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UFC Vegas: Hermansson vs Strickland - Feb 5 🇺🇸


wandshogun09
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Posted (edited)

Back at the Apex. Again.

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ESPN+ MAIN CARD
Jack Hermansson vs Sean Strickland 

Punahele Soriano vs Nick Maximov

Shavkat Rakhmonov vs Carlston Harris

Brendan Allen vs Sam Alvey

Bryan Battle vs Tresean Gore

Julian Erosa vs Steven Peterson

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Miles Johns vs John Castaneda

Hakeem Dawodu vs Mike Trizano

Marc-Andre Barriault vs Chidi Njokuani 

Alexis Davis vs Julija Stoliarenko

Danilo Marques vs Jailton Almeida

Jason Witt vs Phil Rowe 

Denys Bondar vs Malcolm Gordon 

 

Not a great card but the main event’s good and there’s just enough on the undercard to hold my interest. As always, that won’t be the final bout order so take no notice. I’ll edit this post as and when the inevitable and multiple card changes happen.
 

 

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Jack Hermansson vs Sean Strickland is your Middleweight main event. Good stuff. Sweden’s Hermansson is one of the better fighters in the division for me. He’s had a couple of hiccups but he’s been mixing at a high level and I’ve long felt like he’s one of the real darkhorses at 185. He’s solid all-around but his grappling is his biggest strength and he managed to beat the likes of Thales Leites, Gerald Meerschaert, David Branch and Jacare Souza on the way up. The Jacare win was really his coming out party. He’s gone 2-2 in his last 4, so not the best, but the two losses were to Jared Cannonier and Marvin Vettori who are also top contenders. The two wins were a quick heel hook finish on Kelvin Gastelum and a complete domination of Edmen Shahbazyan, who was one of the hottest prospects in the sport not too long ago.

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‘The Joker’ is legit and, although I don’t see him ever quite getting over that final hurdle and actually winning the big one, I genuinely think he’s got the skill set to give pretty much anyone in the division problems on a good night. Got a feeling Strickland will probably be favoured by most but I don’t really agree. He’s not a bad fighter at all and over the last couple of years he’s put a decent little win streak together. I think his recent decision to ramp up the shit talking and trying to be controversial all the time has some buying into him a bit more than they usually would. Like I say, he’s not shit. 24-3, on a 5 fight winning streak and just beat Uriah Hall. Not bad. But I’m not convinced on him as a top end Middleweight. And I could be off the mark but I think he might just have bitten off more than he can chew with this one. Maybe there’s a bit of wishful thinking there on my part because I like Hermansson and I find Strickland pure cringe. But there’s no question that Hermansson is the more tested against high level opposition. I hope Strickland gets fucking throttled. He’s like a pound shop Colby Covington, minus a lot of the actual skill.

 

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Punahele Soriano vs Nick Maximov. Intrigued by this one. I’ve been quite high on Soriano since his UFC debut a couple of years ago. It was another one of those debuts that made a hell of a first impression. He came in off DWCS and I didn’t have any real expectations when I saw him coming out for his curtain jerker against Oskar Piechota on the undercard of Usman vs Covington 1 in December 2019. 3 minutes later though…

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Yeah, I was on board. He followed that with another first round stoppage over heavy handed Serbian Dusko Todorovic, taking his record to a perfect 8-0 with 7 finishes. He hit his first roadblock in July, losing for the first time on points against Brendan Allen. It was a cracking fight though and, although he lost, he answered some questions. When a fighter comes in unbeaten and starts blasting sods away in a round, you never know if they’re just a front runner who’ll fold when things get nasty in there. Well, Soriano certainly didn’t crumble. Allen hit him with what seemed like every strike in the book, some really vile body kicks spring to mind, and he wouldn’t go away. Hawaiian fighters are made of different stuff aren’t they? You can go right back to Cabbage Correira. Tough bastards. I’d like to see him get back in the win column here but on paper they’re doing him no favours. Maximov is a teammate of the Diaz brothers, 7-0 with 5 finishes and from everything I’ve read he’s meant to be quite the grappler. Which is something we haven’t really seen put to the test when it comes to Soriano yet. Coming off his first loss, it could be a tricky one but we’ll see.

 

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Shavkat Rakhmonov vs Carlston Harris is this card’s ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** and has really caught my eye. Mainly because of Rakhmonov, who I really think could be a player at 170 in the not too distant future. He’s from Kazakhstan, undefeated at 14-0 with 7 knockouts and 7 submissions, former M-1 Global Welterweight champ.

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Looks legit so far. Made his UFC debut on the Khabib vs Gaethje undercard in late 2020 and they didn’t exactly give him a soft touch for his first trip to the Octagon. They chucked him straight in with Alex Oliveira. Not a world beater but a tough and crafty veteran who’s had some wars and some strong wins in the UFC. Rakhmonov passed the test with flying colours, putting ‘Cowboy’ away in a round. Then in June, he took on Michel Prazeres and subbed him without even getting the hooks in.

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Granted, Prazeres was much shorter in height and no spring chicken at 39 years old but he was also a tricky veteran and a high level BJJ black-belt. For Rakhmonov to finish him the way he did was mega impressive. Less familiar with Harris but he’s looked good from what I’ve seen so far. He’s from Guyana, 17-4 with 10 finishes and has got rid of Christian Aguilera and Impa Kasanganay so far in the UFC, both inside a round. I’ve hyped up Rakhmonov a lot there and I do think he’s the more promising of the two but, honestly, Harris could have the tools to give him his first proper test here. Looking forward to seeing how this one plays out.

 

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Brendan Allen vs Sam Alvey. Here we go again. I don’t wish anyone out of a job and I know it’s became a bit of a running joke on social media but seriously, I find it baffling how Alvey has kept his spot on the roster all this time. The fucker’s 2-7-1 in his last 10, hasn’t actually won a fight in over 3 years and is usually dull to watch into the bargain. I could understand if he was like a low level Justin Gaethje and was having bangers all the time but he’s rarely any fun to watch. If the day comes during our lifetimes when an asteroid hits earth and wipes us out, I’m convinced the only survivors will be cockroaches and fucking Smilin’ Sam. There’s no getting rid of him. I think he’s losing another one here as well. Allen steps in on late notice, filling in for Phil Hawes. Allen’s someone I’ve been quite high on for a while now. He might not be an obvious standout prospect and he’s certainly had his setbacks but he’s got a lot of skills on the feet and on the ground and I think he’s got a ton of potential. Only just turned 26 in December as well so there’s time. I don’t know, maybe he’ll fizzle out and amount to nothing but I get the feeling he could be a bit of a slow burner who gets there in the end, like a Dustin Poirier type. Maybe. He’s 17-5 now and his losses were all to tough opposition, some of them early in his career. And he’s got wins over, and has finished, the likes of Kevin Holland, Tom Breese and Karl Roberson as well as points wins in barnburners over Kyle Daukaus and Punahele Soriano. He really shouldn’t be losing this anyway. But does it even matter?

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If this abysmal 3 and a half year stretch wasn’t enough to see Alvey given his walking papers then another loss to Allen probably isn’t going to make much difference either at this point. He must have some incriminating dirt on Dana is all I can think.

 

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Bryan Battle vs Tresean Gore. Right then. Barely know anything about Battle and I’ve never seen this Gore chap but they were both on the last season of TUF and this was actually supposed to be the final.

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Unfortunately for Gore, an injury took him out before he could make it to the final in August. Gilbert Urbina stepped in and Battle submitted him to become the latest TUF winner. So unfinished business here. Battle’s 6-1, Gore’s 3-0. I read that Gore was the one most fancied to win TUF before he got injured as well. Don’t know how true that is but this was definitely the logical fight to make and basically the ‘real’ TUF final to clear up any doubts.

 

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Julian Erosa vs Steven Peterson. Don’t have a strong opinion on this one way or the other but Erosa’s been quite exciting to watch in his last bunch of fights. He had a belter of a fight with Sean Woodson in 2020 which he won by submission. Then he knocked out Nate Landwehr with a flying knee and subbed Charles Jourdain last time out. He had a loss to Seung Woo Choi in there as well but even that was a quick knockout. Win or lose, there’s not been a dull moment from him in his last few fights. Vague memories when it comes to Peterson but I do remember this…

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A beauty of a spinning shit KO against Martin Bravo back in 2019. He never fought for 2 years after that for some reason but returned this past June and got the win over Chase Hooper. He’s 19-9 now and a bit of a journeyman. I’d have to favour Erosa at this point but you never know.

 

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Miles Johns vs John Castaneda could be the sleeper on this card for me. I considered this for the ‘one to watch’ and I actually think it might turn out to be the best fight on the card but I wanted to highlight that Rakhmonov fight. This should be a lively one though. Neither were particularly on my radar until recently but they both caught my attention last year. Especially Miles Johns. He’s 27 years old, former LFA champ, 12-1 and coming off a couple of big POTN winning knockouts. His KO over Anderson Dos Santos in August was one of my favourite finishes of 2021.

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Dos Santos went down like he’d been shot in the face at point blank range. Just vicious. Looking at his record, I see he also has a win over Adrian Yanez in a 5 round title fight from LFA in 2018. LFA is on Fight Pass, right? Because I’m gonna have to watch that one. 5 rounds of Johns vs Yanez! Anyway, he’s up against Castaneda this time, AKA ‘Sexi Mexi’. Haven’t seen a ton of Castaneda but he’s 18-5 with 13 finishes and he wrecked Eddie Wineland in his last fight and also subbed Marcelo Rojo in Combate Americas. Love the sound of this. The Bantamweight division is better than it’s ever been and these two are way down the pecking order but that just speaks to the depth of talent at 135 these days.

 

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Hakeem Dawodu vs Mike Trizano. Not that fussed about this. I don’t mind ‘Mean’ Hakeem but he’s been a tad unremarkable when I’ve seen him. Not bad but not that memorable either. He’s 12-2-1 now and coming off a one way traffic points loss against Movsar Evloev in June. Evloev’s looking like a real handful though so no shame in that. Trizano is a former TUF winner. Did you know that? Because I had no memory of it. Isn’t it mental how you vividly remember TUF ham and eggers like Strangebrew Thacker, Wayne Weems and Andy Wang yet have zero recollection of actual TUF winners? Anyway, he’s 9-1 with the only loss coming against Grant Dawson in 2019. He did beat Ludovit Klein last time out though and I liked the look of Klein in his UFC debut. So maybe he’s better than we realise. Could be alright, I suppose. But I’m not exactly invested in it.

 

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Marc-Andre Barriault vs Chidi Njokuani. Might be OK. Never really got into Barriault’s fights in the UFC though. He came in with a solid resume, he was 11-1, ‘champ champ’ in the TKO promotion in Canada etc. But then he swiftly went 0-3-1 in the UFC. He’s clawed it back somewhat with wins over Abu Azaitar and Dalcha Lungiambula to be fair. But I can’t say I’ve ever watched him and been excited to see him again. Njokuani is 20-7 with 13 finishes and comes in off a stoppage win on DWCS in September. He’s knocked around a bit fighting in Bellator and LFA and has wins over some notable names like Melvin Guillard, Alan Jouban etc. He’s probably most known as the younger brother of ex WEC and UFC standout Anthony Njokuani.

 

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Alexis Davis vs Julija Stoliarenko isn’t really doing much for me. Davis is a true veteran of womens MMA. Made her debut in 2007 back when the women were just the occasional sideshow on random shows. She fought most of the names around in that period from Sarah Kaufman to Tonya Evinger to Shayna Baszler to Julie Kedzie etc. And she did pretty well. She even has a TKO victory over Amanda Nunes from a Strikeforce card in 2011. She’s 37 now though and she’s had a rough few years, losing 4 of her last 5. It’s harsh but despite some really good wins in the first half of her career, she’s probably most known for that 16 second ragdolling she suffered against Ronda Rousey that time. Stoliarenko’s nearly a decade younger at 28 and doesn’t have nearly the miles on her. But she’s not having the best run of results herself at the moment, she’s 9-5-2 and coming off back-to-back losses. Her last fight against Julia Avila was great fun though, in fairness. A losing effort but a really entertaining fight. Not sure how this goes. I think Davis can still win at this kind of level but she really has looked like she’s on borrowed time in her last few fights.

 

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Danilo Marques vs Jailton Almeida. Bit fuzzy on Marques but I remember reading he trains with Shogun so I kind of like him just by association. He’s 11-3 and won his first two UFC fights but got knocked out by Kennedy Nzechukwu in his last fight in June. Never heard of Almeida before but Sherdog tells me he’s 14-2 with all his wins being finishes. He looks like someone you wouldn’t want to upset as well, doesn’t he? That’s about all I’ve got on these two.

 

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Jason Witt vs Phil Rowe. Nothing special but I vaguely remember quite enjoying both their last fights. Witt went the distance with Bryan Barberena and got the decision in a FOTN winning slobberknocker. And Rowe stopped Orion Cosce in the second round of an entertaining battle. Witt’s 19-7, Rowe’s 8-3. I don’t see either going much further than they are now, just filling up Fight Night undercards, but they’re not bad for where they are on the card.

 

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Denys Bondar vs Malcolm Gordon. Don’t know, don’t particularly care if I’m being honest. Bondar is Ukrainian, 14-2 with 14 finishes. Gordon’s Canadian, 13-5 with 10 finishes and is a former TKO Flyweight champion. He beat Figgy’s brother in his last fight. Ah, it’s not the worst fight but I just don’t give enough of a bollocks about either of them to care much. Watch it get FOTN now.

 

Team Joker Jack 🇸🇪 

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Edited by wandshogun09
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Sean Strickland wins again 🤮. A pretty dull main event, made moreso by the more obvious the result was becoming as it went on. Hopefully Brunson gets the next title shot and someone takes out Strickland in the interim. 

Erosa and Peterson was a hell of a war. Rounds two and three especially. They looked like they were redlining for a fair portion of that fight and just kept the pedal down. Crazy stuff. 

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21 hours ago, neil said:

Didn't watch but did Strickland talk about killing people again?

Strickland is a gimmick. He talks about violence, and he's got folk like Bisping calling him a "legit psycho" and all sorts, then he comes out and puts on a safety-first boxing clinic. 

Which is fine, of course, but don't talk about killing people and extreme violence when you're basically Holly Holm with short hair and a cauliflower ear.

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Definitely get the Holm vibes watching Sean Strickland fights. My first thought watching him was he reminded me of Paulie Malignaggi in that way. Paulie talking like a Sopranos cast member and banging on about bodybags and chalk outlines then the fight starts and it’s all clinching, avoiding and punches that wouldn’t break an egg. 

I mean, fair play. Strickland managed to beat Hermansson here, which I didn’t really think he was capable of. Wasn’t much fun to watch but I thought this would be a step too far for him and he got it done. But yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an exciting Strickland fight yet. A lot of people seem to get swept up in his talk but his ‘Psycho Sean’ schtick really doesn’t tally with his actual fighting style. He throws a load of punches that don’t seem to have much effect, and shouts a lot. That’s it. Every time he fights I see a load of suggestions of Strickland vs Kevin Holland. I still think that would be total shit myself. Just 15 minutes, or worse 25, of them both talking bollocks and sweating while everyone falls asleep. I can watch Prime Minister’s Questions if I want that.

What was the one judge on, scoring it for Hermansson though? I was rooting for Hermansson and wanted to score him rounds and even I had Strickland winning clearly. Just another example of it being ridiculous when people say a fight “should’ve been a split decision”. A split isn’t always necessarily indicative of a close fight. Sometimes it’s just a case of one of the judges being fucking useless. 

Nick Maximov vs Punahele Soriano was disappointing. Just really flat and I was gutted Puna lost again. After going 8-0 at the start of his career to losing 2 on the trot, rough going. I had a bad feeling about this one though given Maximov’s grappling and Soriano not really being tested there. You could see after the early exchanges, Maximov wanted no more of the standup and rightly so. He did enough to grind out the last couple of rounds then did his best Nick Diaz impression in the post-fight interview. I’d like to see him in with more of a grappler next, see how he looks, because Soriano just had no answers here. 

Shavkat Rakhmonov is looking like a real issue. Dusts another one in a round.

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Besides Khamzat Chimaev, this might well be the brightest prospect in the Welterweight division. And long term, maybe he’s THE brightest at 170 because I get the feeling Chimaev isn’t going to be at 170 all that much longer. I think Chimaev’s best years might come at 185. But anyway, Rakhmonov looks the business so far. We need to see him against better opposition now though. It’s time for a step up. It’s weird because he had a strong debut against a decent middle of the pack name in Cowboy Oliveira but his follow up fights have been against Michel Prazeres and now Carlston Harris here. Both skilled fighters in their own right but I’d say they were steps down from Oliveira if anything. Definitely time to ramp up the level of his opposition now. He’s clearly too much for the guys he’s been in with so far. He called out Michel Pereira post-fight, I’d be all over that. A step up but not a silly one, it’s realistic plus it’s got the potential for pure chaos however long it lasts. 

Nice win for Brendan Allen subbing Sam Alvey. Surely that’s Unsackable Sam gone now? Right? Allen’s really good but he came in on really late notice here and still put Alvey away pretty easily. It seems harsh everyone basically rooting for Alvey to get binned but I think it’s been clear for a while now that he just can’t cut it on the current roster. Hence his horrid record of late. Glad Allen won and looked good in the process. There’s no reason he should’ve been losing to Alvey at this stage but it was still risky on short notice. All jokes aside about Alvey’s recent negative ‘streak’, imagine being the one who actually finally loses to Alvey and allows him to snap his current losing streak? Pretty much the death knell. 

Battle vs Gore wasn’t the best but it needed booking for closure’s sake. Battle cemented himself as the true TUF winner. Whatever that’s worth in 2022. I never watched TUF and never saw Gore fight but I’d heard and read all kinds of hype on him over the last week or so. Hate to go all Shania Twain but he didn’t impress me much. At all. You could see whenever he let his hands fly that he’s explosive as fuck so he’s gonna be dangerous but he seemed to spend too much of the fight just standing around waiting for the perfect KO opportunity to land in his lap and it just never came. Battle didn’t look amazing but he fought smart and got the W. Maybe there’s better to come but Gore really didn’t live up to the hype for me. He might’ve looked like a killer prior to this but he was only 3-0. Like I say, maybe he’ll live up to the buzz in the long run but it seemed premature after 3 fights. As did his crazy talk about becoming a 2 division UFC champ before he’d even won his first fight. 

Erosa vs Peterson was barmy. Easy as fuck choice for FOTN. I thought it’d be a fun scrap but my expectations weren’t this high. Probably should’ve been though because Erosa has been non-stop excitement for a while now.

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Wild fight. Erosa bagged an extra $100K for this as well because Peterson missed weight and rendered himself ineligible for the bonus. Shame really because he really fought his arse off here but it’s his own doing, I guess. 

Thought John Castaneda looked fantastic beating Miles Johns. I was just starting to become a believer in Johns and old ‘Sexi Mexi’ comes in and just shuts him down. He looked tremendous throughout, gradually broke Johns down and then topped it off with that onslaught in the last round. Dropped him with the knee and then put him to sleep.

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Just another bit of depth added to an ever improving Bantamweight division. Looking forward to seeing who he’s matched up with next. 

Chidi Njokuani! What an intro to the UFC. 

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Chidi Chidi Bang Bang. A 16 second knockout. He really couldn’t have dreamed of a more perfect debut. Really cool to see how much it meant to his brother Anthony as well.

Jailton Almeida had quite the Octagon debut as well. Absolutely battered Marques and got him out of there in short order. I had no real knowledge of Almeida going in but as fight week wore on I kept reading about how he was someone well worth keeping tabs on so I was looking forward to seeing what the fuss was about. He looked good. The opposition here didn’t tell us a great deal but it was definitely a strong first impression. He’s got moves as well! 

😂 I like him. But him calling out Shogun can fuck right off. Leave the man alone with his pipe and slippers. 

Oh and I didn’t catch the fight but Denys Bondar got his arm mangled in the curtain jerk fight apparently.

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🤢

Finally, what the fuck is a ‘Nelk Boy’ and why do I keep hearing about it on UFC programming? 

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https://www.mmamania.com/2022/2/6/22920715/sam-alvey-is-putting-his-fight-career-on-hiatus-after-ufc-vegas-47-loss-something-needs-to-change

In some hilarious news, Sam Alvey has stated he's taking some time off before accepting another UFC fight. 

Winless in 8 fights, and the motherfucker doesn't even expect to be cut. Fucking hell. 

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