Paid Members wandshogun09 Posted September 14, 2021 Paid Members Share Posted September 14, 2021 (edited) OK then. Still a few weeks away but this is too good a card to not be talking about. Back on Fight Island as well! PPV MAIN CARDJan Blachowicz vs Glover Teixeira - Light Heavyweight Title Petr Yan vs Cory Sandhagen - Interim Bantamweight Title Islam Makhachev vs Dan Hooker Alexander Volkov vs Marcin Tybura Li Jingliang vs Khamzat Chimaev Magomed Ankalaev vs Volkan Oezdemir ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMSAmanda Ribas vs Virna Jandiroba Zubaira Tukhugov vs Ricardo Ramos Albert Duraev vs Roman Kopylov Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos vs Benoit St Denis Michal Oleksiejczuk vs Shamil Gamzatov Makwan Amirkhani vs Lerone Murphy Hu Yaozong vs Andre Petroski Tagir Ulanbekov vs Allan Nascimento That’s the card. Ridiculous. And best of all, we’ll be getting this at a decent hour for once. Think I saw somewhere that the main card should kick off at 8pm UK time! Jan Blachowicz vs Glover Teixeira sits atop an absolutely stacked card. Good fight. We’ve had better main events but we’ve certainly had worse. I’m looking forward to it. As much as we all love a bit of bad blood and a grudge match, sometimes it’s refreshing to just see a battle of babyfaces. Whatever the result here, you know a good egg is leaving with the gold. Style-wise, I can’t imagine it not being fun to watch either. Blachowicz is 38 years old with a record of 28-8 and 17 finishes. Fought most of his pre-UFC career in KSW in Poland, where he became the Light Heavyweight champion. Wins over former UFC fighters like Sokoudjou, Houston Alexander and Goran Reljic got him noticed and by October 2014, he was making his UFC debut, stopping Ilir Latifi with a body kick in less than 2 minutes. He had a few setbacks early on. He went 2-4 in his first 6 trips to the Octagon. But he kept plugging away and quietly stacking up wins. By 2020, he was a contender. And Jon Jones stepping away and vacating the belt only helped his chances of reaching the top. He took on Dominick Reyes for the vacant strap at UFC 253 in September 2020 and the ‘Polish Power’ was unleashed. I don’t think anyone saw Blachowicz coming as far as being in the title mix went. Mostly because Jones had been so dominant that I don’t think anyone could picture a champ at 205 beyond him. But Jan putting Reyes away in that manner was very impressive. Especially as Reyes had taken Jones to the wire in a razor close fight only months earlier. Jan The Man followed that up with a champ vs champ ‘Superfight’ against Israel Adesanya in March. He won a clear unanimous decision, dominating for large spells of it, successfully defended his title for the first time and handed Adesanya the first loss of his pro MMA career. You look back over Jan’s career and maybe it shouldn’t be such a surprise that he’s risen up the ranks the way he has. He’s currently 9-1 in his last 10 and has won his last 5. He doesn’t do anything flashy and he doesn’t talk a bunch of shite. He just goes about his business and keeps winning fights. For Glover it’s been a long and rough road to get to this point. Grappling is his original background and would turn out to be his gateway to MMA. He actually beat Dean Lister in the ADCCs, which I don’t think many people realise. Started his MMA career training at ‘The Pit’ with Chuck Liddell, back when Chuck was in his prime. Turned pro in 2002 and after initially going 2-2 in his first 4 fights, something clicked for him and he just started wrecking shop. From mid 2006 until 2013, Glover went unbeaten, rattling off 20 straight wins, 18 inside the distance. During this streak he beat the likes of Sokoudjou, Marvin Eastman and former UFC Heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez. I remember hearing for years how he was a beast. There was almost this mythical aura around him. Chuck would bring him up a lot and even Dana would mention him from time to time, which was unusual for him to praise someone he never had under contract. But Visa issues delayed it for years. By 2012, it finally got resolved and he was UFC bound. He made short work of Kyle Kingsbury in his debut but it was his second UFC outing that really got people’s attention. He battered, bloodied and bludgeoned a game but woefully outmatched Fabio Maldonado. One of the most vicious and disturbing beatings in UFC history. Aside from one big punch that rocked Glover for a few seconds, it was just wall to wall GBH and Fabio got messed up. Over the years that followed, Glover had his ups and downs. Wins over Rampage Jackson and Ryan Bader got him a UFC title shot in 2014, but he came up short and got his long winning streak ended by Jon Jones. He’s had a few losses since, the brutal knockouts he suffered at the hands of Rumble and Gustafsson being the most memorable. But on the whole, it’s been more good than bad. And currently he’s enjoying a late career resurgence. He’s won 5 in a row and stopped Thiago Santos and Anthony Smith in his last two. He also subbed the dangerous and much younger Ion Cutelaba not too long ago. 32-7 now. He’ll be turning 42 years old just 2 days before this fight. You’ve got to think this is his last chance at UFC gold. And his best chance. Let’s face it, good as he is, he was never beating prime Jones in 2014. No Light Heavyweight was. With Jones out the way, as tough a task as beating Jan Blachowicz is, it’s much more doable than that was. I like both of these two but I can’t lie, I’m fully rooting for Glover here. What a story it would be for him to finally win that belt now, right at the end of his career after an unexpected resurgence. My heart says Glover but my head’s telling me Big Jan gets it done. He’s riding high now coming off that Adesanya win. Plus, although Glover is tough as fuck and has shown a few times he can come back from the brink to pull out a win, he does seem to get wobbled at least once every fight. If it happens here I can’t see Jan letting him off the hook. Glover’s always a threat though, even when he’s rocked. It’s what makes his fights so exciting. And for all the talk of Glover’s age, Blachowicz is only 3 years younger. Hopefully it’s a great fight, with both looking good. But ultimately, Glover holding the belt at the end. Petr Yan vs Cory Sandhagen co-mains now. You know the score. We were meant to clear up the controversy here with a Sterling vs Yan rematch but Sterling’s out due to ongoing problems with his neck injury. A real shame both for him and because that rematch was a very interesting one and they’d both been talking a lot leading into it. There’d been a bit of needle even before the first fight in March but the way the fight ended… Yeah. It baffled me then, it still does now. For reasons known only to him, Yan threw the illegal knee, blatantly, and got disqualified. Sterling was awarded the belt on a DQ which is never ideal but I’m not sure what else they could’ve done. It was about as cut and dry as it gets as far as clearly intentional fouls go. Wasn’t even like it was a heat of the moment thing where he threw the knee during a wild exchange or something. He paused, had a couple of seconds to think about it and just blasted him anyway. For the life of me I can’t figure out why Yan did it. At that point in the fight he was pulling ahead, the momentum was with him and he just pissed it all up the wall like a dickhead. Proper Andrew Golota vibes. So Sterling was now champ, got a load of unfair backlash, but the rematch was booked and hopefully everything would be settled soon. It felt like it really needed to happen to have that definitive ending that the first fight lacked. And also style-wise, it was a fascinating rematch. But Sterling’s injury fucked everything up. Of course, Yan couldn’t wait to have a pop. He also declared that he’d still fight on this card and threw down the gauntlet to anyone who wanted it. The search didn’t take long and just days after Sterling dropped out, it was confirmed that Cory Sandhagen would be stepping in. This has caused a right mess in the Bantamweight title picture because obviously the way Sterling won the title in the first place wasn’t ideal, so many don’t view him as the ‘real champ’ and this rematch was supposed to resolve all that. Now Aljo’s out so Yan’s fighting for an interim belt. But even Sandhagen jumping in is a bit weird because he’s coming off a loss himself. Granted it was a close decision loss against TJ Dillashaw in one of the best fights of the year back in July. But still, we’re left in a position where we have an interim title fight between a guy who got himself DQ’d against a guy who just lost. I’m guessing Yan vs Dillashaw was the first choice but Dillashaw is injured apparently as well. So really, this was the next most logical fight as messed up as it all is. And either way, strip all that shite away and this is a tremendous fucking fight! I’m not gonna sit here and complain about a fight between Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen at all. Sandhagen’s had a lot of luck to find himself in this position. Aljo falling out and TJ not being able to step in means he’s getting this shot because he’s the next in line by default. If he can pull this off then him and Sterling is another rematch that would have a cool backstory after Sterling breezed through him in about a minute last year. Basically, whoever wins this sets themselves up for a big rematch with Aljo that’ll be a unification fight and also have some history behind it. Bantamweight is on fire at the moment and these 3 along with Dillashaw could trade wins and losses and titles in FOTY contenders for years. And that’s before you even get into the killers coming up behind them in the division. This should be an absolute corker though. As replacements go, they couldn’t have really done much better than this. Islam Makhachev vs Dan Hooker is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** here. Another switch up but a good one. Was supposed to be Makhachev vs Rafael Dos Anjos but at this point that matchup seems cursed and destined not to happen. Shame because I love that pairing but RDA’s out and we move on. Like with the Sterling-Yan-Sandhagen thing, this is about as strong a substitute as you could ask for. It’s still that step up Makhachev’s been needing for a while and it’s a fun one style-wise given their different approaches to fighting. Of course, Makhachev’s a suffocating grappler. A student of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, a protégé of Khabib, yeah you’re gonna have to be able to grapple a bit just for survival if nothing else. He’d been kind of living in Khabib’s shadow for a long time but now Khabib’s retired and it’s coincided nicely with Makhachev’s climb up the ranks. He’s 20-1 in MMA now and he really looks like he’s gone up a gear in his last couple of fights. He beat Drew Dober in March and Thiago Moises in July, both by submission. And looked a beast doing it. Hooker stepping in on short notice here is such a ballsy move. He lost that war against Poirier last year then got knocked out by Chandler in January, he’s only just got back on track with the Haqparast win at UFC 266 in late September. Days later he’s agreeing to face Makhachev? Nutter. He sounds well up for it though. “I knew that RDA had pulled out after my fight and I could feel that there was no-one else. Tony Ferguson is being Tony Ferguson, Beneil Dariush is signed to Ali Abdelaziz as well - I didn’t think he would take the fight either. So I knew I was the only real option. They called me up, and I’m a happy man. I’ll see you in Abu Dhabi.” “He’s got a bit of the Khabib mystique, it’s rubbed off on him. His last few performances have been fairly dominant. I’ve trained with Drew, and the way he fought Drew was pretty decisive. Even his last fight, he came out there, and it was a pretty dominant fight. There’s definite skill there, but I would love to be the first one to get out there and just make him look human, because I know we all are. They all bleed, they all get tired, they all get injured, they all get hurt, and I know I can put anyone’s lights out. So to everyone else he’s kind of a mysterious character that’s got a lot of mystique and invincibility. To me, he’s just another body.” - Dan Hooker It’s a big opportunity for him. If he can derail Makhachev at this stage it’ll immediately catapult him right back into the conversation with the top contenders. The contrast in styles here is interesting as well. You know what both will be looking to do. Makhachev’s gonna want to grapple, Hooker will wanna strike. But for as long as he’s been around, we haven’t really seen much of Hooker’s ground game. He must be confident if he’s up for jumping into this fight with no camp tailored to Makhachev’s style. Great fight. Alexander Volkov vs Marcin Tybura. Ehh. It’s alright, I suppose. As far as Heavyweights go, we could’ve got a lot worse than this. It’s not doing much for me but it’s not awful or anything. Both beat up Greg Hardy, so there’s that. Good fellas. And Hardy forgot his shinebox. Anyway, Volkov was starting to put together a nice little streak. He got the TKO over Walt Harris last October then followed up with another stoppage against Alistair Overeem in February. He was building momentum and the Overeem performance in particular was probably the best he’s ever looked in his career. It all got undone in June though, when Ciryl Gane picked him apart for 25 minutes. No shame there. Gane won the interim title in his next fight and looks like he’s gonna go on to become something special. But it really pissed on Volkov’s chips. Coming off the best win of his career, looking better than ever, and this fucking Gane comes along. If you’re Volkov you’ve got to be asking, why now? Gane the bastard. Tybura is 22-6 and on a 5 fight winning streak. Like I said, bashed up Greg The Wifebeater in December, which was lovely. But then bashed up Walt Harris in June, which wasn’t lovely. Not sure what happens here. On the strength of Volkov’s showing against Reem he should be able to get the better of this. But Volkov isn’t always the most consistent and the Gane loss might’ve set him back mentally. Li Jingliang vs Khamzat Chimaev. Here we go. Finally, Chimaev’s back. He’s kind of become a bit of a forgotten man due to the layoff but he was the talk of the MMA world in 2020. The hype on him was silly at times but he’s passed every test so far so who really knows? Maybe he’s everything he’s been cracked up to be. We should hopefully get some answers here, or at least more of a read on what he’s about, because Jingliang is no pushover. He’s 33 years old, a BJJ black-belt and has a MMA record of 18-6 with 13 finishes. He’s got solid stoppage wins over Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos, Dhiego Lima and David Zawada. But his biggest win came in his most recent fight in January, when he sparked Santiago Ponzinibbio in a round. It was a bad one as well. Ponz went down quick. Chimaev is the big prospect here. 9-0, 9 finishes, has utterly dominated every second of his UFC career so far. Oh and sorry to do this again but… Crumbled poor Gerald Meerschaert in just 17 seconds in his last fight. The thing is though, that was a year ago now. And he hasn’t just been out of action, he’s really suffered in his battle with long COVID from everything I’m reading. It was so bad that at one point he even said he was done with fighting. He was scheduled to fight Leon Edwards about 3 times at the start of this year but didn’t make it. It’s really knocked him about. Thankfully he’s turned the corner and should hopefully be good to go now. “I am still here, unfortunately for my opponents.” - Khamzat Chimaev Interesting times ahead. There’s been a ton of hype, Dana’s probably his biggest cheerleader. And with that there also comes the detractors. People saying he’s only hype, has beat bums etc. For one, we can’t say he’s a future champ or all hype yet. It’s too early. And he might be neither. Chances are he’ll fall somewhere in the middle. Also, he knocked out Gerald Meerschaert in seconds. Meerschaert is a 47 fight veteran and has won his 2 fights since by submission. Including derailing Makhmud Muradov who was on a tear previously. That win by Chimaev is looking better with every feel-good win our Gerry secures. It all remains to be seen but that’s the fun of it. On paper, Jingliang should be at least a test for Chimaev, if not more. Especially with Chimaev coming back from the time on the shelf. Really fun matchup this. I’ll say this though. If Chimaev does win, after this layoff and his health problems, and it looks anything like the massacres we’ve seen so far, then it’s time people shut the fuck up on the ‘hype job’ stuff. Whether he goes all the way or loses his next fight, something like that would prove he’s the real deal. Magomed Ankalaev vs Volkan Oezdemir. This should be a right banger. It was supposed to happen on that Brunson vs Till card. The London card that wasn’t in London. Can’t remember why it got delayed, I’m just happy it’s been rescheduled. People like to slag off the Light Heavyweight division but there’s still some cracking fights popping up. Ankalaev’s probably the real darkhorse of 205 for me. For the longest time, all the talk about the next wave of LHW prospects had centred around Dominick Reyes, Johnny Walker, Aleksandar Rakic and now most recently Jiri Prochazka. But Ankalaev has been sneaking up on us and racking up wins without much fanfare the whole time. He’s 15-1 with 9 knockouts and has won his last 6 in a row. His only loss was a submission against Paul Craig in the very last second of a fight he’d been winning comfortably. If he’d held on for literally one more second, he’d still be undefeated as I type this. He’s rebounded nicely since though. He beat Nikita Krylov in his last fight and absolutely murdered Ion Cutelaba in cold blood before that. Nasty bastard. And still young, he’s not long turned 29. He just needs that breakout win over a solid name to really catapult himself into the mix at the top end of the division. Oezdemir could be that guy but he certainly won’t be a willing stepping stone. He’s already mixed at the top of 205. He came into the UFC with some hype and was knocking heads off in seconds. Living up to that ‘No Time’ nickname. But he got bashed in his title shot against Daniel Cormier in 2018 and went on a bit of a slump after that before bouncing back with wins over Rakic and Latifi. His points loss to Reyes was questionable as well, a lot of people thought Volkan was hard done by with the judging that night if I recall correctly. He got brutally switched off by Jiri in his last fight though, so coming back against an animal like Ankalaev is a ballsy move. Should be fireworks. If Ankalaev wins I’d like to see him matched up with Rakic next. Let’s start pitting these up and comers against each other and see what’s what. Amanda Ribas vs Virna Jandiroba is one of my favourite fights on the card. Sounds mad considering how deep a card it is but I love this pairing. I’ve been a big fan of Ribas for a while now. One of the more likeable fighters on the roster these days for me. If someone said she was Junior Dos Santos’ little sister, I wouldn’t doubt it. They’ve both got that goofy, child like happiness to them. She can definitely fight as well. She’s coming off a bad knockout loss to Marina Rodriguez in January but I still think she can be a player at Strawweight. She’s still only 28 and she looked impressive in her wins over Paige VanZant and Randa Markos. But the win over Mackenzie Dern in 2019 was her best. And it’s aged well with how great Dern’s looked since. Ribas could still be a problem for most of the division, in my opinion. But that loss to Rodriguez was a big setback. Hopefully she can bounce back. But do I hope she can bounce back in this fight? I don’t know. In just 3 fights, Virna Jandiroba has quickly become an undercard favourite of mine. I didn’t see her Invicta stuff or her first couple of UFC fights. My introduction to her was her fight with Felice Herrig last August. She just completely went through her like a knife through butter. Dominated and submitted her in less than 2 minutes. Her grappling was beautiful to watch. Reminded me of early BJ Penn. She came up short against Mackenzie Dern on points after that but fought well. Then in June she battered Kanako Murata on the feet, tied her in knots on the ground and broke her arm, forcing the ref to call it off between rounds. Not sure how far she can go but she’s class. Awesome grappling, not the prettiest striking but she commits and it’s effective for her style. Thinking about how she could match up with Namajunas, Zhang, Jedrzejczyk and even Dern in a rematch, there’s so many potentially brilliant fights to make. This one with Ribas should be bags of fun as well. I hate that one of them has to lose though. It’s either gonna derail Jandiroba’s progress or set Ribas back even further. Hopefully they have one of those barnburners where they both come out of it with their stock raised regardless of the actual result. Zubaira Tukhugov vs Ricardo Ramos. Not that fussed but it’s a decent little fight. Tukhugov is 19-5-1 now and lost a decision to Hakeem Dawodu in his last fight. That was last September though so he’ll have been out over a year by the time he steps into the cage here. Nothing really sticks out in my memory about his fights. The main thing I remember him for is when he jumped the fence to give Conor McGregor a slap after the Khabib fight. Aside from that, I’m drawing a blank on him. Ramos is 15-3 and has been a bit hit and miss in the UFC. The highlight for him so far would be his spinning elbow KO against Aiemann Zahabi a few years back. He also subbed Luiz Garagorri (who I liked the look of at the time) in a round as well. Hopefully he’ll be able to get something enjoyable out of Tukhugov here. Albert Duraev vs Roman Kopylov. Not sure. Never seen Duraev and only seen Kopylov once. Pulling up Sherdog tells me that Duraev is 14-3 with 12 finishes. Couple of kind of recognisable names on his record but hasn’t exactly been beating a who’s who. But he’s coming in off a neck crank submission on DWCS a couple of weeks ago and here we are. Kopylov is 8-1 with 7 knockouts but got submitted by Karl Roberson in his UFC debut back in 2019 and hasn’t been seen since. So it’s a bit of a funny one this. Kopylov was unbeaten and on a KO streak before that loss but he’s been inactive for 2 years now. And Duraev is an unknown quantity as well. Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos vs Benoit St Denis. Could be worth a look. Dos Santos is a guy I was quite high on at one time. He was on a pretty strong run a few years ago and racked up some solid wins. Most notable being his spinning kick stoppage against Sean Strickland and his quick submission over Curtis Millender. He was on a 7 fight winning streak before Li Jingliang ended the fun in 2019. He lost a close decision to Muslim Salikhov last July and has sat out since. Fun fighter to watch usually. Never heard of this Benoit fella but a quick search tells me he’s 25 years old and undefeated at 8-0-1 with 7 finishes. Mostly fought in Brave FC recently and is nicknamed ‘God Of War’. Michal Oleksiejczuk vs Shamil Gamzatov. Could be a bit of a slobberknocker this. Oleksiejczuk is Polish, 26 years old and he’s 15-4-0-1 with 10 knockouts. He’s had a few half decent UFC wins. He beat Khalil Rountree back in 2017 as well but it got overturned to a NC because USADA caught him using something naughty. He’ll never be a contender, he’s nothing special from what I recall seeing of him. But he throws bombs with reckless abandon and there’s always room on a card for a nutcase like that. Gamzatov is undefeated at 14-0 with 10 finishes. It’s one of those records that doesn’t actually tell you much though. Half of it is unknowns and the few names I recognise aren’t that good. Still, he’s not lost so you can’t dismiss him. It’s how he does now that matters. As he steps up in levels. Oleksiejczuk isn’t amazing but at least he’s dangerous. We’ll see how Gamzatov approaches it. Makwan Amirkhani vs Lerone Murphy. I like this one. Murphy might be one of the more slept on UK fighters on the roster along with Arnold Allen. Undefeated at 10-0-1 with the only blemish being a split draw with Zubaira Tukhugov in 2019. Can’t recall that fight but maybe there was a case for Murphy winning it? Regardless, he’s on the rise and he’s looked really impressive in his last two wins over Ricardo Ramos and Douglas Silva De Andrade. He’s gradually climbing and another win here would see him well on his way to some of those more recognisable names at 145. Amirkhani is a bit hit and miss. Came into the UFC in style years ago with an 8 second flying knee KO in his debut. Likeable guy and has shown flashes of serious potential but he’s never quite been able to put it all together and go on a streak. I’d favour Murphy to get it done here but it could be a tough one if Amirkhani fancies it. Hu Yaozong vs Andre Petroski. Partridge shrug. I know barely anything about Petroski. And Hu Yaozong? More like Who Yaozong? Don’t recall him at all. Google is my friend. Petroski was on the latest season of TUF and got a TKO win over Micheal Gillmore at the Finale in August. He’s 6-1 with 6 finishes. He’s taking this on short notice, filling in for Alen Amedovski. Yaozong 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 he hasn’t been seen since. Tagir Ulanbekov vs Allan Nascimento. Bit of a shot in the dark here. Think I’ve seen Ulanbekov once, his UFC debut, but that’s it. He’s a teammate of Khabib’s and 13-1. Didn’t blow me away in his Octagon debut but he said himself it was his first time without Khabib’s old man in his corner and it took some getting used to. Curious to see how he looks here now he’s got that first fight and any ‘Octagon jitters’ out the way. Never heard of Nascimento. He’s from São Paulo, Brazil and has a record of 18-5 with 15 finishes, nearly all by submission. Edited October 29, 2021 by wandshogun09 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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