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UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs Rodriguez - Jul 17

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Posted (edited)

Just over a month away. It’s not being talked about because of the stupidly stacked 264 card the week before but this is a pretty strong card in its own right. There hasn’t even been a confirmed location for this event yet, but I’m assuming it’ll be Vegas. 


Max Holloway vs Yair Rodriguez

Islam Makhachev vs Thiago Moises

Miesha Tate vs Marion Reneau

Amir Albazi vs Ode Osbourne

Amanda Lemos vs Montserrat Conejo

Mateusz Gamrot vs Jeremy Stephens 

Daniel Rodriguez vs Abubakar Nurmagomedov

Billy Quarantillo vs Gabriel Benitez

Phil Hawes vs Deron Winn

Guram Kutateladze vs Don Madge

Rodolfo Vieira vs Dustin Stoltzfus

Miles Johns vs Anderson Dos Santos

Alan Baudot vs Rodrigo Nascimento

Francisco Figueiredo vs Malcolm Gordon

Khalid Taha vs Sergey Morozov 


Good stuff. As always, this isn’t the finalised bout order so take no notice. I’m going off how that Marcel Dorff bloke has it listed currently for now. Bunch of fights on there I’m not bothered about but there’s plenty I like as well, some prospects, a familiar face returning and a belting main event. What more can you really want from a Fight Night?



Max Holloway vs Yair Rodriguez is your 5 round Featherweight main event. What a fuck of a fight this is! Don’t think anyone really saw this coming just because Yair’s been off the scene for so long. But Holloway’s got to fight someone and with Volkanovski and Ortega tied up for most of the rest of the year, Zombie booked and Zabit still out battling health issues, this was definitely the best option. Absolutely love this pairing.


Holloway’s always awesome to watch. Easily one of my favourite fighters in the game. I was a fan back when he was just a 21 year old up and comer on the prelims so it’s been great to watch his climb over the years. One of the best Featherweights in MMA history. Wins over Jose Aldo twice, Frankie Edgar, Brian Ortega, Anthony Pettis, Charles Oliveira, Cub Swanson etc. It goes on. He’s been shut out of the title picture for the time being, he’s 0-2 to Volk. But it feels like just a matter of time until he’s getting another crack at the gold. He’s too good not to. Usually, being 0-2 to the champ would end your chances of getting a third fight but there was enough debate about the decision in the second fight last July that you could easily sell a trilogy. I personally had Volk winning and I’m not on board with the cries of robbery that still get trotted out today. But it was definitely closer than their first meeting and I’d be up for a third fight at some point. And if Holloway keeps putting in performances like his last one, it’ll be impossible to deny him another go. He completely schooled and dismantled Calvin Kattar back in January. And this was one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen in a fight.


In the midst of battle, with blood and sweat and snot flying about, he looks over at the commentators while dodging Kattar’s punches, and says “I’m the best boxer in the UFC”. There’d been some talk from Kattar going in that he was a better boxer and how he was Holloway’s senior and Holloway was just a ‘freshman’. Basically implying that he was gonna big brother Max. It didn’t go down well.

“Calvin was putting out a narrative that he’s older. There’s freshmen and then there’s freshmen that will come up and take your girlfriend. I’m one of those freshmen that will take your girlfriend.” - Max Holloway

Holloway was out to prove a point that night and Kattar paid the price. He’s been out ever since with no word on when his next fight will be. And that’s probably wise because he took a horrible beating that you really don’t want to be rushing back from.


Yair Rodriguez is almost a mystery at this point though. Undeniably talented but he’s always disappearing. He’ll fight, look great, then you don’t see him for a year. It’s weird. He had so much promise coming off winning TUF: Latin America years ago and was on a tear for a while after that. He got battered by Frankie Edgar in 2017 and since then he’s been in and out and doing his disappearing acts. He fought once in 2018, twice in 2019, and hasn’t fought at all since. It’s weird. It feels like he’s wasting a lot of his potential. He’s still only 28, he’s got some time. But it’s weird. He can’t seem to get out of his own way. Some of it was genuine injuries but then there was other shite going on. Like that time he briefly got sacked because he supposedly turned down every fight the UFC we’re offering. Even his most recent sabbatical, he was being lined up to face Zabit last summer but it got scrapped twice on his side. The first time he injured his ankle, fair enough. The second time though, USADA gave him a 6 month suspension because they couldn’t find him when they tried to test him and he didn’t tell them where he was. Just…shit like that. He also had that weird fight with Jeremy Stephens where he gouged Stephens’ eye causing a No Contest, celebrated like he won then threw a tantrum at Bisping when he tried to interview him. He’s a strange one, Yair. But when he’s on, there’s few in MMA as exciting to watch.


Who can forget that? Knocking out the Korean Zombie. From that angle, while moving backwards, at 4:59 of the 5th round, in a fight he was losing, on the UFC’s 25th Anniversary show! Just a crazy finish. Maybe the best knockout in UFC history for me. The knockout itself is mad enough but when you factor in everything else I’ve noted there, it’s barmy. One second to go! He also looked great in the Stephens rematch in his last fight. But like I said, he hasn’t been seen since. Hopefully he gets his shit together soon and stays more active. He seems a bit of a nob but it’d be a shame to see him squander his prime years. I think he’s catching a beating here either way though. Even if Yair had been fighting 3 times a year for the past few years and was sharp as a tack, I wouldn’t fancy him against Holloway. But coming off 2 years on the shelf? It’ll be an exciting fight no matter what but I can see this ending up similar to Holloway’s masterclasses against Ortega and Kattar. I reckon Yair will probably wilt under the constant pressure and the million punches coming at him and he’ll probably piss off for another 2 years after. Great fight though. Let’s just hope Yair makes it to the cage this time.



Islam Makhachev vs Thiago Moises. Bit of an odd piece of matchmaking for me this. Makhachev’s kind of fallen into that same spot Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush were in for years. He’s 19-1, on a 7 fight winning streak and he really appears to be coming into his own now. But his progress has been so slow and he never seems to get much higher up the ladder. Lightweight is just so deep that there always seems to be a logjam of killers who can’t get a look in as far as the title mix goes. Makhachev’s just gonna have to keep plugging away and stacking up the wins like those guys did and hope he gets that signature breakthrough win that elevates him to that next level. He was all set to headline against Rafael Dos Anjos in November but he had to pull out due to staph infection. So it’s not like there’s been a conspiracy against him to hold him back or anything. The RDA opportunity falling through was just bad luck and shite timing. He’ll get back there as long as he keeps winning. He looked phenomenal in his last fight.


He submitted Drew Dober on the main card of the stacked UFC 259 PPV in March. Easily the biggest spotlight that’s been shone on him yet and he delivered. I was hoping after that that we’d get that RDA fight rescheduled, preferably as a Fight Night main event over 5 rounds. Don’t know why it wasn’t, to be honest. RDA isn’t booked. But they’ve gone with this Moises fight for some reason. Don’t get me wrong, Moises is a solid fighter in his own right. 15-4 and beat Alexander Hernandez, Bobby Green and Michael Johnson in his last 3. But it feels like another step sideways for Makhachev, if not a step backwards considering he was supposed to face RDA and just beat Dober convincingly. It’s a good fight and at least they’re keeping Makhachev active. Hopefully he gets another impressive win and can bag a fight with one of the names of the division later in the year. I’m at the point now where I want to see him put to the test over 5 rounds.



Miesha Tate vs Marion Reneau. Well look who’s back. Retirements never last, do they? This is one return I didn’t really expect to see though. Tate’s been gone about 4 and a half years now and in that time she’s had a lot going on. She went to work with ONE as their Vice President for a good while. She also finally got rid of that little scrote Bryan Caraway and has since had 2 kids with MMA fighter Johnny Nunez. Anytime I saw anything about her she seemed pretty busy and content with her post-fighting life. But she’s coming back. She spoke about her decision to fight again back in March;

“Time is very valuable and I just feel in my heart, I want to do this. I don’t have to do this. Nobody’s twisting my arm. This is 100% because I’m in the best place I’ve ever been and I want to do this. I literally had to hunt Dana down. He blew off, like, my first five Instagram messages. It was really starting to piss me off. Finally I sat down with him and had that face-to-face conversation. He was kind of like, “You’re not hurting for money?” I was like, “No, I’m not. I’m actually making really good money right now with ONE Championship. This is because I want to come back and fight”.

The reason I left the sport wasn’t because I was physically incapable. It was just because I had so many other things in my personal life. I was struggling with depression. I was having a really difficult time. I just didn’t have it to give anymore. I didn’t have the extra. I knew that, and that’s a very ugly place to be. So I needed to step away. What I was able to do under those circumstances really makes me believe in myself. What could I do under the right circumstances?” - Miesha Tate

She’s talking a good game and saying all the right things. I don’t know though. 4+ years away is a lifetime in MMA. She’ll be 35 in August so I get why she wants to have one last go now. It’s now or never really. But that layoff is huge and, whether it was personal problems like she says or what, she lost to Raquel Pennington in her last fight in 2016. It seemed like the right time to stop. I hope she does well. People only really talk about her looks, and I get that. But it’s often forgotten she was tough as fuck. She had some of my favourite fights when women’s MMA was still growing and becoming a thing. The Julie Kedzie war, the comeback against Marloes Coenen, the Cat Zingano scrap, obviously the Ronda Rousey fights, the comeback against Holly Holm to win the title. Former UFC champ, former Strikeforce champ etc. She’s done a lot. It’d be nice to see her go out on a positive note. I never have a good feeling about these comebacks though. Even if she’s doing it for all the right reasons, it might just be too late. She’s been talking about having “the style to beat Amanda Nunes” recently. It’s gonna end in tears. Nunes has only gotten better since crushing her at UFC 200. We’ll see how this goes. There’s a reason they’ve given her Marion Reneau as her return opponent. She’ll be 44 years old by the time they step into the cage and she’s 9-7-1. She is a BJJ black-belt and has had the odd moment in the UFC over the years, submissions over Sara McMann and Jessica Andrade being the highlights. But she’s clearly finishing up now. She’s lost her last 4 in a row and she’s held down a job as a teacher throughout her MMA career. Fair play to her for that but she’s still essentially a part time MMA fighter. The UFC matchmakers are clearly being cautious with this Tate return, and rightly so really. If she looks bad against someone like Reneau here, they’ll almost certainly pull the plug. They’re testing the waters. If Tate’s still got it and she’s in as good a place as she says then she really should be winning this. But all bets are off really. Don’t know what to expect.



Amir Albazi vs Ode Osbourne. I’ll be checking this out. Been impressed with Albazi so far. He’s 14-1 with 12 finishes, mostly submissions. He’s only had two fights in the UFC so far but I thought he looked really good in both. He submitted Malcolm Gordon in his debut last July, then decisioned Zhalgas Zhumagulov in January. Yeah, he hasn’t been beating killers but he’s one to keep an eye on, I reckon. Osbourne AKA ‘The Jamaican Sensation’ is 9-3-0-1 and coming off a 26 knockout victory over Jerome Rivera in February. This is his Flyweight debut.



Amanda Lemos vs Montserrat Conejo. Actually looking forward to this. I didn’t take much notice of Lemos until recently but she fucking battered Livia Renata Souza in her last fight. First round TKO and Souza was a former Invicta champ and had never been stopped before. Lemos is currently 9-1-1 and on a 3 fight winning streak. Conejo is where most of my interest lies here though. She’s 10-1, from Mexico, trains at Kings MMA. She stepped in on short notice in March and beat Cheyanne Buys on points. Wasn’t the most exciting fight but Conejo seemed to have a bit of a wild and crazy side to her that I got a kick out of. There was talk after the fight that she spat at Buys right as the fight was ending but it looked to me like she just got in her face and was mouthing off. Still a bit twatty but whatever. Got a feeling she’s gonna provide some nutty moments. Beyond that though, she does have skills too and was a 7 time national champion wrestler.



Mateusz Gamrot vs Jeremy Stephens is this card’s ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** and should be a corker. Can’t wait for it. Gamrot was signed by the UFC last year and came in with a fair bit of hype and expectations. He was undefeated at 17-0-0-1, one No Contest, was a double champ at both Lightweight and Featherweight in the KSW promotion in Poland, trains at ATT etc. His UFC debut didn’t go to plan though and he dropped a close split decision against late replacement Guram Kutateladze. It was a really good fight, wasn’t like Gamrot looked bad or anything. It just didn’t go his way. He came back in style in April though, knocking out Scott Holtzman…


His opponent here is no stranger to sending opponents into unconsciousness. Jeremy Stephens has kind of become more of a meme in recent years thanks to Conor McGregor hitting him with a “who the fook is that guy?” at that press conference years ago. Long time fans know though, he’s one of the hardest hitting fighters in the history of the game in the lighter weight classes. Highlight reel knockout after highlight reel knockout. He’s basically the 145/155 version of Paul Daley. The uppercut on Dos Anjos is the one that probably gets talked about the most but the Dennis Bermudez one in 2015 is the first one I always think of.


It got overshadowed because Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald went out and tried to kill each other straight after but it was a beautiful KO. Stephens is 28-18-0-1 now and hasn’t won a fight since early 2018. He’s definitely on the slide but the thing with power punchers is they’re never out of the fight until it’s over. Even in a slump like he’s in now, if he connects with your jaw you’re probably hitting the deck. I don’t care who you are. On current form you’d have to favour Gamrot but it’ll be fun to watch and Stephens will either knock his head off or get battered trying.



Daniel Rodriguez vs Abubakar Nurmagomedov. Could be decent. Rodriguez doesn’t play around. He’s 14-2 and, aside from a decision loss to Nicolas Dalby in November, he’s been on quite a run. He was on a 9 fight streak before that loss, including a submission over Tim Means and a knockout over Dwight Grant. He beat Mike Perry after the Dalby loss as well so he’s back on track now. Never thought much about Abubakar Nurmagomedov. He’s 16-3-1 and at one time was a National Combat Sambo champion in Russia. But he’s done little of note in MMA so far. Sounds harsh but the only reason anyone knows who he is at all is because he’s Khabib’s cousin. Maybe there’s better to come but he’s easily been the least impressive of the Nurmagomedov lot that I’ve seen.



Billy Quarantillo vs Rafael Benitez. Tidy little fight actually. Quarantillo was originally scheduled to face Herbert Burns here but Burns just withdrew the other day. Benitez is a pretty good substitute though. Bit of a veteran, been in the UFC since 2014 and is 22-8 overall. He’s had his share of losses but he’s coming into this fight off a win by brutal knee to the body over Justin Jaynes in December.


I got winded just looking at it. Should be a good little scrap this. Billy Q goes at a fast pace and I really enjoyed his fights with Spike Carlyle and his knockout over Kyle Nelson. He came up on the wrong end of a decision against Gavin Tucker last time out though so he’s on the rebound here.



Phil Hawes vs Deron Winn. This one kind of intrigues me. Hawes is on quite a streak. He’s 11-2 with 9 finishes and has won his last 7 on the trot. He’s been a busy boy over the last year as well. Scored a quick knockout on DWCS last September and got in the UFC off the back of that. He’s since won 3 fights. He destroyed Jacob Malkoun in just 18 seconds on the Khabib vs Gaethje card, then got decisions over Nassourdine Imavov in February and Kyle Daukaus in May. Not sure how far he can go but he looks the part so far. Winn’s a different kind of test though. A little fireplug with a serious wrestling game. We haven’t seen Hawes deal with that style yet. Winn’s a funny one though. He’s got a style that could and should give a lot of guys problems but he’s just not physically big enough to make it work at 185, in my opinion. But he’s kind of in no man’s land because, while he’s too short for Middleweight, he’s probably too stocky and thick to be trying to cut down to Welterweight. He’s 7-2 and he’s had some decent fights. I’m just not convinced he can do a whole lot in any weight class because he’s built like a bastard sausage dog.



Guram Kutateladze vs Don Madge. Definitely worth a look. Kutateladze is 29 years old from Georgia. 12-2 with 8 finishes and trains at Allstar with Khamzat Chimaev and Alexander Gustafsson. He came into the UFC late last year as a late replacement to fight Gamrot. All the attention going in was on Gamrot but Kutateladze wasn’t arsed. He beat Gamrot on points in a cracking fight. Came across really well in the post-fight interview as well, saying he thought Gamrot won. You don’t hear that much. I thought he was being harsh on himself, I had him winning. Looking forward to seeing what he can do on a full training camp. He fought a great fight against Gamrot but from clips I’ve seen of his other fights he’s got a bit of a wild side as well. Can’t recall seeing Madge fight before but looking him up, he’s 9-3-1 with 8 finishes and on a 6 fight winning streak. He’s fought twice in the UFC, which I have zero memory of, and he looks like the lovechild of Khabib and Cro Cop. He trains with Cyborg as well from what I can gather.



Rodolfo Vieira vs Dustin Stoltzfus. A chance at redemption for Vieira here. He came into MMA already known as a decorated grappler. He’s a multi-time BJJ champion and BJJ World Cup champion, ADCC champion etc. His list of wins in BJJ is really impressive. He made the switch to MMA in 2017 and went 7-0 with 7 finishes, including UFC victories over Oskar Piechota and Saparbek Safarov. All went tits up in his last fight though. He took on Anthony Hernandez at UFC 258 in March, faded horribly as the fight went on, got tagged a few times and ended up getting caught in a guillotine choke and being forced to tap. Just goes to show, no matter how accomplished you are as a pure grappler, adding in strikes is a game changer. It was alarming how rapidly his conditioning went downhill as well. Maybe there was a specific reason for that regarding this particular fight or maybe it’s going to be an issue going forward. Time will tell, I guess. But it’ll definitely need addressing. It’s one loss, it’s not the end of the world or anything. But it was a massive setback. I know little about Stoltzfus other than he was on DWCS and lost his UFC debut against Kyle Daukaus. He’s 13-2. Vieira could really do with a convincing win here.



Miles Johns vs Anderson Dos Santos. Haven’t really watched enough of either to give a bollocks about this. Johns is 11-1 and comes in off a POTN winning knockout over Kevin Natividad. Dos Santos is 21-8, a BJJ black-belt and submitted Martin Day in his last fight. I know I’ve seen both before but can’t remember shit about them. Not saying it’ll be bad, maybe they’re better than I’m giving them credit for. It’s just there.



Alan Baudot vs Rodrigo Nascimento. Heavyweight action. This isn’t bad though on paper. Baudot’s 8-2 with 7 knockouts. Got smashed by Tom Aspinall in his UFC debut but Aspinall’s looking like a standout himself so I’m not reading too much into that. Nascimento is a guy I thought was looking like a legitimate prospect until he got stopped by Chris Daukaus in 45 seconds last time out. He was 8-0 with 8 finishes before that though and looked a bit of a handful on the ground. He’s only 28, which by Heavyweight standards is a baby really. He should be able to bounce back. But he’s in with another knockout artist here so we’ll see how he handles that. On paper, this seems to be a bit of a striker vs grappler battle.



Francisco Figueiredo vs Malcolm Gordon. Figgy #2 is back. He’s 31 years old, 12-3-1-1 with 10 finishes and beat Jerome Rivera on points in his UFC debut in January. Doesn’t look as impressive or flashy as his older brother but he showed glimpses of the same kind of swagger. I like him so far, although I don’t see him going nearly as far as his bro. Gordon hasn’t looked good so far in the UFC. He came in on a little win streak last year and had won titles in various different promotions. He’s been finished in a round twice in the Octagon though. In fairness, he’s came up against Amir Albazi and Su Mudaerji, who I rate as potential future players in the in the division. But still, a third loss here would be a disaster for him. I think Fig 2 beats him as well.



Khalid Taha vs Sergey Morozov. Not sure about this. I’ve only really seen them both when they’ve been fighting beasts and getting their arses kicked so probably not the best reflection of their skills. Taha’s 13–3-0-1 and my main memory is of him getting battered by Raoni Barcelos in his last fight. Similar with Morozov. He’s 16-5 but all I really recall is him getting dominated and submitted by Umar Nurmagomedov in his last fight. I’m guessing this’ll be a lot more competitive than those maulings were. 

That’s all folks.


Edited by wandshogun09
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46 minutes ago, Egg Shen said:

could you see the UFC shoe horning Tate into a Nunes fight if shes comes and looks good?

It actually wouldn’t shock me and that’s scary. Even if she dominates and finishes Reneau, she shouldn’t be anywhere near Nunes for a good while. Reneau’s 44 and on her last legs. This should be nothing more than a ‘blowing off the cobwebs’ fight for Tate, to see how she looks after the time away. Not a title eliminator. But given the lack of interesting challengers for Nunes these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tate beats Reneau and they try to spin it into a title shot just because she’s a name, former champ, popular etc.

She doesn’t need more of this in her life though. 



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Cracking write up as usual, Wand.


Holloway/Yair is one of those fights that is almost physically impossible to be a bad watch. Should be a cracker. Also very much looking foward to watching Makhachev again. His last win over Dober was as close to Khabib vibes as anyone has been since he retired. Hoping for the same again.

Tate has had plenty of memorable moments over the years, so I cant hate on her making some extra cash at this point in her career. No matter how good she looks in this fight, can we all imagine what a rematch with Nunes would look like? Would be like another Rousey squash match if shes lucky, and not a long drawn out pumelling over 5 rounds.

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15 hours ago, wandshogun09 said:


She doesn’t need more of this in her life though. 



bloody hell, id forgotten about that

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Fuck sake. I was trying to stay optimistic but it did always have the feel of a fight that wouldn’t make it to the cage. Thought it’d go tits up on Yair’s side though, as I said when the fight was announced…

On 5/27/2021 at 7:34 PM, wandshogun09 said:

Love Holloway vs Rodriguez but I’ll believe it when I see it. Been burnt too many times where Yair’s concerned. 

Had a feeling something was up when that Sandhagen vs Dillashaw poster started popping up everywhere when they hadn’t even done an official one for Holloway vs Rodriguez which is a week before it. Soon as I saw this thread bumped I just knew the fight was off but assumed it’d be Yair out.

The UFC are looking to reschedule it for a later date from what I’m reading. I’m glad they’re doing that rather than just clambering for a replacement and chucking some sod from LFA or something in with Yair on short notice.

Expecting a Michelle Waterson or Holly Holm main event announcement for this card any day now. 


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