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UFC Vegas: Holloway vs Rodriguez - Nov 13 🇺🇸


wandshogun09
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After trips to Fight Island and MSG for 267 and 268, we’re back in Vegas at the Apex for this.

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Max Holloway vs Yair Rodriguez 

Ben Rothwell vs Marcos Rogerio De Lima

Felicia Spencer vs Leah Letson

Miguel Baeza vs Khaos Williams

Song Yadong vs Julio Arce 

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Thiago Moises vs Joel Alvarez

Cynthia Calvillo vs Andrea Lee

Sean Woodson vs Collin Anglin

Cortney Casey vs Liana Jojua

Marc Diakiese vs Rafael Alves

Kennedy Nzechukwu vs Da Un Jung 

 

I understand half of this will probably fall apart and I’m never confident that a Yair Rodriguez fight will actually make it to the cage but, in current form at least, this is quality for a Fight Night. A massive improvement on the last few Apex cards.

 

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Max Holloway vs Yair Rodriguez is your 5 round Featherweight main event. This is the second attempt this year for this one. They were all set to headline a card in July but Holloway pulled out with an injury. For once, it wasn’t Yair’s fault a fight of his got binned. Let’s hope it happens this time because what a fuck of a fight it is! I was half expecting the UFC to just abandon this matchup when it got cancelled and book them against different opponents but I’m glad they stuck with this because I absolutely love this pairing.

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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 him climb to the top of the sport over the last few 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 because he’s 0-2 to the current champion Alexander Volkanovski. 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 down to the champ would end your chances of getting a third fight but there was enough debate about the decision in the second fight that you could easily spin a trilogy out of it. I personally had Volk winning and I wasn’t on board with the cries of robbery but it was definitely closer than their first meeting and I’d be well 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. A proper beating up there with the one he gave Ortega a few years back. And this was one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen in a fight.

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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!” And there was a reason for it. There’d been some talk from Kattar going in that he was the better boxer and how he was Holloway’s senior and Holloway was just a ‘freshman’. Basically implying that he was gonna big brother Max in there. Something about that talk seemed to catch Holloway’s attention and it didn’t go down well.

“Calvin was putting out the 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 

So Holloway was out to prove a point that night and Kattar paid the price. He’s been out ever since and only just got his next fight booked for January. So that’ll be a whole year he took off after Max battered him. Ortega was out nearly 2 years after getting wrecked by him as well. When Max Holloway is coming in with a point to prove and decides he’s gonna make an example out of you, it’s a beating that takes a chunk out of your career.

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Yair Rodriguez is almost a mystery at this point. Undeniably talented but he’s always disappearing. He’ll fight, look great, then you don’t see him for a year or something. It’s weird. He had so much potential coming off winning TUF: Latin America years ago and was on a tear for a bit after that. He got beat up by Frankie Edgar in 2017 and since then he’s been in and out doing his disappearing acts. He fought once in 2018, twice in 2019, but hasn’t fought at all since. It feels like he’s squandering his prime years. He’s still relatively young. He’s just turned 29 and with all the breaks it’s not like he’s got a ton of miles on him. But it’s odd. Some of the inactivity was down to genuine injuries but then there was other stuff going on. Like that time he briefly got sacked because he supposedly turned down every single fight the UFC were offering him. Even his most recent sabbatical, he was being lined up to face Zabit Magomedsharipov last year but it got scrapped twice on his side. The first time was an ankle injury, fair enough. The second time though, he got a 6 month USADA suspension because they couldn’t find him when they wanted to test him and he didn’t tell them where he was. Just…shite like that. He has so much talent but the fucker can’t seem to get out of his own way. 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.

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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 mentioned there, it’s barmy. One second to go! He also looked great in the Stephens rematch last time out. But like I said, that was 2019 and he’s been gone since. Hopefully he gets his shit together soon and stays more active. He seems a bit of a knob but it’d be a shame to see him just waste his entire prime. I think he’s catching a beating here either way though. Even if Yair had been fighting 3 times a year for the last few years and was as 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 it ending up looking similar to Max’s masterclasses against Ortega and Kattar. I reckon Yair will hold his own and have some moments early but in the end I reckon he’ll wilt under the constant pressure and the million punches coming at him and he’ll probably leave with a face like hamburger and piss off for another 2 years again. Great fight though, if it actually happens this time.

 

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Ben Rothwell vs Marcos Rogerio De Lima. Ugh. Not a clue why this, of all fights, was chosen as the co-main event when they have at least two better options. Oh well. Typical Heavyweight plodfest is what I’m expecting here. Rothwell’s been around forever. One of the last big lugs standing from his era of HWs. He’ll be 40 by the time he steps into the cage for this one and this’ll be his 53rd MMA fight. He’s tough and experienced and all that but he’s definitely seen better days. He’s a far cry from the guy who knocked out Alistair Overeem and submitted Josh Barnett, although he got had by USADA around that time as well so there’s questions on his biggest wins. De Lima’s just a big slug. Never rated him. He’s coming off a win over Maurice Greene but he’s lost every time he’s faced anyone of real substance. Rothwell should be winning this. Even 40 year old, 2021 Big Ben should have enough left to be beating this guy. If he loses, it’s probably time to call it a day because De Lima’s cack.

 

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Felicia Spencer vs Leah Letson. Don’t know. Quite like Spencer. She’s 8-3, which isn’t the best, but two of those losses were to Amanda Nunes and Cris Cyborg. And she went the distance with both, which is a moral victory in itself. She’s obviously tough as fuck. Mostly a grappler from what I remember and her most notable UFC win to date was her first round submission over Megan Anderson. She lost a split decision to Norma Dumont in her last fight though, which doesn’t exactly bode well, in my opinion. But we’ll see how she bounces back. Zero memory of Letson but Google tells me she’s 5-1 and was on TUF a few years ago but hasn’t fought since 2018 for some reason. Dunno. Hoping Spencer wins. She can’t afford another L here. It’s one thing losing to Nunes and Cyborg, when you start losing to Dumont and especially if she loses to Letson who’s been inactive for 3 years, it’s gonna be hard to rebound from that.

 

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Miguel Baeza vs Khaos Williams is this card’s ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** and I can’t wait. Didn’t even know this was booked until now but it’s gonna be absolute mayhem. Baeza’s been looking like one of the real standout newcomers since he signed in 2019. He went 10-0 with 8 finishes right out the gate in his MMA career and stopped Matt Brown and Takashi Sato in POTN winning fashion. He tasted defeat for the first time in June, losing a decision to Santiago Ponzinibbio. But it was a real barnburner, one of the best fights this year for me. So it wasn’t like his stock dropped massively. Coming back from his first loss straight into another firefight with a knockout artist like Khaos just shows the mentality of him. The loss to Ponzinibbio clearly hasn’t shaken his confidence. Khaos burst through the UFC’s doors with KOs over Alex Morono and Abdul Razak Alhassan in 57 seconds combined! Some introduction to the big stage. He lost on points to Michel Pereira but returned to winning ways in his last fight against Matthew Semelsberger. I don’t wanna jinx it but I’d be amazed if this isn’t at least ‘good’ and probably should be way more than that.

 

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Song Yadong vs Julio Arce. Yadong meets Arce. Make your own punchline for that one. Seriously, this is a great fight. Could easily see these two stealing the show. Yadong’s been touted as one of the most promising young prospects in the Bantamweight division. He hasn’t had it all his own way in the UFC but he’s only 23 years old and has already managed to rack up wins over the likes of Marlon Vera and Casey Kenney. Exciting to watch as well. Even in defeat against Kyler Phillips, it was such a good fight and you could see the potential there. He’s not the finished product but he looks like someone who could become a problem down the road if he can put everything together. Arce isn’t a world beater himself but, like Yadong, he’s got such a fan friendly style.

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There he is kicking Julian Erosa’s head off. He’s also got a win over Dan Ige and just got the TKO over Andre Ewell in his last fight in July. His only recent losses were split decisions. I think the ingredients are there for a tremendous scrap between these two.

 

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Thiago Moises vs Joel Alvarez. Might be decent. Moises was starting to put together a nice little streak before running into Islam Makhachev in July. It was a big opportunity for Moises, his first UFC main event, but he was no match for Makhachev. He gave it a go but got submitted in the 4th round. He’d beat Alexander Hernandez, Bobby Green and Michael Johnson before that though. He’s no pushover. He just came up against a beast on the rise. I’m vague on Alvarez but he’s got a respectable 18-2 record, all finishes, 16 by submission. My only recollection of him is when he submitted Joseph Duffy in what ultimately ended up being Duffy’s retirement fight.

 

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Cynthia Calvillo vs Andrea Lee. Not arsed. Neither are bad fighters but it’s just not a fight that I’m into. I don’t particularly enjoy watching either fight and I neither like or dislike either enough to be invested in it on that level. It was supposed to be Jessica Eye against Lee but Eye dropped out…

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Sorry, don’t know what happened there. Calvillo steps in on a few weeks notice. Gutsy move, to be fair. She’s coming off consecutive losses and just got put away in a round by Jessica Andrade at UFC 266. Suppose if nothing else, jumping in here gets her some goodwill with UFC management and extends her stay on the roster maybe. She really needs a win here though. Lee’s had a rough run of it in the UFC herself but finally snapped a 3 fight losing streak in her last fight, with a pretty sweet triangle/armbar combo on Antonina Shevchenko. Maybe it’ll be a pleasant surprise but my expectations aren’t exactly high.

 

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Sean Woodson vs Collin Anglin might be alright. Woodson’s had some entertaining scraps on the prelims since he was signed. The best being his losing effort against Julian Erosa last year. He’s been good to watch though, solid striker. I remember Anglin but only for getting clobbered by Melsik Baghdasaryan’s headkick in July. I think Baghdasaryan might be one to watch though so that loss mightn’t age so badly in time.

 

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Cortney Casey vs Liana Jojua. I think this one’s been booked a couple of times and been delayed. I feel like I’ve previewed this matchup more than once. Not doing much for me at all this. From what I’ve seen of both, there isn’t a whole lot of upside there. Casey is 9-9 as I type this, and coming off back-to-back losses. Not good. She actually has a few decent wins scattered throughout her record but she’s been wildly inconsistent. In fairness, she’s had a few split decisions go against her so maybe her shite record shouldn’t look quite so shite but whatever. Tell you who doesn’t look shite though…

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Liana Jojua there. She’s 26 years old and from Georgia. She’s not doing as bad as Casey, yet, but she’s a lacklustre 8-4 and has already been TKO’d twice in her short UFC stint. These two are going nowhere. I suspect Jojua will probably wind up as a future opponent for Paige VanZant in that Bare Knuckle circus before long, just because the poster will look pretty. I don’t know, maybe I’m being harsh. She’s young enough to maybe turn things around. She needs to be getting a move on though and she certainly doesn’t need to be losing to 9-9 Casey here.

 

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Marc Diakiese vs Rafael Alves. Solid fight this. Been a while since we’ve seen Diakiese in there. He last fought in July 2020, losing on points to Rafael Fiziev. Before that he’d won back-to-back fights against Lando Vannata and Joseph Duffy. It’s been so stop/start though. I remember his stunning 30 second KO over Teemu Packalen on one of the London cards a few years ago and he looked like a can’t miss prospect back then.

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He was undefeated, in his early 20s and seemed to have all the potential in the world but it just fizzled out. He’s still only 28 but there’s serious work to be done at this point. If he can stay more active then I think he could get back on track because he’s certainly got skills. Haven’t seen a great deal of Alves but he seems to be a bit of a journeyman. 31 years old with a record of 19-10 and he’s coming off a decision loss to Damir Ismagulov in his UFC debut in May. From my vague recollection he’s tough and scrappy but it’s the the kind of fight I’d expect Diakiese to win.

 

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Kennedy Nzechukwu vs Da Un Jung. It’s jerking the curtain but this might just be the sleeper on this card for me. Nzechukwu wasn’t a guy that was on my radar at all until recently but his last two fights have been great fun. He was losing handily to both Carlos Ulberg and Danilo Marques and rallied back with stoppages in both fights and got himself FOTN and POTN bonuses. Not a bad start to his year. He’s 9-1 now with the only loss being against Paul Craig a couple of years ago. He’s won his last 3 now so he’s coming in with some momentum. I like him. Jung I’m a bit less familiar with but he’s doing alright for himself. 27 years old with a record of 14-2-1 with 12 finishes, mostly knockouts. Just beat William Knight, who’s an absolute tank, in his last fight as well. Not a bad matchup at all this.

 

Love this card. If it stays intact, which I’m guessing will be too much to ask but let’s try to stay glass half full. Main event’s class, Holland vs Daukaus 2 should be great and I love the sound of Baeza vs Khaos and Yadong vs Arce. After a series of lacklustre Fight Nights, this looks the dogs bollocks. 

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Edited by wandshogun09
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Days away then. It’s understandably been forgotten with all the buzz the last couple of weeks surrounding the 267 and 268 cards. But this is this Saturday! 

The card’s been hit by some of the inevitable pullouts that we’ve all come to expect. The worst of which being the Kevin Holland vs Kyle Daukaus rematch falling apart. I’ve updated the opening post with the latest card and bout order. Don’t know what Rothwell vs De Lima is doing in the co-main spot but whatever. One of the best Fight Night cards we’ve had in a while for me. Holloway vs Rodriguez, Yadong vs Arce and Baeza vs Khaos is a good night of violence by anyone’s standards. 

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As much as I like Holloway, I just don't see any version of him that beats Volkanovski. There's occasions where a fighter just has another fighters number, and no matter how good the challenger looks against others in the division they just aren't beating the champion.

I put Usman/Covington in that bracket, and Volkanovski/Holloway.

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1 minute ago, David said:

As much as I like Holloway, I just don't see any version of him that beats Volkanovski. There's occasions where a fighter just has another fighters number, and no matter how good the challenger looks against others in the division they just aren't beating the champion.

I put Usman/Covington in that bracket, and Volkanovski/Holloway.

I'm still not sure if that was the case with Barao/Dillashaw, or if it was simply Barao was due to go straight off the cliff.

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1 minute ago, Carbomb said:

I'm still not sure if that was the case with Barao/Dillashaw, or if it was simply Barao was due to go straight off the cliff.

Nah, I wouldn't say that's comparable. I'm more meaning where a challenger is a level or so above everyone else in the division, but just can't crack the champion. If Barao had lost to Dillashaw, went away and won a load of fights on the bounce only to fight Dillashaw a second time and lose again, then yeah, maybe.

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1 minute ago, David said:

Nah, I wouldn't say that's comparable. I'm more meaning where a challenger is a level or so above everyone else in the division, but just can't crack the champion. If Barao had lost to Dillashaw, went away and won a load of fights on the bounce only to fight Dillashaw a second time and lose again, then yeah, maybe.

Yeh, it was just the fact that Barao hadn't been beaten since his debut, and didn't look remotely beatable for the most part, but Dillashaw completely outclassed him.

But when you put it that way, obvious one has to be DC/Jones. Cormier for ages had the beating of everyone except Wanker Jon.

Other than that, nearest I can think of is possibly Blaydes/Ngannou (although that wasn't a championship scenario) - it seemed for ages that Big Fran was the only one Blaydes couldn't beat, and on paper it just didn't make sense given Ngannou's apparent weakness against skilled grapplers.

Or maybe near-prime Teixeira/Jones?

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Yeah there’s been a few cases of that over the years. Maybe the ultimate example is Joseph Benavidez. A great fighter but he was the ‘silver medal guy’ for his whole career just because there was always that one guy in his division that he just couldn’t beat. In WEC it was Dominick Cruz, in the UFC it was Demetrious Johnson and Deiveson Figueiredo. If those 3 weren’t around, Benavidez likely has at least one long reign as champ. 

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The Baeza vs Khaos fight got bumped up to the main card by the way, as a result of Daukaus vs Dolidze getting scrapped. Not a bad card at all this. And even better that it’s on at a nice time for us. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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