Paid Members wandshogun09 Posted May 31, 2021 Paid Members Share Posted May 31, 2021 (edited) We’re just over a month out, I know I’m being hopelessly optimistic putting this up now but this is an absolutely killer card (in its current form anyway) and we should probably get talking about it. PPV MAIN CARDDustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor Gilbert Burns vs Wonderboy Thompson Tai Tuivasa vs Greg Hardy Irene Aldana vs Yana Kunitskaya Sean O’Malley vs Kris Moutinho ESPN PRELIMSMax Griffin vs Carlos Condit Niko Price vs Michel Pereira Ryan Hall vs Ilia Topuria Trevin Giles vs Dricus Du Plessis ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMSJennifer Maia vs Jessica Eye Omari Akhmedov vs Brad Tavares Zhalgas Zhumagulov vs Jerome Rivera Alen Amedovski vs Yaozong Hu I’ve made up that bout order for now but it’ll probably go something like that. You just know they’re sticking Hardy and O’Malley on the main card no matter what. I’ll edit when the order is made official. Can’t see much, if anything else, being added now. It’s pretty loaded as it is. Oh and BT Box Office want £20 for it. Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor 3. The trilogy. The rubber match. The war to settle the score. It sounds weird but as much as I’m looking forward to this fight, I’m also looking forward to putting this whole saga to bed. Feels like we’ve been talking about and hearing about these two forever now. It’ll be nice to see them matched with different opponents after this. All that said, this should be some fight. They haven’t bored us yet and given both of their styles, I can’t see why that would change now. I won’t go into their whole history together. It’s been done to death at this point and I covered all that in the UFC 257 opening post in January. In short, Conor knocked Dustin out back in 2014, they both went through highs and lows in the following 6 years before finally meeting again in January. As always with McGregor fights, the buildup was full of talk that he was looking amazing, sounding more motivated than ever, this was the “real Conor McGregor” and Dustin stood no chance. There were polls asking if Dustin would even last 60 seconds and the McG fans were predictably out in force and reading into every mannerism from Poirier to claim he was shitting himself. Dana was balls deep in believing in the mythical ‘Motivated Conor’ shite himself and telling everyone who’d listen that his boy was back and better than ever. Yes. After a round and a half of battle, with both men taking some big shots and Conor getting his leg kicked into knots, Poirier sparked him. It was beautiful. Just beautiful to see. It was a real good scrap while it lasted and McGregor certainly connected with some nasty stuff. But Poirier was more experienced than the kid Conor walloped in 2014, he could take the shots better now at Lightweight than he could back then as a Featherweight, and he fought pretty much the perfect fight. But how the narrative changed. Suddenly, the ‘Motivated Conor’ everyone was talking about pre-fight wasn’t motivated. The tale being spun this time was that he was rusty due to inactivity and he’d lost his ‘eye of the tiger’ because he’s so rich. None of that was being considered a factor going in, in fact it was the opposite. Here’s a quote from a Dana White interview with ESPN before the fight; “The questions are always, ‘This guy is so rich, how hungry is he?’ There’s nothing more exciting or fun than a motivated Conor McGregor, when his head is in the right place. And you can tell when he is and when he isn’t, and right now, he’s in. My conversations with Conor, I know when the real Conor is here and when the other Conor is here. Believe me when I tell you, the real Conor is here.” Then fast forward to the post-fight press conference; ”This is like Rocky III. When you get off a 310ft yacht, you know what I mean? You’re living that good life. It’s tough to be a savage when you’re living like he lives and have the money that he has. On his way up he was a young, hungry kid. Didn’t have any money and he wanted nice things, nice suits, nice cars, nice houses. He’s got everything he ever wanted.” Dana changes his tune more often than a jukebox. He can say what he wants but his face in the cage told the whole story. He couldn’t hide how gutted he was. It’d had been all nice and respectful between Dustin and Conor throughout the whole buildup, and Conor had agreed to make a huge donation to Dustin’s charity. It was all very friendly. And in the immediate fallout it was much the same. Within weeks the talk started of doing the third fight and it wasn’t long until it was confirmed for July. Still all respect between the two. Didn’t last long though. In April, McGregor was doing his thing on Twitter and predicting he’d knock out Poirier in the trilogy decider. Things quickly took a turn... Right. Of course, fans were falling over themselves to say this was all a work to sell the third fight. Because everything’s a work. MMA fans, like pro wrestling fans, can’t stand to think they might be being had over so they call everything a work. I don’t think this was though. Sure, the trash talk won’t hurt selling the fight and it adds a twist that wasn’t there for the lovey dovey promotion of their last fight. But I just think it was a bit of back and forth needle on Twitter that escalated. It happens. I don’t think Poirier would’ve wanted his charity caught up in all this negative bollocks and he even put out an apology after. Still, they’re clearly not as pally as they were a few months back and it should make for interesting viewing when the press conferences and media stuff start. If there’s one thing to take from the first fight in 2014, McGregor got under Poirier’s skin going in. Fake nice guy McGregor didn’t go that route for the rematch but I think we’ll be seeing a more heelish McGregor (AKA the real McGregor) this time. Maybe he gets Poirier wound up again. That’s the route I think Conor will take. Poirier got his gameplan spot on last time, if Conor can get him pissed off enough to abandon his gameplan and just scrap, it might improve Conor’s chances in this one. But 2014 Poirier isn’t 2021 Poirier. He’s matured as a fighter and as a man. I don’t think he’ll be as easy to rattle at all now as he was back then and now he’s got the confidence of knowing he can beat Conor. Needless to say, I’m Team Peahead 100% here. Hope he wipes McGregor right out. Can’t help feeling like I’m not gonna get what I want though. I’ve been too lucky this year. Between Poirier battering McGregor, Usman ironing out Masvidal and Canelo breaking Saunders’ face, I’ve had things my way a lot this year. It’s bound to go tits up soon. Hopefully not yet though. This card is 3 days before my birthday. Just let me have this. Gilbert Burns vs Wonderboy Thompson. This is an incredible fight. Only thing I don’t like is that I really don’t want either to lose. If pushed though, I kind of want Thompson to win this. That’s hard for me to say because I’m a big fan of Burns but he’s had his shot at Usman and as much as I want to see him get back in the mix, Wonderboy for me is one of the most interesting potential challengers for the champ now. Plus he’s 38 now. If this run doesn’t pan out, will he be up for regrouping and trying again at that point? He’s been at it a long time when you factor in his whole combat sports career. He’s been training since he was 3, for fuck’s sake! And started competing at 15. Still looks good and he put in stellar performances over Geoff Neal and Vicente Luque in his last two fights but you wonder if he loses here, does he just call it a day? Burns deserves a ton of credit for jumping right back into the deep end as well. He’s just lost to Usman. I can’t think of a trickier fight I’d want less immediately following that than Wonderboy. Burns is a nutcase though. The whole reason he climbed to the top at 170 so fast was because he kept jumping in and beating guys on short notice. Fantastic fight. I know Burns has kind of fallen in love with throwing hands but it’d probably be wise for him to go back to his bread and butter here and try to grapple. Wonderboy could make him look silly in a striking battle. If he beats Burns he’s got to be up there in that title shot convo, in my opinion. But there’s a bit of a queue forming now with Covington, Edwards etc. Tai Tuivasa vs Greg Hardy. You know who I’m rooting for. Quite like ‘Bam Bam’ and can’t stand Hardy. Pure babyface vs heel stuff here. There was a time not too long ago when I actually thought Tuivasa might be a legit prospect at Heavyweight but I think that was the Mark Hunt fan in me wanting him to become the reboot more than anything. He’s far from the worst in that circus of a division but I can’t see him offering much more than the odd midcard slobberknocker here and there. He’s 11-3 now with 10 first round knockouts. Hardy’s coming off his first loss (to Tybura in December) and it was beautiful. Haven’t even got much to say on him at this point other than I stand by my opinion that he was being hyped up as something he wasn’t and I just don’t see this supposed ‘huge potential’ in him at all. He’s powerful like 95% of Heavyweights are. Beyond that? I’ll give him this though, this isn’t an easy fight to take coming off your first loss. It’s a better style matchup for him than Tybura was, in that Tuivasa is likely gonna just stand with him. But it’s still a dangerous one as an attempted rebound. That’s as nice as I’m gonna be to the wifebeater. Fully hoping Big Tai sleeps the prick. Irene Aldana vs Yana Kunitskaya. Ugh. Can’t pretend I’m arsed about this. Why it’s on the main card over some far superior fights lower down, I don’t know. Quite like Aldana, to be fair. She’s had some good fights, including a belter in her Octagon debut with Leslie Smith. Solid striking. The left look she sparked Ketlen Vieira with was a beauty. She’s 12-6 now and coming off a 5 round decision loss to Holly Holm last October. She could do with making a statement here. It’s the matchup itself I don’t like though. Kunitskaya does nothing for me. Seems nice enough outside the cage, and she’s Thiago Santos’ Mrs so I’ll be nice just on the off chance the big man somehow ever stumbles upon this post. But I don’t recall a fight of hers I’ve ever enjoyed and I think she might drag Aldana into a bit of a snoozer. Hopefully not but my expectations aren’t high. Sean O’Malley vs Kris Moutinho. Right then. You know the story here. O’Malley was meant to fight Louis Smolka but Smolka pulled out. Within hours, the likes of Tim Elliott, Ricky Simon, Brian Kelleher and Cody Stamann were throwing their name in the hat to step in. Yet somehow we’ve ended up with newcomer Kris Moutinho in there. Bit weird but we’ll roll with it. I said before that I kind of feel like they’re babying O’Malley a bit. I said it even when he was set to fight Smolka. He came in with a lot of hype and he definitely seems to be one of the company’s chosen ones as far as who they’ve taken a liking to and see star potential in. He took that arse kicking from Marlon Vera last year and I don’t think they want that happening again. Call me a cynic but I think they’ll probably try to give him the smoothest path possible now until they can get him in the title mix. Not to say he doesn’t have any talent or potential. He does. He’s 13-1, exciting to watch, still only 26 years old. But the hype so far doesn’t match what he’s done for me. He beat a faded Thomas Almeida last time… I was hoping to see him matched with a Raoni Barcelos or Kyler Phillips type coming off that win, someone like that, another in-form guy on the rise. But they gave him Smolka, who I like but he’s so-so results-wise and doesn’t have great striking. Now he’s out and they decide against the guys already on the roster who are offering to step in and go with Moutinho. OK then. Don’t know anything about Moutinho really, this is the first I’m hearing of him. He’s 28 years old, 9-4 with 4 finishes. He’s clearly being brought in to give Suga an easy win but I’d love to see him fuck plans up and spark Skittles head. Max Griffin vs Carlos Condit. Good fight. Neither are knocking on Usman’s door but there’s still some decent fights to be made. Griffin’s gone a tad under appreciated, I think. He’s had some entertaining fights on the undercards over the last few years. He’s just never gotten over that hump. He lacks that bit extra to break into the next level and at 35, he’s unlikely to get there now. Tough guy though. He’s 17-8 now, he’s had his share of losses. But he’s coming into this one off back-to-back stoppage wins and knocked the bollocks out of Kenan Song last time out. Nice to see him get a name off the back of that. I’m rooting for Condit here though. One of the most exciting fighters in the history of the Welterweight division going right back to his WEC days, and even before that. That slump he went on the last few years was sad to see. For me, he’s never been quite the same since the war with Robbie Lawler in 2016. He has kind of pulled the nose up on his career of late though. He finally snapped that losing streak and he comes into this fight off points wins over Matt Brown and Court McGee. I think he’ll be alright as long as he’s in with those type of guys. But I’m still not sure how much he’s got left and if they chuck him in with one of the younger, ranked Welters he most likely gets wrecked at this stage. Still, this is sensible matchmaking for him and should be a solid, competitive fight. Niko Price vs Michel Pereira is gonna be absolute mayhem, isn’t it? If I could’ve chosen their next opponents myself, I’d have had them fight each other. It’s the most obvious booking ever. Two complete madmen locked in a cage together for 15 minutes. Can’t go wrong with this. Bit of a preview... This fight’s only just been announced and I’ve already seen some negative dickheads trying to piss on everyone’s chips, pointing out that Pereira’s fight with Diego Sanchez was cack. True but that was fat washed up Diego under the influence of that Fabia creep. More often than not, Pereira’s fantastic to watch. And Niko Price is just too aggressive and in your face for it to become a nothing happening dance-off. He’s gonna try to blast Pereira’s nose through the back of his head the whole 3 rounds. He’ll either succeed or run into some wacky counter and go to sleep. Can’t wait for this one. I think sometimes when fighters like this get popular, some mistake that as fans overrating their abilities. And maybe that’s why they feel the need to put a damper on it and try to kill the enthusiasm. Fuck that. Neither of these two are getting in the title picture. I don’t think anyone’s mistaking them as threats to Usman or anything like that. But not everyone can be a contender. There’s plenty of room for mad bastard midcard fights like this. Ryan Hall vs Ilia Topuria is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. Absolutely fascinated by this matchup. Such an intriguing clash of styles but that’s almost always the case when Ryan Hall’s fighting because he’s unlike anyone else on the roster. How do you even train for this bastard? If you go to the ground with him, you’re probably getting your kneecap mangled in some leg lock. Even if you don’t go to the ground with him, he’ll roll and snatch your leg anyway. It’s such a weird thing. He’s about as much of a ‘specialist’ as there is in MMA in 2021. His opponents all know what he wants to do but can’t seem to do much about it. Even when guys have managed to avoid the leg locks, Hall’s standup is so unconventional it throws them off their game and they end up hesitating either because of his awkwardness or the fear of leaving their leg out there for him to twist off. He’s 8-1 now, on an 8 fight winning streak but hasn’t fought since July 2019. He’s gained a rep as maybe the most avoided man in the game. Some of it has been injuries on his side but it’s been fairly common knowledge that the UFC have struggled to find him willing opponents. Topuria signed on the dotted line. There he is smashing up Damon Jackson in his last fight. He’s actually more of a grappler though. His background is in Greco-Roman wrestling and he’s a BJJ black-belt on top of that. That’s what really makes this interesting to me. Hall’s beat some good strikers and some strong grapplers but I don’t think he’s faced anyone with quite as complete a skillset who’s also young and in form like this. Topuria’s one of the best prospects in the Featherweight division. He really didn’t need to be taking on the MMA Rubik’s Cube that is Ryan Hall at this stage of his career. So full credit to him for stepping up when most didn’t fancy it. Interesting one. Very interesting. Can’t wait to see how it plays out. Trevin Giles vs Dricus Du Plessis. Might be worth checking out. Giles has been so-so in the UFC so far. Went 11-0 at the start of his career but ran into some trouble in the UFC, dropping back-to-back submission losses to Zak Cummings and Gerald Meerschaert in 2019. He’s since rebounded with wins over James Krause and Bevon Lewis but, I don’t know, those couple of losses seem like they kind of laid out the blueprint on him. Can’t help feeling like he’s going to struggle every time he comes up against a skilled and crafty grappler. And Du Plessis might be another who’s cut from that cloth. He’s South African, 15-2 and was both Middleweight and Welterweight champion for the EFC promotion in Africa. Made his UFC debut in October and knocked out Markus Perez in a round. Most of his wins have come by submission though so I can see that potentially being an issue for Giles again. If he stands with Giles it might be a tossup though. Jennifer Maia vs Jessica Eye. Yeah, not the best this. Never found either particularly entertaining to watch. Although Maia turned some heads last summer with her one round demolition job on Joanne Calderwood. Easily her most impressive performance, to the point she got a title shot in her next fight and there were actually a fair few twats on social media predicting she’d dethrone Valentina Shevchenko! Utterly mind boggling. Even Rogan was licking her arse the whole fight as well, while Val was schooling her, until it became clear and obvious that the belt wasn’t going anywhere and Maia wasn’t the Clubber Lang some were building her up to be. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not a terrible fighter. But she wasn’t on that level, that night or ever. OnlyFans Eye is back. Again, not the worst fighter but far from exciting to watch. I’m still baffled how her and Calvillo headlined a card last year. She’s coming off back-to-back losses so she needs to make something happen here. Or maybe she doesn’t if she’s had any luck selling foot pics for a grand a pop or whatever she was asking for. Omari Akhmedov vs Brad Tavares. Solid enough undercard filler this. Neither are world beaters or contenders but they’re both good fighters for the level they’re at. Akhmedov is a little tank. Just looks like he’s made up entirely of cement and bad intentions. He’s put together a very respectable 21-5-1 record but he’s never really wowed anyone or got that signature win to take him to the next level. Over the years he’s beat Ian Heinisch, Zak Cummings, Abdul Razak Alhassan and an old favourite of mine Tim Boetsch. Not bad going. But he’s stalled when he’s stepped up against a Chris Weidman or Gunnar Nelson. He is coming off arguably his most impressive performance to date though, submitting Tom Breese in January and looking good doing it. Tavares is kind of similar. 18-6 with some nice wins over the likes of Thales Leites, Nate Marquardt, Lorenz Larkin, Shoeface etc. But he’s lost whenever he’s mixed with the top boys. Tough as a well done Tesco steak though. He’s gone the distance with both Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero. Zhalgas Zhumagulov vs Jerome Rivera. Fuzzy memories on these two. Zhumagulov is from Kazakhstan, 32 years old with a record of 13-5. He’s got some decent wins over the likes of Tyson Nam, Tagir Ulanbekov and former UFC Flyweight contender Ali Bagautinov. But he’s dropped back-to-back points losses since signing with the UFC. I remember him looking alright, to be fair, just hasn’t got the results so far. Rivera’s 26 with a 10-5 record. He got in the UFC last year after winning on DWCS but he’s lost 3 straight since. Not much else to this. Both badly need a win but from bits I’ve seen I’d favour Double Z. Can see Rivera being a goner after this. Alen Amedovski vs Yaozong Hu. Partridge shrug. Know barely anything about Amedovski and Hu? More like Yaozong Who? Don’t recall him at all. Sherdog is my friend. Amedovski is Macedonian, 8-2 with 8 knockouts. He did fight in the UFC a couple of times in 2019, which is where I vaguely remember him from, but lost both times to Krzysztof Jotko and John Phillips. He’s been inactive ever since. Hu is 26 years old with a dazzling 3-2 record and lost to Cyril Asker and Rashad Coulter in the UFC back in 2017/18. No recollection of that. And again, he hasn’t been seen since. Where have they dug these two up from? And how have they ended up on a card like this? Proper random. Ridiculous card. Some shite at the bottom end but on the whole, this is one of my favourite cards of the year so far. So much to like about it. I wish it was on Fight Island though. Because 1) less pullouts and 2) it’d be on at a nice time for us. Oh well. Let’s go 💎 Edited July 2, 2021 by wandshogun09 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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