Paid Members wandshogun09 Posted November 11, 2021 Paid Members Share Posted November 11, 2021 (edited) Another one for the Apex in Vegas. Just over a week away. ESPN+ MAIN CARD Ketlen Vieira vs Miesha Tate Michael Chiesa vs Sean Brady Joanne Wood vs Taila Santos Rani Yahya vs Kyung Ho Kang Adrian Yanez vs Davey Grant ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS Pat Sabatini vs Tucker Lutz Rafa Garcia vs Natan Levy Loma Lookboonmee vs Lupita Godinez Cody Durden vs Aori Qileng Shayilan Nuerdanbieke vs Sean Soriano Luana Pinheiro vs Sam Hughes Not a bad set of fights at all there. Main event’s alright, co-main’s better, Yanez vs Grant is a cracker and there’s enough sprinkled throughout the rest of the card to hold my interest. Good stuff. Ketlen Vieira vs Miesha Tate is your 5 round main event on this one. Decent fight. It was originally booked to headline a card in October but Miesha got COVID forcing the delay, and here we are. Of course, Tate returned in July after 4 and a half years out of the cage and beat Marion Reneau. This’ll be a step up from that but there are questions on both for me that hopefully this matchup will answer. At one point I thought Vieira was genuinely one of the best prospects at Bantamweight. Let’s face it, prospects are fairly thin on the ground in the women’s 135 division but I thought Vieira showed some legit promise. She’s a black-belt in BJJ under Andre Pederneiras, the man who guided Jose Aldo’s HOF career. She’s also a black-belt in Judo. In MMA she went a perfect 10-0 to start her career. Made her UFC debut in 2016 and got off to a solid start with notable wins over former title challengers Sara McMann and Cat Zingano. Then it happened. She suffered a bad knee injury and was out for nearly 2 years. Since she returned in late 2019, she hasn’t looked the same. She got knocked out by Irene Aldana in her first fight back after the layoff, beat Sijara Eubanks which was meh, then missed weight and lost a decision against Yana Kunitskaya who I’ve never particularly rated. I don’t know. Maybe Vieira was never anything special but she looked like she was on the right track before the knee injury to me. She’s just turned 30, 11-2 record. There’s time to turn things around and this is a big opportunity for her against one of the more popular names in women’s MMA. But she’s gonna have to do better than she has in her last few fights and she certainly can’t be missing weight again. Miesha Tate’s been through a lot of ups and downs in her career. Former UFC champion, former Strikeforce champion, had that rivalry with Ronda Rousey, a bunch of tough scraps and she came through to win a lot of them. Even away from the cage, she’s gone through a lot of changes over the last few years. She was with Bryan Caraway for years and that sounds like it was a shitty relationship. She finally binned him off and has since had 2 kids with MMA fighter Johnny Nunez. She had that position with ONE for a bit. Battled depression etc. So it was nice to see her return in July go well. She got the TKO over Marion Reneau in the third round and looked pretty good considering the massive layoff. I saw some getting carried away and talking about her winning the belt back, beating Amanda Nunes etc. Not having that. It’s important to put that Reneau win into perspective. Reneau was 44 years old and had already announced that she’d be retiring after that fight, regardless of the result. Tate had said going in that Dana was hesitant about her comeback so I thought them putting her against Reneau was obviously them being cautious, and rightly so really. A case of seeing how she looked before matching her up with anyone ranked. Vieira is ranked #7 currently and despite her going through a rough spell of late, she’s a real test. So this should be more of a true gauge on what Tate’s got at this point. She looks in the best shape of her career physically, she’s shredded. But she’s 35 years old now and, as nice as it was to see her get that moment of coming back and winning, I didn’t see anything in the fight that suggests she’s made significant improvements. And at 35, you’re not really going to. Interesting one this. Vieira is definitely a tougher fight than Reneau was. And this one being a 5 rounder could really be the true test for Miesha. She hasn’t gone into a 5th round since she won the title off Holly Holm back in 2016. On the flipside though, Vieira has been floundering recently and she’s never done more than a 3 rounder so if this goes long, those ‘championship rounds’ will be new territory for her. If Tate wins this one, I’ve got a feeling she’ll be rushed straight into a title fight. I don’t think she’s ready for that at all, and let’s face it, she might never be ready for another Nunes bludgeoning. But with Vieira ranked #7, a win here puts Tate just hovering around the Top 5. And of the current Top 5, De Randamie and Holm have already lost to Nunes, Pena is about to get bashed by Nunes and Ladd can’t make the weight. A win for Tate here probably sees her get the next title shot. There’s a reason they’ve spotlighted this as a main event and put her against a ranked opponent who’s on a slump and looks beatable. Michael Chiesa vs Sean Brady is a cracking fight. To be honest, I’d rather have seen this as the main event myself but whatever. Chiesa has looked a bit of a beast since moving up to Welterweight. So much so that I don’t get how he made 155 as long as he did. He probably should’ve moved up to 170 a few fights sooner. He’s coming off a submission loss to Vicente Luque in August but before that he’d rattled off 4 straight wins at 170 over Condit, Sanchez, Dos Anjos and Magny. Exciting to watch as well. He’s never been the type of grappler to just take you down and watch the clock. He’s aggressive and always going for a finish, or something that might lead to a finish. It’s to his detriment sometimes, him overcommitting to going for subs is partly what led to him getting choked by Luque. But he’s fun to watch. And Brady is no joke. 28 years old out of Philadelphia. Home of Joe Frazier, Rocky Balboa and the piss reeking bingo hall known as the ECW Arena. He’s undefeated at 14-0 with 7 finishes and is a BJJ black-belt under Daniel Gracie. He’s gone under the radar a little bit and I think it’s because he kind of came in quietly. His first couple of UFC fights went the distance and he didn’t blow anyone away. He seems to have found his feet now though and he’s subbed Christian Aguilera and Jake Matthews in his last two. This is his big breakthrough opportunity. Saw this on Twitter when the fight was announced, Chiesa and Brady’s tattoos… 😂 Maybe a foreshadowing of what’s to come? Brady by guillotine? I could see it, to be honest. Like I said, Chiesa does go 100% all in when he’s going for submissions. You’d think he’d have learned his lesson from the Luque fight but it’s gonna be hard for him to switch that instinct off to jump on potential subs and Brady has the grappling chops to where he could make him pay. It’s a step up for Brady though. Chiesa has been in with some of the best at 170 and 155 and done alright for himself. And we’ve never seen Brady against an opponent who can grapple like Chiesa can. Liking this matchup a lot. Joanne (Calder) Wood vs Taila Santos. So yeah, gone with the ‘Calder’. JoJo recently tied the knot with her MMA coach/fiancée John Wood. So she’s now just…Joanne Wood. Solid fight but as a Calderwood, sorry, Wood fan (not in that way!), I don’t have a good feeling about it. I’ve long said I’ve felt like Santos is a bit of a darkhorse in the Flyweight division. Not really sure why she doesn’t get any further along, or even get talked about, but she’s 18-1 now and coming off 3 wins over Molly McCann, Gillian Robertson and Roxanne Modafferi. The one loss was a split decision against Mara Romero Borella in 2019. I think I’ve said it a few times on here but having watched both, for the life of me I can’t fathom how Santos lost to someone as mediocre as Borella. Can’t remember if I saw the actual fight but maybe it being a split is relevant, maybe it was a dodgy decision or something. Anyway, she’s been winning since. She’s just been taking a lot of sideways steps up until now. This finally feels like more of an opportunity for her though. JoJo’s been a favourite of mine for years. In all honesty, more for her personality than her actual fights. I like her Muay Thai style as well, old ‘Dr Kneevil’, but it’s more a case of rooting for her because she’s so likeable. I think she’s losing this one but you never really know what you’re getting from one fight to the next with her. I think I actually had her winning the Lauren Murphy fight last time and Murphy got the title shot off that so fuck knows? Got a feeling this’ll be Santos’ breakthrough win though. I expect to see her in with Shevchenko sometime in 2022. Rani Yahya vs Kyung Ho Kang. Not really sure what to think about this one. Haven’t seen a whole lot of Kang and he’s been inactive now since 2019. He’s 17-8-0-1 and is coming off 3 wins but, again, hasn’t fought in 2 years. His Wikipedia page does have his nicknames listed as ‘Typhoon’ and ‘Mr Perfect’ though. Got to be a UKFF favourite based on that alone, right? Yahya’s one of the real OGs of the lighter weight classes though. Often under-appreciated. He’s 37 years old now, he’s never making a title run. But he’s still a bit of a handful and, even now, I doubt there’s a long line of 135ers relishing the thought of fighting him. He’s one of those high risk/low reward guys, a real crafty veteran with world champion level BJJ, slightly underrated striking and toughness with it. This’ll be his 40th professional MMA fight and he’s pretty much been in with everyone from prime KID Yamamoto to Mark Hominick to Joseph Benavidez etc. On paper, it’s not an easy return for our Perfect-Plexing Korean buddy at all. Adrian Yanez vs Davey Grant opens up the main card and it’s ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** easy. Should be an absolute belter this. Yanez has been one of the finds of the last year or so for me. Came in off DWCS but so has seemingly two thirds of the current roster. They’re everywhere these Dana Contenders. Ten a penny. If it wasn’t for @Zebra Kid Mark hyping up Yanez, I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention but I’m glad I did. He’s 14-3 now, 3-0 in the UFC so far. And it’s been all killer, no filler. A headkick KO in his debut, a lightning fast counter right KO, then a body shot flurry TKO in his last fight. Three wins, three finishes, three POTN bonuses. That’s him bringing the pain to Randy Costa in his last fight in July. He showed a lot in that fight actually because Costa was giving him hell for much of the first round. Jabbing the head off him and Yanez looked flustered. But he regrouped and hurt Costa, then put him away early in the second. Not sure how much further he can go, the Bantamweight division is jammed full of little savages. But at the very least he just adds depth and brings the excitement. Big fan of him. Also a fan of Davey Grant though. Ever since he was on that Rousey vs Tate season of TUF all those years ago and came off as one of the soundest fuckers on earth. He had a ton of setbacks after TUF with injuries and stuff, missed a huge chunk of what should’ve been his prime fighting years. But he’s been able to stay healthy and active lately and he’s been delivering banger after banger. If you didn’t see his knockout wins over Martin Day and Jonathan Martinez, get on them. Great fights with better finishes. He lost to Marlon Vera last time out but it was another barnburner and they got FOTN. Don’t wanna jinx it but I’ll be amazed if this doesn’t win a bonus of some kind on this card. Shame one of them has to lose but it should be fantastic to watch. Pat Sabatini vs Tucker Lutz. Dunno. Not familiar enough with either but I remember Sabatini looking good breezing through his last fight with a quick heel hook. He’s 15-3 with 12 finishes, mostly submissions. Can’t remember seeing Lutz fight but he’s 12-1 with 8 finishes and beat Kevin Aguilar on points in his UFC debut. Not a lot to go on really but decent enough records and both have done well so far in the UFC. Doesn’t sound like a bad piece of matchmaking. Rafa Garcia vs Natan Levy. Didn’t have a lot of interest in this at first glance until I did a bit of research. Garcia is 11-2, coming off back-to-back losses in the UFC but I remember watching his debut against Nasrat Haqparast a few months back and thinking he was hard as nails. He’d stepped in last minute for it as well, replacing someone. He’s got off to a cack start in the UFC but maybe there’s better to come. It’s Levy who’s got me intrigued here though. He’s a French born Israeli, 30 years old and undefeated so far at 6-0 with 3 submissions. His UFC debut has been delayed a bit, it was meant to happen a while back. He was on DWCS last November, his other fights were all in LFA. Interesting that his MMA finishes so far all came via submission because his background before MMA was all striking. He’s a black-belt in both Kung Fu and Karate. Definitely one that might make the prelims worth checking out. Loma Lookboonmee vs Lupita Godinez. OK then. This was supposed to be Lookboonmee against Cheyanne Buys but Buys just pulled out. I think I prefer this anyway actually. Really enjoy watching Loma fight. I have my doubts she can advance that much in the Strawweight division, just because she’s such a striking specialist and I think she’ll always struggle with the grapplers. But she’s only 25, she’s got some time, maybe I’m wrong. She’s 6-2 now and coming off a couple of decision wins. Godinez stepping in on short notice again. All credit to her but it’s a risky move. She’s also 6-2, former LFA Strawweight champ. She’s 1-2 in the UFC so far but we’re yet to see her at her best. She lost by split decision to Jessica Penne in her debut but took it on a week’s notice, then her next opponent pulled out and she armbarred the replacement in a round, then she turned right back around and fought a few days later and lost another decision against Luana Carolina. It’s admirable that she’s willing to jump in last minute like this but it’s really fucking up her record. She’d be wise to go the grappling route in this one or it’s likely gonna be another L for her. Cody Durden vs Aori Qileng. Not fussed about this Durden chap. He’s 11-3 and all I remember him for is him getting flying triangled in a round by Jimmy Flick in Flick’s first (and last) UFC fight last December. I’ll give it a look though for Aori Qileng. I mentioned it recently when Jeff Molina was fighting but if you haven’t seen Qileng vs Molina from the UFC 261 prelims in April, you need to right that wrong. Before Gaethje and Chandler tore the house down at UFC 268, I honestly think this might’ve been my frontrunner for FOTY. Bloody loved it. Qileng lost but it was such a crazy fun fight that I think I’m a fan of both him and Molina for life now. Especially because it was my first time seeing both. First impressions go a long way and they left an lasting impression on me with that scrap. Molina war aside, Qileng is 28 years old with an 18-8 record and is nicknamed ‘The Mongolian Murderer’, for fuck’s sake! Shayilan Nuerdanbieke vs Sean Soriano opens up the Fight Pass prelims according to the current bout order. Going in dark on this one because I can’t recall this Shayilan fella at all. Apparently he’s 27 years old, 19-7 and made his UFC debut in May, losing on points to Josh Culibao. I know Soriano, he’s been knocking around for a while. Fought the likes of Tatsuya Kawajiri and Chas Skelly years ago but lost. Loved his last fight with Christos Giagos but, again, he lost. He’s 14-7 now and very much a journeyman at this point. Aside from a TKO win over Noad Lahat earlier this year on a UAE Warriors card, he’s lost to every known fighter he’s faced in his career. Luana Pinheiro vs Sam Hughes. Not exactly counting the days to this but it might be alright. Was initially supposed to be Pinheiro against Jessica Penne, not sure why Penne’s out but here we are. Pinheiro made her Octagon debut against Randa Markos in May and it was a right weird one. Randa hit her with an illegal upkick before the end of the first round and that was that. All sorts of speculation and doubts were cast on whether Pinheiro was over-exaggerating. I remember even Paul Felder was very sceptical on the commentary on the night. If she was faking then it worked because it was officially declared a win by DQ for her. Hopefully there’ll be no controversy this time. She’s 9-1 with 7 finishes. She might have some potential. Hughes has had a rough start in the UFC. I remember when she got signed there was a lot of positivity about it and high hopes but it hasn’t panned out at all. She’s 5-3 now and lost her last two against Tecia Torres and Loma Lookboonmee. They’re probably hoping Pinheiro hands her another loss here and she’ll be gone. And that’s your lot. Until the inevitable pullouts start. Edited November 20, 2021 by wandshogun09 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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