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UFC Vegas: Smith vs Spann - Sep 18 🇺🇸


wandshogun09
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Who wins and how?   

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Saturday 18th September in Vegas.

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ESPN+ MAIN CARD
Anthony Smith vs Ryan Spann

Ion Cutelaba vs Devin Clark

Nikolas Motta vs Cameron VanCamp

Ariane Lipski vs Mandy Bohm 

Arman Tsarukyan vs Christos Giagos 

Joaquin Buckley vs Antonio Arroyo 

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Tafon Nchukwi vs Mike Rodriguez 

Pannie Kianzad vs Raquel Pennington

Tony Gravely vs Nate Maness

Dakota Bush vs Rong Zhu 

Montel Jackson vs JP Buys

Erin Blanchfield vs Sarah Alpar

Impa Kasanganay vs Carlston Harris

Gustavo Lopez vs Alateng Heili

Emily Whitmire vs Hannah Goldy 

 

Not in love with this. There are fighters I like on there but mostly not in matchups I’m into. Only 2 fights I really like the sound of but you know the score, they probably won’t stay intact anyway. Bout order’s almost definitely wrong, going off how Marcel Dorff has it listed for now.

 

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Anthony Smith vs Ryan Spann tops the bill. Not the strongest of main events. Can’t pretend I’m that fussed really but it’s not a bad fight. Smith’s had his ups and downs over a 50+ fight MMA career. He’s lost a bunch of big fights but he’s certainly had his positive moments too. His record stands at 35-16 and he holds wins over names such as Alexander Gustafsson, Shogun Rua, Rashad Evans, Volkan Oezdemir and Hector Lombard. All finishes as well. Granted, the likes of Shogun and Rashad were way past their best when Smith beat them but he could only beat the versions that showed up and he showed great heart (‘Lionheart’) in the Oezdemir and Lombard fights especially. He made it all the way to title contention in 2019 but fell short against Jon Jones. And more fresh in the memory is his 2 fight skid last year against Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic. The Glover fight in particular was a bad beatdown. He’s since managed to rally back with wins over Devin Clark and Jim Crute so he’s at least coming in with a bit of momentum here. Spann’s less well known and hasn’t mixed with as many names as Smith has. But he’s put together a very respectable 19-6 record with notable wins over Misha Cirkunov and Little Nog. The only loss in his last 10 fights came against Johnny Walker but even that was a wild back and forth battle. Not sure how this goes. Smith has the experience edge, both in number of fights and overall level of opposition. But Spann’s a bit younger, a bit fresher and a little bit bigger. I don’t really have a strong feeling how it plays out, and I’m not bothered who wins, I’m just hoping for a good fight.

 

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Ion Cutelaba vs Devin Clark. This’ll probably be exciting for however long it lasts. Say what you want about Cutelaba, and he’s definitely not without his flaws, but he doesn’t do dull. Seems a right meathead twat but he’s fun to watch bell-to-bell. His constant aggression has been both a blessing and a curse at times. He’s 15-6-1-1 now and coming off a draw in May against Dustin Jacoby in a scrap that was as rough and nasty as it sounds. Before that he got slept in brutal fashion by Magomed Ankalaev. He hasn’t won in 2 years. They’ll most likely keep him around because I doubt he’s making much of a dent in the budget and he consistently delivers exciting fights. But he really could do with a win right about now. Clark isn’t really known for getting into brawls and I imagine he’ll be looking to stifle Cutelaba with a more technical approach. Thing is, I’m not sure he’s got the game to contain the mad bastard so it’ll likely unravel into chaos anyway and Clark will be forced to fight fire with fire. To be fair, he successfully pulled that off against Alonzo Menifield not too long ago so maybe he can repeat that here.

 

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Ariane Lipski vs Mandy Bohm was supposed to go down on the Brunson vs Till card but got pushed back a couple of weeks to this date. Lipski’s been so-so in the UFC. 13-7 record, pulled off an awesome kneebar on a card last year, former KSW champion. But she’s struggled when she’s faced anyone of real substance. Her last couple of fights have been evidence of that, she’s been stopped by Antonina Shevchenko and Montana De La Rosa in back-to-back fights recently. Bohm’s making her first trip to the Octagon here. I’ve already seen a few positive comments about her signing but I’m yet to see her fight so I’m not reading too much into it. So far, so good though. She’s undefeated at 7-0-0-1, with a No Contest in her MMA debut back in 2014. Aside from that, it’s been plain sailing by the looks of it. Although I’m not familiar with any of the names she’s beaten. She fought on Bellator’s card in Italy late last year. Originally, Bohm was supposed to debut against Taila Santos but Santos dropped out. I think that would’ve been a bit harsh as a debut, this is probably a fairer matchup. Nothing special but I’m kind of intrigued to see how Bohm looks.

 

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Arman Tsarukyan vs Christos Giagos is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. Might seem an odd choice but there aren’t that many standouts on this card as it is. This has the potential to be an absolute corker regardless. If you’re not familiar with these guys you won’t be arsed. And I don’t even blame you. They’ve both mostly been buried on the prelims, and often the Fight Pass bit, so they’ll have flown under a lot of radars. They’ve both been great to watch though. Tsarukyan is the prospect of the two. 24 years old from Russia and has a 16-2 record. Made his UFC debut back in April 2019 against…Islam Makhachev. Yes, his Octagon debut and he was thrown in with Makhachev. And it was a tremendous fight. Makhachev won a decision but Tsarukyan gave him all he could handle and it was one of those fights where you see a young fighter for the first time and just instantly have a good feeling about them. Similar to the first time I saw Max Holloway fight. You just knew there was a bright future ahead. Since then he’s won 3 straight against Olivier Aubin-Mercier, Davi Ramos and Matt Frevola. And like many in the Lightweight logjam in the past, he’s been complaining about not being able to break through and get a ‘name’ to agree to fight him. He’s fallen into that position where the risk vs reward seemingly isn’t worth it to a lot of guys and he’s clearly been frustrated in recent months to the point he just started saying he’ll fight anyone regardless of ranking. 

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We’ve seen similar in the past with current champ Charles Oliveira, Beneil Dariush and Makhachev himself. The division is so deep that it’s a bastard to break out of the pack. Tsarukyan has been going back and forth with Dan Hooker on Twitter a bit recently so maybe that could serve as his big opportunity. Hooker fights at 266 the week after this so it could line up perfectly if they both win. We’ll see. He’s got to get past Giagos first and that’s no gimme. He’s not really been talked about as a possible future player like Tsarukyan, he’s a few years older and has had more losses. But he’s game as fuck and has had a few really entertaining barnburners on undercards over the years. He had an absolute belter against Drakkar Klose in August 2019 but lost on points. And his last fight against Sean Soriano at UFC 262 in May was a nutty one that hardly anyone seemed to see as it was the curtain jerker on Fight Pass. They had a corker though, which Giagos ended up winning via second round brabo choke and also bagged himself a POTN bonus. So yeah, if you don’t know these guys already it won’t jump out off the card at you but this is your heads up. If it’s shite now blame me.

 

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Joaquin Buckley vs Antonio Arroyo. Could be an interesting one this. Buckley was the buzz of the MMA world for a bit last year. He’d made his UFC debut in the August and stepped in against Kevin Holland on short notice. He got stopped late in the fight but he fought really well and many thought he might be a bit of a force with a full training camp. Well, his next fight in October against Impa Kasanganay…

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One of the best knockouts in UFC history by far for me that. Poor Kasanganay was highlight reel fodder. Insane knockout that I can’t see being repeated anytime soon. Basically a modified enzuigiri. One of those moves you’d see in a pro wrestling match and think it’d be impossible to pull off in an actual fight but here’s Buckley making it reality. Like I said, the MMA world was loving him and when he knocked out Jordan Wright at UFC 255 just a few weeks later, the bandwagon was growing rapidly. January rolls around and it’s all over. Alessio Di Chirico headkicks him into oblivion and that’s that. Hype train derailed and nobody’s really mentioned Buckley since. It’s a cruel sport. This is his attempt to get back on track and try to claw back some of that momentum he’d built up late last year. Arroyo could be a tricky challenge though. He hasn’t had a good start in the UFC at all, he’s gone 0-2 so far. But he’s a strong grappler, a BJJ black-belt and style-wise, could ask some questions of Buckley that we haven’t seen him face yet. I’m hoping Buckley gets back to winning ways here. I still think there’s a lot of fun to be had with him in the Middleweight division.

 

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Tafon Nchukwi vs Mike Rodriguez might be worth a look. Nchukwi is from Cameroon, 26 years old and still pretty new to MMA. He’s only 5-1 and coming off his first loss, a decision against Jun Yong Park in May. But he’s exciting to watch from the limited footage I’ve seen. 4 of his 5 wins came inside the distance, including a first round TKO over William Knight. Rodriguez has knocked about with mixed results. He’s 11-6-0-1 now, he’s going nowhere. He had a surprisingly fun scrap with Ed Herman last year but wound up getting submitted, then he got subbed again by Danilo Marques in his next fight. Another loss here could well be it for him. On the flipside, a loss for Nchukwi here, against someone as mediocre as Rodriguez, will put a real dampener on any hopes he might go on to be a player at 205 down the line.

 

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Pannie Kianzad vs Raquel Pennington. Nothing against either woman but surely this won’t stay as co-main event? Even on a bog standard Fight Night. I actually quite like both and usually enjoy watching both but it’s not co-main anything is it? Kianzad is 15-5 and she is on a 4 fight winning streak, to be fair. But 2 of those wins are over Sijara Eubanks and Bethe Correia so how much stock do you put into that? And Pennington hasn’t fought in over a year and even that was a win over Marion Reneau. There’s just nothing about this matchup. It might turn out decent, Pennington has a knack for getting into fun scraps. But I’d be lying if I said I’m arsed about it.

 

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Tony Gravely vs Nate Maness. Not that up on either guy. Looking them up, Gravely is 29 with a record of 21-6 and fights out of American Top Team. He’s fought in the UFC a few times and comes into this fight off a TKO over Anthony Birchak in April. Maness is 30 with a 13-1 record and has beaten Luke Sanders and Johnny Munoz Jr so far in the UFC. That’s about it. I know I’ve seen both fight at least once but nothing is jumping out in the memory about either of them.

 

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Dakota Bush vs Rong Zhu. Like a bunch of the fights on this card, I’m kind of going in blind here. They’ve both fought once in the UFC, both lost decisions and I don’t recall seeing either. They both fought in April, Bush lost to Austin Hubbard and Zhu lost to Kazula Vargas. Only notable thing about Bush is that his nickname is ‘Hairy’. Yes, Hairy Bush. Might have to fire up his debut on Fight Pass now just to see if Buffer had the bollocks to shout that in the intros. Zhu’s only 21 years old, to be fair, and already has a 17-4 record. I don’t know. Might watch it, might not.

 

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Montel Jackson vs JP Buys. Just there really but might be decent. I’ve enjoyed the few fights I’ve seen of Jackson so far. He’s 10-2 and walloped Jesse Strader in 2 minutes in his last fight in March.

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He’s also got wins over Brian Kelleher and Felipe Colares. His only losses are to Brett Johns and Ricky Simon and he’s never been stopped. Buys is 25 from South Africa, 9-3 with 8 finishes. Husband of Cheyanne Buys who was in the MMA headlines recently for both her headkick KO and being another voice speaking up about fighter pay. JP’s UFC run hasn’t got off to the best of starts though. He got stopped by Bruno Silva in his debut a few months back.

 

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Erin Blanchfield vs Sarah Alpar. Dunno. It’s Blanchfield’s UFC debut. I’ve read that she’s a bit of a prospect. She’s only 22 years old, 6-1 with wins over current UFC fighters Kay Hansen and Victoria Leonardo. Her only loss to date is a split decision in Invicta against Tracy Cortez, but I’ve read that it was a bit of an iffy decision. So maybe there’s a case to be made that she should still be undefeated. Alpar’s 9-5 and got beat up by Jessica Rose Clark in her Octagon debut about a year ago. She was Bantamweight champ in LFA and also fought on DWCS. She caused a bit of a stir a few months ago when she went public talking about how broke she was, set up a GoFundMe and Jake Paul made a big thing about donating $5 grand. Apart from that, I recall sod all of her fight with Jess Clark other than she took a bit of a hiding. If Blanchfield is any kind of prospect, she should probably be winning this.

 

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Impa Kasanganay vs Carlston Harris. Ah man, why have they booked Kasanganay on the same card as Joaquin Buckley? Trying to give the poor get flashbacks or something? Seriously, Kasanganay seems a nice guy. I remember him being all class after that KO, no excuses or silly fluke talk or any of that. Just seems a really chilled out good guy. That’s still his only loss as well. He’s 9-1 now and did bounce back from the disaster against Buckley to submit Sasha Palatnikov in April. Harris is the first fighter from Guyana to compete in the UFC. He made his debut in May and it was a successful one, submitting Christian Aguilera in the first round. He’s also got a win over Michel Pereira on his record from 2015. Record currently stands at 16-4. Don’t know a ton about these guys but from the bits I have seen and read, there’s enough there to have piqued my interest.

 

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Gustavo Lopez vs Alateng Heili. Big old Partridge shrug to this. Literally all I remember Lopez for is that he was on the wrong end of an Adrian Yanez highlight reel KO a few months ago. That’s it. He’s 12-6 overall and has also lost to current UFC fighters Merab Dvalishvili, Andre Ewell and John Castaneda. Heili AKA ‘The Mongolian Knight’ is 14-8-1, last seen in October last year losing to Casey Kenney. He beat Ryan Benoit before that. I’ll probably skip this one. We’ve all got lives to lead.

 

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Emily Whitmire vs Hannah Goldy isn’t doing a great deal for me. It was supposed to be Whitmire against Cory McKenna but McKenna is injured again which is a shame. This is what they’ve cobbled together. Whitmire is a dismal 4-4 in her MMA career and coming off back-to-back submission losses. Every time she’s faced anyone good she’s not just lost, she’s been subbed. Goldy’s 5-2 and has also lost her last two but I suppose at least she’s still got a winning record. For now anyway. She got overwhelmed by Diana Belbita in her last fight in July. You can probably tell I don’t exactly have high hopes for this.

 

Not the best but it’ll pass a week on the way to 266, I guess. 

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Edited by wandshogun09
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Is that an official poster? Its so bad that it makes you want the cookie cutter one they always use.

I watch every UFC show, and genuinely had no idea who 'Spann' was when I read the title before opening it. Even looking at his picture, I have no idea who he is. One of the only times ever that would be the case for a UFC event for me.

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Like I said in the opening post, Impa Kasanganay is a class act. To suffer your first loss by being on the receiving end of one of the most ridiculous highlight reel knockouts in UFC history and have this attitude says a lot about him;

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I’ve updated the OP with the proper bout order now as well. Thankfully, Kianzad vs Pennington didn’t stay in the co-main spot. Still not the strongest card, even by Fight Night standards, but it looks a bit better to me now the order is official and everyone’s mostly where they should be on the card. I’ve seen this card catch a lot of shit, and I get it, but it’s mostly the main event dragging it down for me. It’s not a bad fight but it just feels dead on arrival as a headliner of anything. If you took this undercard and whacked one of the upcoming fights like Makhachev vs Dos Anjos or Rockhold vs Strickland, even something like Chimaev vs Jingliang, on top it looks like a totally different card. For Fight Nights especially, a solid main event goes a long way. 

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