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UFC Vegas: Gane vs Volkov - Jun 26 🇺🇸


Who wins and how?   

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Posted (edited)

Nearly overlooked this one but it’s going down in just a couple of weeks at the APEX in Las Vegas.

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Ciryl Gane vs Alexander Volkov

Ovince Saint Preux vs Tanner Boser

Danilo Marques vs Kennedy Nzechukwu

Andre Fili vs Daniel Pineda 

Warlley Alves vs TBA

Renato Moicano vs Jai Herbert 

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Raoni Barcelos vs Timur Valiev

Michel Prazeres vs Shavkat Rakhmonov 

Nicolas Dalby vs Tim Means

Marcin Prachnio vs Ike Villanueva

Julia Avila vs Julija Stoliarenko

Charles Rosa vs Justin Jaynes

Yancy Medeiros vs Damir Hadzovic

 

Doubt that’s the final order. As we all know by now, that changes right up until the day of. Not a bad card but it’s lacking something for me. There’s fighters I love watching on there so I’m interested in those matchups but the card is missing that one killer fight, in my opinion. It’ll do though. And 264 is a fortnight later so I’m sure we’ll cope.

 

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Ciryl Gane vs Alexander Volkov tops the bill. What’s this? A good fight at Heavyweight? I really like this matchup actually. Big fan of Gane. I think he’s the most promising new Heavyweight in the game. I know that’s a shallow pool but he’s probably the main real glimmer of hope for the division’s future, in my opinion. And this is a logical next step and probably his toughest test to date.

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Gane The Man. He’s 31 years old from Paris, France. Former undefeated Kickboxer at 7-0 with 5 knockouts. Currently undefeated in MMA at 8-0 with 6 finishes. And for a guy who comes from a striking background, he’s proven to be far from a one trick pony in MMA. 3 of his 6 finishes were by submission, including one by heel hook of all things! You don’t typically see that out of 6’5” French Kickboxers. He’s also deceptively quick and uses good movement for a man of his size. And he’s starting to climb now. He had trouble finding opponents last year and it kind of forced the UFC to step him up earlier than they probably planned to. It’s worked out so far though. He bashed Junior Dos Santos in December and jabbed Jairzinho Rozenstruik’s face off for 25 minutes in his first UFC main event in February. He got a lot of criticism for that performance. It wasn’t the most exciting fight but whatever. He’s still a work in progress and the fact he went 5 rounds with a seasoned and lethal striker like Rozenstruik, won every round and came out without a scratch on him was pretty fucking impressive in my book. If he’d stood and just traded bombs with Rozey and got decked, the same people criticising him would still be criticising him for being reckless. Fuck them. Gane’s ace and I think there’s better to come.

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Volkov’s nobody to overlook though and I wouldn’t be shocked if he derailed Gane’s rise. I don’t rate him as one of the top HWs but he’s no bum and on a good night he can beat a lot of guys. Especially in that madhouse of a division where the margins for error are so small. He put Alistair Overeem away in February in what, for me, was easily the best performance of his career to date. So he’ll be coming in confident and fancying the job here. I could be way off here but I think Gane’s got the tools to pass this test. You just never know with the Heavies though and I’ve still got that nagging feeling that they’re moving Gane along just a tad too quickly. We’ll see how this goes. You can’t count on anything in Heavyweight MMA. I hope Gane gets it done though.

 

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Ovince Saint Preux vs Tanner Boser appears to be the co-main event. Bit of a patch up job but a decent fight. OSP was meant to face Maxim Grishin but Visa issues cocked that one up. This is a slight improvement for me. OSP’s a guy who’s grown on me over the years. Wasn’t keen on him for a bit and him clobbering Shogun in about 30 seconds in Brazil that time didn’t help. But I grew to appreciate the big lump over time. Headkicking Corey Anderson into oblivion, all those cool Von Flue finishes. He’s winding down now though. 38 years old, lost 4 of his last 6 etc. Still dangerous at times, as his KO over Alonzo Menifield last June showed. But it seems like the sand timer is running out on his career. Boser steps in on just over a week’s notice but he just fought a couple of weeks ago. Lost a split decision to Ilir Latifi that I had him winning. He lost on points to Arlovski before that as well. He could really do without a third straight loss here. I’m not sure about this for OSP though. Just got a feeling it’s pretty much over and, despite a couple of recent losses, Boser’s younger, fresher, fairly quick for a big guy. This fight will be at Heavyweight as well. The original Grishin fight was at 205. OSP didn’t do well last time he went up to HW and lost to Ben Rothwell. We’ll see.

 

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Danilo Marques vs Kennedy Nzechukwu. Another late switch up. It never ends. Marques was meant to fight Ed Herman here but Herman pulled out. Here we are. Marques is 35 out of São Paulo, Brazil. 11-2 record with 9 finishes. He’s won 4 in a row and subbed Mike Rodriguez in his last fight. Don’t recall much about him but I know he’s trained a lot with Shogun and Demian Maia so I like him by association. Nzechukwu probably makes for a better fight than Herman would’ve, to be honest. He’s Nigerian, 29 years old with a record of 8-1 with 5 knockouts. He wasn’t on my radar at all really until this in his last fight…

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He knocked out Carlos Ulberg on the undercard of UFC 259 in March. It was a hell of a fight all-round. Ulberg was 3-0 coming in and had a bit of buzz around him stemming from his quick KO on Dana’s Contender Series. He was giving Nzechukwu a hiding as well but Nzechukwu rallied and bashed him up there in the second. It was a great comeback, a top finish and they deservedly got FOTN for it. Stole the show on a loaded card that had 3 title fights. Looking forward to seeing more of him here, and Marques too.

 

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Andre Fili vs Daniel Pineda got added fairly late in the day. Good fight actually. Neither are really troubling the contenders at 145 but it’s a nice little matchup all the same. At one time Fili was being talked about as one of the hottest prospects in the sport but it’s never caught fire. I think it was Team Alpha Male hyping him up more than anything but it fizzled out quite quickly. He’s not a bad fighter at all, just not the force Faber and co were selling him as a few years back. He’s 21-8 now and comes in off a decision loss to Bryce Mitchell in October. He’s also lost to Max Holloway, Yair Rodriguez, Calvin Kattar and Sodiq Yusuff over the years. Basically if you’re top level or a real prospect, you’re likely beating Fili. But he’s tough and comes to scrap so I can see this being fun because from what I’ve seen, Pineda’s the same way. He’s had even more of an up and down career, record currently stands at 27-14-2. But he’s knocked about and fought pretty much everywhere. He did batter and TKO Herbert Burns last summer as well, and Burns had been on a bit of a streak prior. So yeah, these two certainly aren’t going to be having Volkanovski waking up in a cold sweat but paired up with each other, it could be good.

 

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Renato Moicano vs Jai Herbert. Interesting one here. At one point, Moicano was looking like a legitimate fringe contender in the Featherweight division. This is a man who holds wins over Calvin Kattar, Cub Swanson, Jeremy Stephens, was giving Brian Ortega all kinds of problems in a cracking fight before succumbing to a guillotine choke very late in the fight. It’s well gone tits up though. He got stopped in back-to-back fights by Aldo and the Zombie in 2019. Moved up to Lightweight and scored a quick submission over Damir Hadzovic. But then in his last fight in December, he got knocked out in a round by Rafael Fiziev. Mad how quickly a promising rising new face can get derailed, especially in those fast moving lighter weight classes. It’s ruthless. I still rate his skills but there’s serious work to do now. It’d be difficult for me to root against Jai Herbert here though. He’s a Midlands fighter, from Wolverhampton, 10-2 with 9 finishes, trains with Leon and Fabian Edwards, was the Cage Warriors champ at 155lbs. Looks decent from the couple of fights and clips I’ve seen. He made his UFC debut in July last year on Fight Island. Didn’t exactly go to plan though, he got walloped by Francisco Trinaldo and his old man power. That fight was a big talking point last summer, but not because of Trinaldo or Herbert.

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“STOP THE FIGHT!!!!!”

It kicked off the whole Dan Hardy vs Herb Dean thing and ultimately became the catalyst for Hardy’s eventual exit from the UFC. Herbert was supposed to fight Drakkar Klose in February but had to pull out. Now he’s got Moicano. No easy fights for him. If he can beat Moicano though, he’s in good company and it’d go some way to redeeming him for the way his debut went. Good stuff here. Herbert’s more of a standup fighter from bits I’ve seen, Moicano can strike a bit himself but his BJJ is his bread and butter really and I’d expect him to try to use that to his advantage here.

 

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Raoni Barcelos vs Timur Valiev. Good enough fight but I’m a little bit underwhelmed by it, to be honest. Barcelos is a guy who’s been sneaking up on everyone for a while now in the constantly improving Bantamweight division. He’s 16-1 with 10 finishes and has won 9 in a row now. Looks the business as well.

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There he is giving poor Khalid Taha both barrels in his last fight in November. Battered him. It was a really exciting fight but more a case of Barcelos dishing out a sustained beating and Taha just soaking it up and refusing to drop rather than anything really competitive or back and forth. As far as one sided fights go though, it was about as entertaining as it gets. He’s been on the rise for a while and after this performance, it felt like he might finally be about to break through. But it’s stalled since. He was linked to a fight in December against Merab Dvalishvili but had to pull out. Then he was booked against Raphael Assunção in February but Assunção pulled out. Then Marcelo Rojo stepped in and Barcelos tested positive for COVID. Just the worst run of luck. Hopefully this fight goes ahead. Like I said, not in love with the matchmaking just because it felt like Barcelos was ready for that step up against an established name (like the Assunção fight would’ve been) on a main card. Valiev isn’t a bad fighter but it just seems like a big step sideways for Barcelos. Doesn’t really advance his status in the division. Oh well. I’ll just be glad to see him back in there. Valiev from Dagestan, 17-2-0-1 and coming off a win over Martin Day. He also beat Trevin Jones in his UFC debut but it got changed to a No Contest after Valiev flunked the weed test. He’s one of those guys who’s a bit of an unknown at the moment. Maybe he’s a stiffer test for Barcelos than anyone knows. But if Barcelos wins this one, I hope they crack on with something a bit juicier next time. Not saying he’s a future champ or anything but I think it’s time to see him tested against a player in the division, so we can properly see what he’s got.

 

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Michel Prazeres vs Shavkat Rakhmonov is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. Might seem an odd choice but I really like the look of Rakhmonov and it’s the fight that’s standing out most to me. Really think he might be the real deal.

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He’s 26 years old from Kazakhstan, I think he was actually the first Kazakh fighter signed to the UFC. He’s undefeated at 13-0, all finishes, former M-1 Global Welterweight champion. Made his UFC debut on the Khabib vs Gaethje undercard in October, and put Cowboy Oliveira away in a round.

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Set about him on the feet then made him tap with a guillotine. Oliveira mightn’t be in the title mix but he’s a tough and experienced, battle tested veteran. For Rakhmonov to come in and handle him like this was impressive. Looking forward to seeing more from him. Prazeres is 39 years old now and coming off a layoff. A young guy who’s meant to be a big prospect like Rakhmonov should really be beating him. But Prazeres is a potential banana skin. He’s a 2nd degree BJJ black-belt with a 26-3 record and actually holds a 2016 points win over Gilbert Burns. Yeah, Burns back then wasn’t what he is now but it still shows this guy has skills you can’t sleep on. Of course I’m favouring Rakhmonov, timing is everything. He’s on the way up and Prazeres is surely on the way out. But it’s an interesting one for sure.

 

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Nicolas Dalby vs Tim Means. OK then. Right fuck about here. This one has had to be completely cobbled together from the remains of two scrapped fights. Dalby was supposed to fight Sergey Khandozhko on this card but the Russian dropped out injured. Means was all set to fight Danny Roberts on the Zombie vs Ige card a week earlier but COVID took Roberts out. Fair play to both for going ahead and fighting different opponents on such short notice. Could be a good one as well. Dalby’s been a bit hit and miss in the UFC but I generally enjoy watching him. He’s 19-3-1-2, former Cage Warriors champion, BJJ brown-belt and comes into this fight off a points win over Daniel Rodriguez, who had been on a 9 fight streak going in. Dalby’s no pushover. I still remember that cracking fight he had with Darren Till, early in Till‘s UFC run, that went to a draw. And that bloodbath with Ross Houston in Cage Warriors that had to be stopped because the canvas was just caked in blood. And Means is a tough veteran and a bit underrated, I think. He’s never been able to put a consistent run together but, on a good night he’s got the tools to give a lot of guys problems. He’s 31-12-1-1 now. 37 years old. He’s been around the block a few times. Maybe that’s why his nickname is the ‘Dirty Bird’. You look back at his record though, wins over Bobby Green, Pete Spratt, John Howard, Thiago Alves, he’s gone the distance with Masvidal and Magny, was giving Niko Price hell before getting walloped out of nowhere. He’s beat Laureano Staropoli and Mike Perry in his last two though, so he’s on decent form at the moment. You never know how these last minute thrown together fights are gonna go but I think these two match up really well. 

 

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Marcin Prachnio vs Ike Villanueva. Nothing happening fight really but could actually wind up being a bit of a wild one. Prachnio’s 14-5 with 11 finishes. Villanueva’s 18-10 with 15 knockouts. And nearly all their losses were inside the distance as well. They’re going nowhere but sod it. Could be fun. For as shite as Villanueva’s record is, I’ve found him great to watch so far. He had a right old slobberknocker with Chase Sherman on one of the first UFC’s after the initial lockdown last year. And in January he did this to Vinicius Moreira…

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205’s a funny old division. The top end is class. It’s been a weird adjustment getting used to a post-Jones LHW scene but that triangle of Blachowicz, Teixeira and Prochazka we’re about to get stuck into is mouth watering. I love every combination of matchups between those three. And there are guys just below them I’ve always got time for like Santos, Walker, Rakic, Ankalaev etc. But lower down the ladder, some of it’s on par with the dregs of Heavyweight. That said, like HW, sometimes those fights are so bad they’re good. Like if Ngannou vs Stipe or Jan vs Glover are a perfectly cooked steak, fights like this are like a filthy, greasy bacon sandwich. Sometimes you want a bit of that though.

 

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Julia Avila vs Julija Stoliarenko. The Raging Panda returns. I’m a fan. She seems really nice in interviews and stuff. Smart and likeable and doesn’t come across like someone who fights in a cage at all. I rated her as a solid prospect as well, and she went 8-0 initially. Things were going well. But then she lost to Sijara Eubanks in her last fight and, well, that’s never a good sign. I’ve never rated Eubanks so the Panda losing that one was a real disappointment and a bit of a red flag. I’ll continue to root for her but my hopes aren’t as high as they once were. Stoliarenko is Lithuanian, 28 years old with a record of 9-4-2. Nothing special from the limited footage I’ve seen and she got decisioned by Yana Kunitskaya in her Octagon debut back in August. Again, that doesn’t exactly bode well for her potential in the division. Nothing fight but I’d like to see Avila get back on track.

 

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Charles Rosa vs Justin Jaynes. OK for what it is, prelim filler. Not that fussed but in fairness to both, I don’t recall either guy ever being boring. Rosa is 13-5 and has been on a win one/lose one streak for good few years now. Tough guy though. He got absolutely tied up in knots by Bryce Mitchell last year but somehow avoided getting subbed. I remember his fight with Yair Rodriguez years ago being quality as well, and he lost a split decision that night. Jaynes is 16-7 with 13 finishes. He had a great UFC debut, blitzing Frank Camacho in just 41 seconds. But he’s been stopped in all 3 of his fights since. Got to think it’s a win or go home situation for him here.

 

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Yancy Medeiros vs Damir Hadzovic. This was meant to happen on the Font vs Garbrandt card the other week but got binned at the last minute when Hadzovic withdrew with health issues. Decent little fight though. Neither are world beaters but, as far as filler goes, and we get a lot of it these days, this is alright. Medeiros is a tough Hawaiian who actually fought as high as 205 early in his career. He was a chunky fucker back then, believe it or not. He gradually dropped the weight over the years and has settled at 155. He’s had his ups and downs in the cage as well as on the scales. The highlight of his UFC career by far though, was his 2017 barnburner against Alex ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira. A tremendous back and forth battle and Medeiros came through with the TKO. Fight Pass it if you haven’t seen it, you won’t regret it. Hadzovic is Bosnian, 13-6, some decent wins but nothing outstanding. My main memory of him is this crazy KO against Marcin Held a few years ago.

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Beautifully timed. Should be a good fight this. But could also be a ‘loser leaves’ situation as well, to be honest. Both are coming off losses and the roster is filled to the brim as it is.

 

It’ll do. 

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Edited by wandshogun09
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Herman is indeed the fighter with the longest uninterrupted tenure on the current UFC roster. He'll break Sanchez's record if he remains on the UFC roster for another year or so. 

Here's is an interesting article about Herman's split from Team Quest in 2010 - https://www.bloodyelbow.com/2010/8/25/1650247/bloody-elbow-exclusive-team-quest

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Ed Herman’s off the card now. Along with many others. Seriously, this card has been getting shagged raw all week.

If you haven’t been keeping score…

• The Tim Elliott vs Su Mudaerji fight is off. Mudaerji knee injury. 

• Ed Herman is out due to undisclosed reasons. Danilo Marques now fights late replacement Kennedy Nzechukwu.

• Maxim Grishin’s out thanks to Visa problems. Tanner Boser has stepped in against OSP.

• Ramazan Emeev has withdrawn from his fight with Warlley Alves. Think they’re still looking for a substitute.

• And an injury has taken Sergey Khandozhko out of his scheduled fight with Nicolas Dalby. But Dalby’s facing Tim Means now. Of course, Means was meant to fight Danny Roberts on this weekend’s Zombie vs Ige undercard but COVID said…

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Hopefully that’s it but we’ve got a over week left so you know it’s not over yet. I’ve edited the opening post anyway. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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