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UFC Vegas: Font vs Garbrandt - May 22 🇺🇸


Who wins and how?   

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Posted (edited)

Saturday 22nd May at the UFC APEX.

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ESPN+ MAIN CARD
Rob Font vs Cody Garbrandt

Carla Esparza vs Yan Xiaonan

Justin Tafa vs Jared Vanderaa

Felicia Spencer vs Norma Dumont

Ricardo Ramos vs Bill Algeo

Jack Hermansson vs Edmen Shahbazyan

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Ben Rothwell vs Chris Barnett 

Claudio Silva vs Court McGee

Bruno Gustavo Silva vs Victor Rodriguez

Josh Culibao vs Shayilan Nuerdanbieke

David Dvorak vs Juancamilo Ronderos

Damir Ismagulov vs Rafael Alves

 

Not the strongest card we’ve had this year, not the weakest. It’s certainly helped that they moved Hermansson vs Shahbazyan over to this one. There’s a bunch of stuff that’s just there and of little interest on this card but there’s some bits and bobs scattered around that make it worthwhile, I think.

 

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So Rob Font vs Cody Garbrandt headlines. Good fight, should be exciting however long it lasts. Fully on Team Font here. Fuck Garbrandt. I’ve never got on board with being a fan of him. At first kind of irrationally because he was Team Alpha Male and that team used to annoy me anyway. Then I kind of warmed to him when he won the title and dedicated it to his friend, the kid with learning difficulties. His performance against Dominick Cruz was one of the best I’ve seen in a UFC title fight as well. To this day (Deontay Wilder©). But then that whole feud with Dillashaw and their stint as TUF coaches revealed him to be the knuckleheaded sack of shit twat I originally suspected he was and I soured on him for good. When you make TJ Dillashaw seem half likeable, you’re clearly a proper bellend. I was chuffed when Dillashaw and Munhoz sparked him.

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Oh yes.

He bounced back with a huge KO against Raphael Assuncao last June and everyone lost their minds and declared him ‘BACK!’ I’m not having it. He’s heavy handed and throws with reckless abandon. Sometimes that’ll pay off. Still not convinced he’s fixed the holes in his game though. His chin won’t have gotten better and I don’t think there’s much more to his game than what we’ve already seen. I don’t think he can replicate that Cruz performance again. It’s not the way he naturally fights and I think that was as much down to the element of surprise as anything else. Nobody expected him to fight like that, least of all Cruz. The Bantamweight division has gone from strength to strength in the years since that Cruz fight as well. Most of the current top 135ers have the venom in their punches to hurt Cody and the aggression to drag him into a firefight. Which often hasn’t ended well for him. Good.

If you want another reason to dislike the cretin, here;

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Fucker breeds pitbulls and has their ears cut off. Which is often a sign that they’re being bred to fight. There’s no real reason to do it and it’s painful and can lead to all sorts of problems for the dogs. Fuck this piece of shit. Watching him get knocked silly in that gif there just got even more satisfying.

Enter Rob Font.

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He’s a guy that’s gone overlooked really but he’s no pushover. 18-4 record, 3 of his losses were against really good fighters and he has wins over Sergio Pettis, Thomas Almeida, Matt Schnell and he stopped Marlon Moraes in his last fight. I’d love to see him absolutely wreck Garbrandt here. Can’t say I’m confident it happens though sadly. As much as I’ve slagged Garbrandt off here, he is a dangerous fighter. I wouldn’t write off the possibility of him catching Font and putting him away. But Font can bang a bit himself and he’s never been knocked out before. Hopefully his chin holds up and he irons this prick out.

 

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Carla Esparza vs Yan Xiaonan. Meh. No problem with the matchmaking, it’s a logical enough fight to make. It’s the Esparza Effect though. Just never look forward to her fights. Only times I enjoyed watching her were when Alexa Grasso dragged her to the only FOTN she’ll ever have and, of course, the mauling from Joanna Jedrzejczyk was spectacular. Not a fan. Fair’s fair though, she’s been quite successful. She was the first ever UFC Strawweight champion and she’s actually on a strong run at the moment. She’s currently on 4 fight streak with wins over Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson in her last two. Some of the decisions were a bit iffy from what I remember but they’ve officially gone down as Ws and that’s all that matters in the end. Like it or not, she’s got to be close to a title shot again now. And given that she’s got a win over the current champ Rose Namajunas, she can make a solid case if she keeps winning.

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As much as I dislike Esparza, it would kind of be a cool little story. Esparza vs Namajunas was the first Strawweight title fight, the TUF finals and Esparza won by submission. Nearly 7 years later and now Rose is champ. Xiaonan is someone who’s gone largely under the radar but you look at her record and she’s on a roll. She’s 13-1-1, hasn’t lost since 2010 and she’s beat Claudia Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Angela Hill in her last 3. At one point there was some talk of her fighting Joanna Jedrzejczyk but it came to nothing and here we are. At first glance this probably looks odd as co-main but given both women’s recent form, I think this might be a #1 contender fight.

 

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Justin Tafa vs Jared Vanderaa. Heavyweight slobberknocker alert. Maybe. Neither of these look like they’ll go far. Still could be fun for what it is though. In fairness to Tafa, I enjoyed the shit out of his last fight against Carlos Felipe in January. He lost by split decision but it was great fun. Just two big lumps trading leather the whole 15 minutes.

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It understandably got overshadowed because Max Holloway went and put on a masterclass against Calvin Kattar the same night but it was a really entertaining scrap in a division that’s known for being hit or miss. Literally. Tafa’s 4-2 now with all his wins coming by knockout. Vanderaa is 11-5 with 10 inside the distance. Made his UFC debut in February and got put away by Sergey Spivak. He didn’t look good from my vague recollection. Hopefully Tafa can drag him into a bombfest.

 

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Felicia Spencer vs Norma Dumont. Don’t know what the score is here. I read a few weeks back that the UFC was sacking the women’s Featherweight division off and this would be the last fight at 145 in the UFC. But there were conflicting reports so I don’t know if this is it or the division will stick around. Whatever. It’s an OK fight, nothing special. Spencer is Canadian, a BJJ black-belt with a 8-2 record and her only losses coming against Amanda Nunes and Cris Cyborg. And she somehow went the distance with both! Can’t question her toughness. She’s beat everyone else she’s fought convincingly but I don’t know most of the names. Dumont is Brazilian, 30 years old with a record of 5-1. She came into the UFC as a Featherweight and got stopped by Megan Anderson in her debut. She then dropped to Bantamweight for her next fight, but didn’t really drop to Bantamweight. She beat Ashlee Evans-Smith but missed weight by 3.5lbs. Then her next fight got cancelled because she missed weight again. By 3.5lbs again. Not good. She’s back at 145 for this one. I’m not surprised she couldn’t make 135 though.

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As Sir Mix-A-Lot said - “You can do side bends or sit-ups, but please don’t lose that butt”. This is Wand’s Bum To Watch! Yeah, it’s a nothing fight but what can I say? I like big butts. I cannot lie.

 

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Ricardo Ramos vs Bill Algeo. This might well be the sleeper on the card actually. Ramos is 14-3 with his most memorable UFC moment being his spinning elbow KO against Aiemann Zahabi back in 2017...

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Not quite on the level of Jiri Prochazka’s on Reyes the other week but pretty sweet all the same. Closest we’ll probably ever come to seeing Ariel Helwani get knocked out as well. Sadly. Ramos also submitted Eduardo Garagorri (who I liked the look of going in) in a round in late 2019. He looks pretty good, just hasn’t yet been able to string together a consistent run of wins. Algeo could be the perfect dance partner for something really exciting here. 14-5 with 9 finishes. I’ve only seen him fight twice, just his 2 UFC outings, but I like him already. He lost his debut against Ricardo Lamas in August but it was a cracking fight that exceeded my expectations. Algeo took it on short notice as well. He beat Spike Carlyle in his next fight. Should be well worth a look this.

 

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Jack Hermansson vs Edmen Shahbazyan is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** here. Originally scheduled for UFC 262 but got pushed back a week for some reason. Great fight. Really intrigued by it. Hermansson’s become a bit of a favourite of mine in recent years. He seemed to come from nowhere when he went on that little run and beat Jacare. The quick heel hook on Gastelum wasn’t too shabby either. He’s got serious skills, especially on the ground. But he’s had some setbacks. He got beat up pretty good over 5 rounds by Marvin Vettori last time out. I felt bad for Hermansson there though because he got well and truly dicked about with opponent changes going in. He might’ve lost anyway but the circumstances didn’t help. It’s the Shahbazyan factor that interests me most here. He came into the UFC as one of the hottest prospects and went 11-0 with 10 first round finishes at the start of his career. 5 of them in under a minute. He’s a Ronda Rousey protégé and it was a very Ronda Rousey like record. It all came to a crashing halt in August though, when Derek Brunson big brothered him and stopped him in 3 rounds. It was an eye opener but nothing to be ashamed of. Brunson’s no joke and Shahbazyan’s only 23. He’s got time. But I find it a bit odd that his very next fight, his rebound, is against Hermansson. Not sure that’s a good idea but we’ll see. Always interesting to see how a fighter bounces back from their first loss. For Shahbazyan’s sake, hopefully his attempt to rebound doesn’t also mirror Ronda’s.

 

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Ben Rothwell vs Chris Barnett just got added this week. Rothwell was originally booked against Philipe Lins in a fight nobody was counting the days to. This is a bit of an improvement. Rothwell’s been around forever. One of the last big lugs standing from his era of HWs. He turns 40 this year and this’ll be his 52nd MMA fight. In fairness to him, he hasn’t been getting wrecked out there. He hasn’t been finished since 2013 and you have to go all the way back to the Cain fight in 2009 to see him getting put away with strikes. He’s a tough sod if nothing else. Crazy to think that he once was on the verge of being a contender. This is a man who knocked out Alistair Overeem and submitted Josh Barnett. It’s all tarnished though because he got done by USADA not long after those wins and he hasn’t looked quite the same since his return from the suspension. He’s 2-4 in his last 6 and the 2 wins were a split decision over OSP (who’s really a 205er) and a TKO over last legs Stefan Struve. Chris ‘Huggy Bear’ Barnett stepping in makes this a bit more interesting. He’s 34 years old, 21-6 with 16 knockouts, former Island Fights Heavyweight champ, whatever that’s worth. Hasn’t beat a who’s who but it’s a better record than a lot of Heavyweights have. Again, whatever that’s worth.

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Barnett with a couple of fans there.

Haven’t seen a lot of him but I’ve caught snippets over the last few years and at the very least, he’s an entertainer and a character. Which the division isn’t exactly heaving with currently. He’s put himself about as well. As well as MMA he’s dabbled in Boxing, Kickboxing and there’s even a video of him having a submission grappling ‘Superfight’ with Yoel Romero (SPOILER - Yoel won, easily). He comes into this fight on a 6 fight winning streak. 

 

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Claudio Silva vs Court McGee. Not that fussed really despite enjoying watching both in the past. Just not feeling it. At one point I really thought Silva might be a potential player at 170. He’s 14-2 but until recently he’d never been legitimately beaten. He ‘lost’ his MMA debut in 2007 by DQ due to an illegal elbow. He then went on a 14 fight winning streak and even scored a split decision win over Leon Edwards in the UFC in 2014. On top of that he’s a BJJ black-belt and had finished 11 of his 14 wins. His problem has been his spells of inactivity. He was gone 4 years after the Edwards win with a series of injuries. In hindsight that couldn’t have came at a worse time. He’s had a few wins since but lost to James Krause last time out and he’s 38 years old now. He’s still got the skills but it feels like the moment has passed now. Shame really. McGee is a tough customer, goes all the way back to the Chuck vs Tito season of TUF, which he won. He’s had his moments over the years, most notably a 2013 points win over Robert Whittaker. But he’s been wildly inconsistent in recent years. He’s gone 2-6 in his last 8 and has lost his last 3 on the trot now. Another loss here could well be it for him.

 

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Bruno Gustavo Silva vs Victor Rodriguez. Might be fun actually. Silva had a great showing in his last fight in March. He’d gone winless in his first 3 UFC appearances and was looking down the barrel of getting the sack with another loss. He came out like a man possessed in March, battered JP Buys, got the stoppage, bagged a POTN bonus and saved his job. Then nearly took out the security guard on the way to the back.

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That’s a happy man right there. Let’s see if he can build on it. Rodriguez is 5-3 with all his wins coming by knockout. Only time I’ve seen him fight was the Adrian Yanez fight and Yanez nearly beheaded him with a big headkick. He looked game before that though.

 

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Josh Culibao vs Shayilan Nuerdanbieke. Not a clue on these two. Culibao is 26 years old, Hawaiian with a 8-1 record. He’s fought a couple of times in the UFC already but hasn’t exactly got off to the best of starts. He got stopped by Jalin Turner in his debut, then went to a draw with Charles Jourdain in his next fight. So he’s looking to taste victory for the first time in the big leagues. Never heard of this Shayilan cat. He’s 17-6 with 12 finishes according to his Sherdog profile but there’s not much info there on him. They don’t even have his age listed.

 

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Damir Ismagulov vs Rafael Alves. Two guys I haven’t seen enough of really. I know I’ve definitely seen Ismagulov but I can’t remember much about him. Looking up his record though, he could potentially be a bit of a darkhorse. He’s 19-1, former M-1 Global Lightweight champ and was trained by Alexander Shlemenko. He comes into this fight on a 14 fight winning streak and beat Thiago Moises in his last fight. He’s been on the shelf since 2019 for some reason so that could be a factor here maybe. Alves is making his debut here after a couple of delays. He’s got a record of 19-9 with 14 finishes and was on DWCS over the summer. He’s won his last 5 and stopped his last 3 opponents.

 

And that’s that. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Posted (edited)

Ben Rothwell/Chris Barnett has been added to this. 

Great to see Barnett finally get to the UFC. Proper cult hero amongst MMA fans. He always weighed 300lb+ so was never eligible to fight in the UFC, guess he went on diet. He's only 34 so may have a few good years in him.

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Edited by Egg Shen
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Raulian Paiva’s out of his fight with David Dvorak due to a bad weight cut. So some newcomer called Juancamilo Ronderos stepped in, on less than 24 hours notice. He missed weight and the UFC are fining him 20%. I’m all for weight missers getting punished but it’s a bit harsh that. A guy coming in on less than a day’s notice, he’s doing them a favour, and they’re fining him. He’s probably only getting a few grand as well.

Also from the weigh in...

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Related to Garbrandt being a Pitbull breeder, he spoke about it briefly at the presser and it sounded like he treats the dogs well, he even spoke about wishing he could be locked in the cage with other dog breeders who dont treat the dogs properly. He didnt go into much more but you got the sense he was a huge dog lover, but is is it bad to breed Pitbulls if it's done correctly?

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3 hours ago, Egg Shen said:

is is it bad to breed Pitbulls if it's done correctly?

Of course not. My problem isn’t with him breeding dogs in itself. But the ear cropping isn’t necessary, it’s purely cosmetic done to make the dogs look more intimidating, it’s painful for the dog, there’s no legit reason to do it and it’s a red flag and often an indicator that the dogs are being bred to fight. There’s a reason it’s banned in a lot of places. 

And he’s not gonna admit at a press conference if he is having them fight. I’m sure Gary Glitter probably said he treats children well when he got arrested as well. You wanna be in his gang? 

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nah, im good.

You clearly know a little more about the process than i do, which is precisely nothing.

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I don’t know a ton about it myself but I know enough that I find it unsettling. I’m an animal lover anyway, especially dogs. But my wife’s best friend growing up ending up working with animals for years and some of the horror stories she’d tell me about animal abuse she’d seen were awful and fucking infuriating. 

Maybe Cody isn’t actually involved in any dog fighting himself and he’s just having the ears cut because that’s the look that ‘sells’ but that’s almost just as bad for me. It’s all part of that fucked up culture and needs to stop. How could anyone look at these little faces and take them somewhere to chop their ears off? It baffles me how anyone could do it. 

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Calling it “a fresh fade” can fuck right off as well. Just 100% unnecessary. I hope Font crumbles whatever’s left of his chin tonight. 

Anyway. On a lighter note, Chris Barnett fights tonight! 

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28 minutes ago, jimufctna24 said:

Cody is that daft that I genuinely wouldn't put it past him. 

Garbrandt: How many times did I fuck you up in practice?

Dillashaw: Zero motherfucker.

Garbrandt: Exactly!

And that’s a legit quote. 

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Nice. Wasn’t expecting that.

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There’s my shite predictions. Don’t know if it’s wishful thinking but I’m feeling the Font and Xiaonan wins in the main and co-mains. Font’s not a well known name but I think he might have the game to give Cody problems. He’s a good striker, nice jab, moves well, has some power, isn’t usually the type to just mindlessly stand and eat shots to land one back. I’m thinking, and hoping, he catches Garbrandt in the exchanges. There’s always a risk though and I think Garbrandt has the bigger punch.

Got a feeling Rothwell’s going to spoil the fun before it gets going with Huggy Bear’s debut. Big Ben’s a bit of a relic but it’s a tough first fight in for Barnett, especially on short notice.

Hermansson vs Shahbazyan is the trickiest to call on the card for me. Shahbazyan’s always a threat early on and I won’t be surprised at all if he wallops The Joker here. But on paper, Hermansson’s got more tools and I can’t help but think this isn’t the best matchmaking for Shahbazyan coming off his first loss. 

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Not a bad show last night.

Shabazyan and Hermansson was a good little scrap, I thought Edmund was going to win this clearly after round 1 but then something must have lit a fire under Hermansson after round 1 because he suddenly stopped messing around and just dominated for the next 2 rounds. It was a good battle, I hope they don't lose faith in Edmund completely, he's very exciting to watch. I think he should take a step down in competition and fight an unranked guy for his next fight but I'd hate to see him demoted to the prelims. He's still young and has bags of potential.

I was happy to see Court McGee get the win, he was in the shape of his life last night, hopefully they pair him up with other guys on their way out and not feed him to any up and coming no name killers. I once met Court McGee at a show in Vegas, he was a very nice chap. Very soft spoken and unassuming. 

Tafa vs Vanderaa was a bloody fight alright! How such a small cut could gush out so much blood, it was crazy. Fantastic war.

I must have probably been in the minority but I was hoping Cody was going to win, Rob Fonts performance was faultless, unfortunately for him he won't be getting a title shot any time soon as Petr Yan is next followed by Dillashaw/Sandman, if you are Rob Font do you sit it out? Or risk fighting a guy outside the top 5. He doesn't have the name value to warrant sitting it out so he kind of needs to have another fight to stay active and stay relevant.

I'm not sure where Cody goes from here, hopefully he rebuilds his name value. If TJ loses he could always chase that rematch and say that he lost to him twice because he was pumped full of EPOs.

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