Alex Morono

Pannie Kianzad vs Sijara Eubanks 

Deron Winn vs Antonio Arroyo

Gillian Robertson vs Taila Santos

Tafon Nchukwi vs Jamie Pickett

Jimmy Flick vs Cody Durden 

Christos Giagos vs Carlton Minus 

 

Look at THAT for a card! OK, losing the Leon Edwards vs Khamzat Chimaev main event was a big blow. That was a really interesting fight. But this is still a ridiculously stacked card. It’s been a shitty year for everyone and I’m sure we’ll all be glad to see the back of it. The UFC are trying to go out with a bang here though. Incredible. It’s not even a PPV but I think it’s stronger than most of the cards we’ve had this year.  

 

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Wonderboy Thompson vs Geoff Neal headlines now and I’m assuming it’ll be 5 rounds. Top matchmaking. Was wondering when Wonderboy would fight again. See what I did there? We last saw him on the MSG card last year, outpointing Vicente Luque in a good fight. His recent record might be a tad misleading actually. He’s gone 2-2 in his last 4 but a lot of people had him beating Till and I seem to recall he was winning against Pettis quite comfortably before getting KO’d. He could be on a bit of a hot streak now with a couple of minor adjustments. He beat Masvidal right before that as well. He might look 12 but he’s actually 37 now and he’s had a long old career in combat sports between MMA and Kickboxing. This might be his last run. Neal is a bad dude. A lot of people seem to think he might be a problem in the title picture but I’m not sure. It’s not like there aren’t a ton of beasts at 170 and, while he’s looked impressive so far, Neal just doesn’t have the resume yet. He’s definitely someone to keep an eye on though. He’s on a 7 fight win streak and bashed up Mike Perry and Niko Price in his last couple. He was meant to fight Neil Magny in August but unexpected health issues took him out.

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Scary situation. Hopefully he’s all good going forward. I’m split on this one. I like Neal and want to see him move up the ladder at Welterweight. Adding him to that mix at the top end of the division would just open up more possibilities for so many tremendous fights. But at the same time, Wonderboy is such a nice guy and it’s probably his last chance to make a run. Be a bit cack if he falls at the first hurdle. Good fight though and a massive test for Neal. Wonderboy is a right Rubik’s Cube of a MMA puzzle to solve.

 

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Jose Aldo vs Marlon Vera is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. Love this matchup. There were reports that it was originally being pencilled in for UFC 255 but it got pushed back to this card. Even on a card as deep as this, I could easily see this fight stealing the show. Aldo’s going to be coming in with something to prove here. He’s coming off that loss to Petr Yan in their July title fight and before that he’d lost a close decision to Marlon Moraes. So he’s winless since dropping to 135. Both really good fights and he didn’t disgrace himself at all. He performed well but they’re still back-to-back Ls on the record and that’s never good. He’s in desperate need of a win here. Usually when Aldo steps back from that elite level he shines. We saw it when he crushed Renato Moicano and Jeremy Stephens after the Holloway losses. This is certainly a step down in levels but, at the same time, Vera’s no mug. He’s 16-6-1 and has won 6 of his last 7. Nearly all his wins have been finishes and he just derailed the hype train of Sean O’Malley at UFC 252 in August. The ‘Suga Show’ got axed. I’d expect Aldo to win this but you wonder at what point do these losses at the elite level start effecting him to the point he can’t steamroll the mid-tier guys anymore? I do rate Vera but if Aldo can’t beat him I think that’ll be a real indicator that he’s slipping. Should be exciting to watch regardless.

 

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Michel Pereira vs Khaos Williams. Buckle up for this bastard. Even on a card this stacked, there’s something about this combination. Fuck me, this should be nuts. Now there’s always the chance with Pereira that he opts to just moonwalk and backflip about the gaff for 15 minutes and nothing really happens. He’s got a bit of that Yoel Romero quality for me in that sense. When he goes for it, it’s an absolute highlight reel. But if the opponent doesn’t mesh with that style it can just look like an awkward dance-off. There was no reason for his fight with Diego Sanchez to be so underwhelming. But most of the time, he’s spectacular to watch. He’s got his flaws like any fighter and he’ll never advance too far, I don’t think. But just enjoy the ride. The man’s off his head.

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I think Khaos Williams will bring the best out of him as well. The bloke hits like a truck. He’s 11-1 overall with 7 finishes. And in his 2 UFC fights he’s gone 2-0 with 2 big knockouts and both in 30 seconds or less. He totally wiped out Abdul Razak Alhassan on the RDA vs Felder card the other week. Pereira is always going to do his thing but he could well end up bodypopping his way into a KO punch if he’s not smart here.

 

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Marlon Moraes vs Rob Font. This could be a right belter. Really hope Moraes can get back to winning ways here. He was on such a great run for a while there but it’s all fallen apart in his last few fights. First there was the loss to Cejudo, then he squeaked by Aldo but got treated as if he lost, then in his last fight in October, Sandhagen stopped him. He went from on the cusp of a title shot to an also ran in no time. He’s better than that. One of my favourites in the Bantamweight division and it wasn’t that long ago he was sparking Aljamain Sterling with one of the most brutal knees you’ll ever see...

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The thought of that guy against Petr Yan makes my balls all tingly. He’s got to get past this fight if any of that is going to happen though and Rob Font isn’t exactly a cakewalk. He’s 17-4 coming off wins over Ricky Simon and Sergio Pettis. He also survived 3 rounds of John Lineker’s ‘Hands Of Stone’ a while back, so he’s not going away easily.

 

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Marcin Tybura vs Greg Hardy. Here we go again. Another stop on the Wifebeater Express. This is a pretty big step up for Hardy in fairness. Easily his stiffest test since the Volkov fight. Tybura isn’t exactly title level but he’s a big, tough old lump and is a bit of a gatekeeper to that upper level. He’s 20-6, on a 3 fight win streak and beat Ben Rothwell in his last fight. He’s also beat Arlovski and gone 5 rounds with Werdum. If Hardy knocks this guy out even I’ll have to begrudgingly give him credit. I won’t, of course, but it’d show us more than all his wins so far combined. Tybura has no business losing to this twat. He’s way more experienced and he should be durable enough to not just fold under Hardy’s opening volley. Love to see him squash this cretin. You never know with the Heavies though.

 

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Anthony Pettis vs Alex Morono. Who asked for this? Don’t get me wrong, it’ll probably be decent enough to watch, but it’s not a fight I saw coming or would’ve picked for Pettis myself. If you told me back in 2013/14 that Pettis would have fallen this far in a few years I’d have thought you want sectioning. He was legitimately looking like heading for being one of the best P4P in the sport back then but it’s fizzled out to where he’s now 23-10 and has lost 3 of his last 5. Still fun to watch though and he looked good against Donald Cerrone in their rematch in May. But that’s probably the point, Cerrone’s at the same stage in his career. The best days are in the past. You can still match Pettis up for some fun ‘name fights’ though. And that’s what I thought he’d be doing from now on but...I guess not. Morono is 18-6-0-1 and coming off a points win over Rhys McKee. He’s not a bad fighter or anything but I don’t know. I’d have much preferred seeing Pettis against a Robbie Lawler, Carlos Condit or Matt Brown type next. There’s plenty of those types of fights for Pettis at 170, against scrappers who are kind of at the same stage in their careers as him. Yet they go with this. I’m not in love with it.

 

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Pannie Kianzad vs Sijara Eubanks. Pure filler. I quite like Kianzad but she’s nothing special as a fighter. 13-5 and she is coming off a couple of wins but one of them was over Bethe Correia so hardly that impressive. And I’ve never got into Eubanks’ fights nor rated her too highly. She’s 6-5 now and lost to Ketlen Vieira in September. Nothing to see here really.

 

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Deron Winn vs Antonio Arroyo. Decent fight this. Winn started off well going 6-0 in his career and had the rub of basically being Daniel Cormier’s Mini Me. His progress has hit a brick wall now though. He’s lost his last 2 fights and last time out he was submitted by Gerald Meerschaert. He’s got some skills but I just don’t see it panning out for him long term. He’s a good wrestler but his T-Rex arms and being so short and stocky isn’t going to do him any favours at Middleweight. He’s like a sausage dog fighting Great Danes. Haven’t seen a ton of Arroyo but he’s mostly a BJJ guy, I think. 9-3 record with 8 finishes.

 

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Gillian Robertson vs Taila Santos. Decent little fight that’s came together due to both women’s original fights falling apart. Robertson was supposed to face Andrea Lee at UFC 256, Santos was meant to fight Montana De La Rosa on Dec 5th. The opponents dropped out, these two were left without dance partners so this lined up and here we are. Robertson isn’t amazing or anything but I usually find her pretty entertaining to watch because she’s always constantly going for the submission and, failing that, aggressive ground and pound. She’s 9-4 with 7 of her wins coming inside the distance. And Santos is a bit of a sleeper in the division for me. 16-1 with 12 finishes, 10 by KO. She’s ended fights with headkicks, elbows, body shots, the lot. Her only loss was a split decision but she came back with a win over Molly McCann in July.

 

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Tafon Nchukwi vs Jamie Pickett. No idea. I’m assuming these are both DWCS guys. Every newcomer seems to be these days. Looking these two up, Nchukwi is 26 years old from Cameroon. He’s only 4-0, all 4 came by knockout, 3 inside a round. I see he’s got a first round stoppage over William Knight who I was impressed with in his fight at UFC 253. I’m intrigued. He’s up against Jamie Pickett, 32 years old with an 11-4 record. Not much else out there on him.

 

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Jimmy Flick vs Cody Durden. This was meant to happen on the Dec 5th Fight Night originally. I’m going in blind here, never seen either of them. Flick fought on Dana’s Contender Series in September and won by submission. Seems he’s quite a submission specialist. He’s 15-5 with 13 of his wins coming via sub. He was also the LFA Flyweight champion, choking out the previous champ in just 38 seconds. Durden is 11-2-1 and went to a draw in his short notice UFC debut against Chris Gutierrez in August. He was on a 7 fight streak before that but against guys you’ve never heard of. I’m assuming this has been designed as a bit of a showcase for Flick but you never know.

 

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Christos Giagos vs Carlton Minus is a late switch up. Was meant to be Minus vs Rick Glenn but Glenn dropped out on fight week. Just filler really. Giagos is 17-8, nothing particularly special about him. His last fight was a points loss to Drakkar Klose at UFC 241 in August 2019. It was an absolute cracker though. A real forgotten gem that got overshadowed by bigger fights like Cormier vs Miocic, Diaz vs Pettis and Romero vs Costa on the same card. Giagos vs Klose is well worth a watch/rewatch if you get time though. Minus is 27, 10-2-0-1 record. Lost his UFC debut and nothing stands out about his record.

 

The end. 

 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Merry Christmas @wandshogun09

Definitely wasn’t the most exciting card we’ve had this year and there were a lot of decisions but I still mostly enjoyed it. Wonderboy had a strong showing in the main event. I really like Neal

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Oooohhh me aching bollocks. Please, please, can this whole show just be wrapped in bubble wrap until fight time? It'll break my little heart if this card splinters up. 

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Tafon Nchukwi is an absolute beast. I saw his fight against William Knight in CFFC and he beat him up good. We know what Knight can do now so it has made the victory all the more impressive. He then followed that win by steam rolling his opponent on DWCS. Dana loved him, he hits hard and is going to be fun to watch.

Drako Rodriguez is another fun guy off DWCS season 4. He had a fun scrap and was very lively and energetic in the cage. The one thing I remember about him is he's a huge WWE fan so by that logic he is one of us and we all need to get behind him.

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