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UFC Vegas: Makhachev vs Green - Feb 26 🇺🇸


wandshogun09
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Back at the Apex yet again for this lot.

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Islam Makhachev vs Bobby Green 

Misha Cirkunov vs Wellington Turman

Priscila Cachoeira vs Ji Yeon Kim

Arman Tsarukyan vs Joel Alvarez 

Gregory Rodrigues vs Armen Petrosyan

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Ignacio Bahamondes vs Rong Zhu

Josiane Nunes vs Ramona Pascual 

Terrance McKinney vs Fares Ziam 

Alejandro Perez vs Jonathan Martinez

Ramiz Brahimaj vs Micheal Gillmore 

Victor Altamirano vs Carlos Hernandez 

 

I’m well aware this is still a few weeks away and there’s a good chance a lot of this falls apart but, as it stands, that’s a cracking card. Pretty much exactly what you want from a Fight Night, in my opinion. A strong enough main event to get people interested, featuring two guys who really deserve the spotlight, a mouth watering clash between two rising contenders in Tsarukyan and Alvarez, a couple of potential ones for the future in McKinney and Bahamondes. A bit of everything. Bout order’s not final.

 

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Islam Makhachev vs Bobby Green then. Our new main event. Still a 5 rounder but it’s at a Catchweight of 160lbs now. Was originally Makhachev vs Beneil Dariush but Dariush is out with a leg injury. Absolutely gutted. It was one of the fights I was most looking forward to on the current schedule. And it would’ve served nicely as a title eliminator with the winner going against the winner of the upcoming title fight between Oliveira and Gaethje in May. That’s MMA. The disappointment of great fights falling to bits is part of being a fan unfortunately. The good news is they’ve given us just about as fun a replacement as we could ask for.

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Islam Makhachev is from Dagestan, 30 years old and on a 9 fight winning streak. He’s 21-1 overall with the only blemish being a KO loss to Adriano Martins in 2015. Aside from that one blip, he’s been absolutely dominant for nearly every second of his UFC career. It took a while for him to break through and it was even more difficult for him because he was always in the shadow of his teammate Khabib. Once Khabib retired in 2020 though, it cleared the way for Makhachev to take the baton for Dagestan and go all out for Lightweight gold. His current streak has included wins over Nik Lentz, Gleison Tibau, Arman Tsarukyan (in a fucking fantastic fight) and Davi Ramos. And in a post-Khabib division, he had a big 2021. He submitted Drew Dober in March and Thiago Moises in July, then pissed straight through Dan Hooker like he was nothing in October.

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Knowing how hard as nails Hooker is, it was frightening to see the ease with which Makhachev just mauled him. The Khabib comparisons are a bit played out now and they’re a bit unfair really but they’re naturally gonna come up given their links and the similarities in style. The Hooker fight really was shades of Khabib when he was on the rise as well. Makhachev was always a handful and one of the brightest prospects in the division but it really does feel like he’s stepped it up a gear since Khabib called it a day. The division is there for the taking now and Makhachev is trying to seize the opportunity. In his way though…

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Bobby Green steps in on less than 2 weeks notice. Ballsy as fuck move but also a massive opportunity for him to finally create his own breakthrough after years of ups and downs and hard fights. I remember watching him way back in his Strikeforce days. He fought in King Of The Cage before that. His MMA debut was back in 2008. He’s knocked around a bit. I wasn’t a big fan of him back then. I remember watching a few of his fights and, although he clearly had skills, I often found him frustrating to watch. Sometimes he’d be talking shit in there and showboating more than he was actually fighting and it probably cost him a few close decisions over the years. The original Kevin Holland. I like a bit of showmanship as much as the next fight fan but at least showboat when there’s something to showboat about. And that combined with the terrible head tattoo, I thought he was a bit of a twat for a while. I was wrong though. He’s definitely grown on me over time. I’ve really enjoyed watching his fights over the last few years and he seems like a genuinely good guy outside the cage as well. I got him all wrong. He’s on a solid run of late as well. He’s still had his losses sprinkled in there but he’s coming off a couple of nice wins now. Knocked out Al Iaquinta in a round at MSG in November, then just outpointed Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 271 last week. There was a fair bit of talk after that about how it’d be cool to see Green get a big fight next, with Jon Anik saying on commentary he’d like to see him get a main event spot. Well here we are. But it’s that old ‘be careful what you wish for’ thing, isn’t it? Saw this on Twitter the other day…

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Yeah, I’m split on this. On the one hand, it’s really cool to see Green getting this chance at this stage in his career. He’s 35 years old with a 29-12-1 record. It’s a bit of a Rocky moment seeing him finally get that spotlight of headlining a UFC card. And let’s be honest, well deserved. When you look back at some of the utter crap we’ve seen main event some of these Fight Night cards over the years, Green is way better than that and more than worthy of his moment in the sun. But…just a shame he’s got to fight fucking Makhachev on 10 days notice to do it. You’d think Green should still be in really good shape. He just fought so he hasn’t had time to lose that conditioning or sharpness that comes with a training camp. Not like he’s rolling off the sofa after a spell of inactivity. But still, it’s a big ask. I mean, it’s a completely different fight for Makhachev as well but it’s gonna be a tougher one for Green, I think. Green’s obviously a better striker than Dariush but I actually think Dariush might’ve had a better shot on the feet just because he’s heavy handed, awkward and throws wild shit. Green is a slick striker and much better technically but he’s not a particularly big finisher (despite the recent KO over Raging Al) and unless he can consistently stuff Makhachev’s takedowns, I don’t see it staying on the feet long enough for him to really get his Boxing going. From what I remember of his ground game it’s actually pretty good, but ‘pretty good’ isn’t gonna be good enough here is it? Fun fight regardless and a great save for the card after Dariush dropped out.

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So yeah, I’m not sure how or if this late switch of opponent changes things when it comes to the title picture. You’d have assumed Makhachev vs Dariush would’ve been a straight up title eliminator but I’m not certain it will be now. As good as Green is, a win over him still doesn’t scream ‘next title shot’ really but that’d be a 10 fight streak and I’m struggling to think who would deserve a crack at the Oliveira-Gaethje winner more at that point. I don’t wanna hear any more about McGregor or Chandler when it comes to title shots until they actually, you know, win a fight. I like Green and it’d be such a cool moment to see him pull off the upset here but I really wanna see how far Makhachev can go. And the thought of him against Oliveira or Gaethje, or even Poirier or Chandler down the line, is mouth watering. Really interesting fights. Especially the Oliveira one. And if we must, the McGregor fight is always out there sometime down the road, and would be a natural continuation of the Khabib rivalry. Exciting times but he’s got to get past Bobby Green first. I think he will but it’s MMA and you just never know.

 

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Misha Cirkunov vs Wellington Turman isn’t setting the world on fire. Cirkunov’s one of those guys where if MMA was based solely on appearance, he’d probably be the champ. He just looks like a tank. If you were making a MMA movie (don’t, they’re all shit), he’s your final Ivan Drago style boss for the hero to overcome. In reality though, it’s just not panning out. Aside from a solid start in the company and then his mad Peruvian necktie submission against Jim Crute a while back, it’s been a bit of a disaster. He comes into this one off back-to-back losses to Ryan Spann and Krzysztof Jotko. He’s had a bit of a lucky break here though. He was supposed to fight Makhmud Muradov but Muradov withdrew. This is a better fight for Cirkunov, he should probably be winning this one, I reckon. I’ve never rated Turman. Maybe I’m being harsh, he’s still only 25 so it seems a bit early to write him off but I just don’t get the feeling there’s gonna be much more to him than what we’ve already seen. And what I mostly remember about him in the UFC is him getting his arse kicked. He is coming off an earth shattering split decision win over the fearsome Sam Alvey though, so maybe that’ll be the start of some monster streak through the division. As Bret Hart once said, who am I to doubt Wellington Turman?

 

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Priscila Cachoeira vs Ji Yeon Kim. Nothing fight but I’ll give it a watch in the hopes that Cachoeira gets battered. Disappointed to see they kept her around, to be honest. After she blatantly tried to gouge Gillian Robertson’s eye out in their December fight.

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Dirty as fuck. There’s no defending or excusing that as an accident is there? You can clearly see her searching for the eye. Yet Cachoeira has the cheek to claim she didn’t do it on purpose.

“I didn’t know it was going in the direction of her eye. My intention was to go for her neck and push it. That was my intention, but I was desperate, almost snoring, and it’s a matter of survival, right? I’ve already apologised to her in person and via Instagram, and she was super cool. Critics will come, right?” - Priscila Cachoeira

Total bollocks. You’d have to have had both eyes poked out to not see she was actively going for the eye. Didn’t realise the defence to the rear naked choke was simply to push the neck either. If McGregor knew that Khabib would’ve been fooked! Anyway, she’s 10-4 and was coming off a couple of knockout wins over no hopers before that Robertson fight. I’ll always mostly remember her for the time Shevchenko tried to murder her though. Kim’s 9-4-2 and going nowhere but she’s likeable enough and she’s already got form for giving a heel their comeuppance when she made Nadia Kassem pay for faking a glove touch and throwing a cheap shot, Kim ended up stopping her with a body shot as I recall. Love to see something similar here.

 

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Arman Tsarukyan vs Joel Alvarez is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. Absolutely love this fight. Like the main event, another incredible fight in the Lightweight division. I can see these two being where Makhachev and Dariush are in the next year or two. This really is ‘one to watch’, not just on this card but for the future at 155. That’s assuming Alvarez can make the weight though. He’s been one of the most overlooked and least talked about prospects on the roster for some reason but he’s a beast. He’s 28 years old, from Spain, 19-2 with all his wins coming inside the distance. Him completely wrecking Thiago Moises with elbows in his last fight was just brutal.

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Bear in mind it took Islam Makhachev until deep into the 4th round to finish Moises. Alvarez destroyed him in 3 minutes. But…the weight missing is a real issue. He’s came in heavy for his last two fights on the bounce now. This one’s scheduled for 155 but if he misses weight again it’s surely gonna be a move to 170 for him next time. I don’t know if it’s laziness, lack of discipline or he’s simply outgrown the division but it needs addressing. He looks like he could have a bright future, it’d be a shame if he cocks it all up on the scales. Tsarukyan is probably an even better prospect for me though. He’s 25 years old, Georgian, with a record of 17-2 and 11 finishes. He signed with the UFC in 2019 and instantly got on my radar. He was thrown straight in with Islam Makhachev in his UFC debut and, although he lost a decision, he gave a great account of himself and it was a brilliant fight. A perfect fight to show someone who’s just getting into MMA and doesn’t appreciate wrestling. That fight showed that when you get two guys who are really good at it, wrestling can be just as exciting to watch as any other aspect of MMA. Honestly it was such a good fight. If you missed it and you get time, give it a watch. Since that loss, Tsarukyan’s rattled off 4 wins and hasn’t blown anyone away but I’ve thought he’s looked better each time. You watch him and see how good he is and it’s easy to forget he’s only 25. He reminds me a bit of of a grappling version of Max Holloway in that way, where he already looks like a seasoned pro at a young age. Scary to think where he could be at 28, 29, 30 years old. With 5 more years of training and sharpening his skills, on top of how good he already is, he could be a nightmare to deal with down the road. And his style is one where he’s not taking a ton of damage on the way up as well. So yeah, as you can probably tell I’m a bit excited for this fight. Nobody’s talking about it because they’re not ‘names’ yet but it’s one of the fights I’m most looking forward to on the current upcoming schedule.

 

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Gregory Rodrigues vs Armen Petrosyan. Barack ObaMMA is back! On a serious note, Rodrigues has been great to watch so far in the UFC. He’s 11-3 overall now and has won his first couple of fights in the Octagon. Had a hard hitting 3 round bombfest with Dusko Todorovic in his debut then stopped Jun Yong Park in a FOTN slobberknocker in his last fight. Petrosyan is making his debut here, he’s Armenian, 6-1 with 6 knockouts. Fought on DWCS in October. If you Google his name you’ll see a Kickboxer of the same name who has nearly 100 fights under his belt. This isn’t that guy sadly but it sounds like he’s been on a tear so far.

 

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Ignacio Bahamondes vs Rong Zhu. OK then, Bahamondes is back in action. He’s 24 years old, from Chile and holds a record of 12-4 with 9 knockouts. Nothing to write home about, unless you’ve watched him. He came in as just another prelim ham and egger on a bloated roster last year and I thought nothing of it. He faced John Makdessi in his debut in April and instantly made a fan of me. He lost a split decision but it was such an exciting fight to watch. They definitely should’ve got FOTN, in my opinion, but Julian Marquez vs Sam Alvey got it instead. Bastard Sam Alvey again. Bahamondes wasn’t gonna be denied a $50K bonus in his next fight though…

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Nearly sent Roosevelt Roberts’ head into the nosebleeds in August. Maybe the KO of 2021 for me that. There’s a few worthy contenders but it’s absolutely right up there. Just amazing. Can’t say I recall Zhu but he’s 18-3 with 16 finishes and got the TKO over Brandon Jenkins in his last fight. Not a bad record but I’m hoping Bahamondes busts out another highlight reel finish here. He’s obviously got a long way to go but if he ends up being good enough to climb the ranks he could be such a great addition to that mix in the mid-upper levels at Lightweight. Once again, doesn’t need to be said again but 155 is insanely deep.

 

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Josiane Nunes vs Ramona Pascual. Don’t know enough about either to care all that much but it might be worth a look. Nunes definitely caught my attention in her UFC debut in August. She fought Bea Malecki and did this to her inside a round…

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Nothing technically pretty about her striking but in a division full of tippy tappy fights that can often look like sparring sessions, someone like this is always a welcome addition to the roster. She’s 8-1 now with 7 knockouts. The only loss was on points, in just her second pro fight, against Taila Santos way back in 2013. Considering Santos has gone on to compile a 19-1 record herself and is probably next up for a shot at Shevchenko’s gold, it’s a loss that doesn’t look that bad in hindsight. She was meant to be fighting some newcomer called Jennifer Gonzalez here but that’s off for some reason. So she’s got another newcomer in Hong Kong’s Pascual. She’s 6-2 and coming off a quick finish in Invicta in January. She’s put away her last 3 opponents in the first round.

 

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Terrance McKinney vs Fares Ziam was booked for another card recently but got pushed back to this one. Looking forward to seeing McKinney back in there. You might remember his UFC debut back in June. Then again, you might not because it was over before it even got going.

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That’s the whole fight right there. 7 seconds. And against a tough guy like Matt Frevola. Mega impressive. Especially because he’d also taken the fight on short notice. Got to be among the best debuts in UFC history. He’s 11-3 now, all his wins came inside the distance and he’s knocked out his last 4 opponents in the first round. Three of them in 17 seconds or less! Crazy. He’s got quite a story as well…

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Really cool to see how he’s turned things around. Ziam is French, 24 years old with a record of 12-3 and is coming off wins over Luigi Vendramini and Jamie Mullarkey in his last two. Can’t say I remember him. Hopefully he can make more of a fight of it than McKinney’s last few opponents or it’ll be a very early night for him.

 

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Alejandro Perez vs Jonathan Martinez. Not bad. It’s a fight of no relevance and means nothing but it could be good for livening up the prelims. Perez is nothing special but he’s had some alright wins over guys like Eddie Wineland and he subbed Johnny Eduardo in his last fight. Martinez should make this watchable though. One of the unsung entertaining undercard fighters for me. He usually brings it and I loved his fight with Davey Grant last year.

 

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Ramiz Brahimaj vs Micheal Gillmore. Was supposed to be UFC newcomer Jonny Parsons against Gillmore but he’s out. Brahimaj jumps in. Can’t say I remember all that much about Brahimaj, other than the time he nearly got his ear ripped off in his UFC debut. He’s 9-4 now and coming off a decision loss to Court McGee in January. As for Gillmore, he was on the last season of TUF over the summer and got stopped by Andre Petroski in their fight at the Finale in August. He’s 6-4 and I want him to lose just because his parents don’t know how to spell Michael. As someone whose name is Michael, I’m not having it.

 

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Victor Altamirano vs Carlos Hernandez. OK I’m gonna need some help here. Never heard of these two, much less seen them fight. Both are from DWCS. A quick look at Sherdog tells me Altamirano is 31 years old, 10-1 with 5 finishes and fought a bit in LFA before winning on DWCS in August. Hernandez is 28, 7-1 with 4 finishes and won on DWCS in October. You seen these guys @Zebra Kid Mark? Any good? I noticed they both won their Contender Series fights by split decision, which obviously doesn’t necessarily mean anything but I’m usually seeing guys come in off big knockouts or submissions on there.

 

Roll on the 26th.

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Edited by wandshogun09
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"Micheál" is the Gaelic spelling of "Michael" though - you know what Yanks are like about their heritage. With a name like "Gillmore", he's probably Irish-American.

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12 minutes ago, Carbomb said:

"Micheál" is the Gaelic spelling of "Michael" though - you know what Yanks are like about their heritage. With a name like "Gillmore", he's probably Irish-American.

Well is it now? Never knew that and my whole Dad’s side of the family are Irish. It looks so fucking wrong to me but it would when I’ve spent 36 years spelling it the more well known way. He should go the whole hog with the Plastic Paddy gimmick. We haven’t seen that in the UFC since Marcus Davis. 

1 minute ago, Egg Shen said:

never seen that clip of Shonie before 😔

Neither had I. Saw Parsons had a win over him and found it, wished I hadn’t but then didn’t wanna suffer alone so shared the misery with you guys. We’re in this together now. 

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  • wandshogun09 changed the title to UFC Vegas: Makhachev vs Green - Feb 26 🇺🇸
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Updated the opening post, bout order and the poll for this. Just days away now, hopefully what’s left stays intact.

And for no reason, here’s late replacement Ramona Pascual having a McDonald’s. Presumably straight after her vaccination, which makes her an honorary UKFFer. Hope she wins. 

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Green is really in a no-lose situation here. If he loses, he's the guy who stepped up late and is getting back in there two weeks after going three rounds with Nasrat Haqparast. It's not as if it was a quick night for him, he took some shots and went the distance. 

If he loses to Islam Makhachev his stock is still as high as it would have been if he hadn't taken the fight. He likely dusts himself off and goes on to face another guy in the top 15 in a few months as he likely would have done anyway. Green at this stage isn't even ranked by the UFC I don't think, so he has nothing to lose.

If he wins though? He beats the guy who everyone is raving about, and who is ranked #4 in the world. A win here shifts him into the top ten easily, and possibly even the top 5. 

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With Islam Makhachev and Arman Tsarukyan both in key fights tonight, I thought now would be as good a time as any to revisit their fight against each other. I’ve been bigging it up for ages now, probably every time I’ve done a preview post for a show either have been on, I’ve mentioned how good this fight was. But honestly, I don’t think I’ve actually rewatched it since the night it happened. As I remember it, they had a fantastic fight so I’m interested to see how it holds up now. It must’ve been pretty good because it made me instantly rate Tsarukyan, who I’d never seen previously, and was probably the first fight that really made me a believer in Makhachev.

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It went down in April 2019 on a Fight Night in Russia. Makhachev was 27 years old with a record of 16-1 at this time. He’d done a pretty good job of rebuilding himself after suffering a surprising first round knockout loss against Adriano Martins in 2015. He came into this one off a 4 fight winning streak which included a 57 second KO over Gleison Tibau and a first round armbar over Kajan Johnson. Tsarukyan was coming in as a complete unknown. He was only 22 years old at this time with a 13-1 record. On the face of it this looked like really harsh matchmaking. Throwing a 22 year old kid in against Makhachev in his UFC debut? It’s not usually the way the matchmakers roll but I guess that’s why they’re in that job because it turned out to be anything but a mismatch.

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Islam Makhachev vs Arman Tsarukyan

UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs Oleynik

April 20th 2019

Saint Petersburg, Russia 

Herb Dean’s reffing. Commentators are John Gooden, Paul Felder and Dan Hardy. Which makes a nice change. Not a massive fan of Gooden or Hardy on commentary but it’ll be refreshing just to hear some different voices than the usual mob.

Round 1: Tsarukyan throwing kicks to start off and the commentators are talking him up as a big kicker. This is why I like to rewatch stuff because I’ve had Tsarukyan down as more of a grappler for a while now. Probably mostly based off this fight. He throws a few here but it’s a risky game against a wrestler like Makhachev. Tsarukyan slips and Makhachev’s all over him. They go into a really aggressive clinch battle and it’s Tsarukyan actually trying to initiate the takedown. No joy though.

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Beautiful takedown from Makhachev and he’s landed almost right in mount. Tsarukyan uses a butterfly guard to escape but Islam’s on his neck now.

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DDT!

Lovely sequence here as Tsarukyan rolls through and gets a front headlock of his own. He’s working for a standing guillotine but Makhachev’s out of danger. Tsarukyan is fucking grafting for the takedown here. Might seem like odd tactics to fight Makhachev’s style but I like it. I think the element of surprise has thrown Makhachev off here. Plus Tsarukyan probably thought the best defence against Islam’s wrestling might be to put him on the defence for a change. Not many have the game to even attempt that but, so far at least, Tsarukyan seems equipped to do battle there.

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During one of these scrambles, Tsarukyan gets kind of a takedown but it’s one of them where Makhachev isn’t really down. Regardless, Felder tells us it’s been officially scored as a takedown, making Tsarukyan the first man to take Makhachev down in the UFC. He’s probably still the only one as well. I can’t recall anyone taking him down since. Clinch battle again and they trade a few punches as the round ends. Great round. Makhachev 10-9.

We see Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov in the Makhachev corner between rounds 😞

Round 2: Mirko Makhachev with the left high kick to start the second round! Tsarukyan tries to answer with his own headkick but comes up short. Tsarukyan shoots in again, gets front facelocked for his efforts but lands a sweet elbow on the break. They clinch up again but it’s never boring. They’re both constantly looking for openings and trying to get the advantage. Islam’s getting the better of it but Tsarukyan almost locks on a kimura as he’s taken down.

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He’s going for it but Makhachev’s defending it well and Tsarukyan abandons it. Tsarukyan powers back up to his feet, which itself is mega impressive when you look at how little success other fighters have had getting out from under Makhachev. And again, he’s 22 here! Bit of a stalemate against the fence and that’s another round done. Closer one. Probably Makhachev’s again but I could see the argument for Tsarukyan.

“If you can’t get excited about grappling and wrestling based on this fight, then don’t watch.” - Paul Felder

Amen to that.

Round 3: Tsarukyan coming out with some urgency here, throwing hard kicks. His corner were telling him between rounds to avoid the grappling now and just strike. But that only lasts about a minute and he’s wrestling again. Turns out to be a mistake.

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Khabib 101 now with the wrist control and trapping Tsarukyan’s legs with his legs. Just a miserable experience but to his credit Tsarukyan isn’t there long at all. He looks exhausted now but he still managed to get to his feet. That position is usually a death sentence but he’s out of danger and going for Judo throws and all sorts! Makhachev with another takedown with a minute left on the clock. Tsarukyan’s trying for a leglock now but Makhachev’s not having it. He holds Tsarukyan down, wedges him up against the fence, traps the legs again and grinds out the rest of the round. Makhachev 10-9 again. So I’ve got it 30-27 for him, or at worst 29-28 depending on that second round.

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Winner - Islam Makhachev by unanimous decision.

Yeah. 30-27, 30-37, 29-28 were the scores. No controversy here. What a tremendous fight though. And the 30-27s, while a totally fair scorecard, really don’t do justice to how well Tsarukyan fought here. To this day (Deontay Wilder™️), he’s the only fighter I’ve seen be competitive and give Makhachev a run for his money in the grappling. And at 22, he was still so new here. Despite looking like a Hasbro he probably didn’t even fully have his ‘man strength’ yet. It’s a fight I could absolutely see being a rematch down the road somewhere. I’d love to see it over 5 rounds now that they’re both more seasoned and Tsarukyan’s matured a bit as a fighter. One for the future but, I’ll say it once again, if you missed this fight at the time I’d highly recommend watching it. Perfect example of a fight to show someone that grappling can be highly entertaining when it’s done well. It’s on that list for me along with Diego Sanchez vs Nick Diaz, Tyson Griffin vs Clay Guida, Demian Maia vs Jason MacDonald, Hideo Tokoro vs Abel Cullum etc as far as great grappling heavy fights go. 

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Well pretty much the entire world said it. This is a weird scenario where someone jumps in last minute and he is super likeable and I really want green to succeed in the ufc.,

However I knew the writing was on the wall when I looked and saw makhachev is ranked 4th and green is not ranked at all. 

You never ever know and you can't ever say for certain such and such is invisible and will take this person with ease but it wasn't ever going to happen. 

 

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I love Bobby Green and I had a small amount of belief that he was going to be able to pull off the upset. However, the fight went as most expected. I don't think any elite level lightweight is going to beat Islam on 10 days notice when Islam himself has been in a full training camp. The only type of fighter who could pull off the upset is some one with big punching power who would swing for the first few minutes and pray something lands. That's not Bobby's style sadly.

I think Islam is pretty special, I just can't see him losing anytime soon.

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Islam did look impressive, however I'm still waiting to see him win a fight against a proper name in the division.

Bobby Green, Dan Hooker, Thiago Moises, Drew Dober, Davi Ramos etc is all well and good, but how does he fare against a Justin Gaethje? A Dustin Poirier? A Michael Chandler? An RDA? Even a Beneil Dariush?

I know injuries and matchmaking have all played a part, but for me he's not legit top three until he puts away at least one or two of those long-time stalwarts of the top of the division.

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As expected. 

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Fair play to Green for taking the fight. It was a big opportunity for him and definitely a bit of a no lose situation but Makhachev’s a beast you really need a full camp for, and even then you’re still probably losing. Makhachev just squashed him. As soon as he got the takedown so early when he was fresh it didn’t look good. Once he got the mount it was a wrap. I don’t think this hurts Green’s stock too much, despite the manner of the loss. With the circumstances going in plus him kind of saving the UFC’s bacon by stepping in here, I think they’ll probably sort him out with a good fight next. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing him against Jim Miller. They were scheduled to meet last year but it fell through and it’s one of those fights that feels like it should’ve happened years ago but they’ve somehow missed each other. Wouldn’t even be against it headlining a Fight Night. Wouldn’t be the strongest main event but we’ve had a lot worse and I think it’d be cool to see them both get that spotlight after all their years grafting away. If not, at least let them open a PPV main card or something.

But yeah, it was Makhachev’s night. Seeing all sorts of crying today that he still doesn’t deserve a title shot, needs one more win etc. Utter shite. First I kept seeing moaning that he was boring but that’s a hard case to make now with him coming off 4 straight finishes. Now the main thing I see people latching onto is ‘he hasn’t beat anyone ranked’. But he’s been scheduled to face both Beneil Dariush and Rafael Dos Anjos recently and both fell apart. A win over Dariush would’ve been ideal in leaving no doubt that he was next in line but it’s not his fault Dariush got injured. Plus look at the guys who’ve recently got title shots at 155. Dustin Poirier got one off beating a Conor McGregor who hadn’t won a fight at Lightweight since 2016. Conor might’ve been ranked at 155 but he really shouldn’t have been by that point after 5 years without a win in the division. Michael Chandler got his shot off one win over Dan Hooker. Justin Gaethje is getting a shot after one win over Chandler, who was coming off a knockout loss himself. If you can only get a title shot off beating a top ranked guy, but all the guys at the top of the rankings just keep fighting each other, what can you do? That’s why you keep just seeing the same few names in the title picture and why it’s taken the likes of Makhachev, Dariush and even Oliveira before that so long to get in the mix.

Makhachev is on a 10 fight winning streak of complete dominance and has been gradually looking more and more scary with each fight recently. Everyone loved Green yesterday and I saw way more predictions that he was gonna pull off the upset than there was any logical reason for. Yet now Makhachev has crushed him it’s being rewritten as a shit win that doesn’t boost him at all. My main thing is, if you think Makhachev doesn’t deserve the next shot after Oliveira vs Gaethje, then who deserves it more? This is how the Lightweight rankings are looking;

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So Gaethje’s getting the shot in May. Poirier just lost his title fight in December. Dariush is injured. Chandler’s coming off back-to-back losses. RDA’s fighting Fiziev next week and has been out of the mix at 155 anyway (love him but he probably shouldn’t be ranked at 155 either now). Ferguson’s in a slump. And McGregor’s a mess but I’m convinced he’ll still be in the Top 10 when he’s 65, retired and washed up on I’m A Celebrity trying to wean himself off crack.

At this point I’m convinced the people who keep saying ‘he needs one more win’ will still be saying it whoever he beats. It’s either they don’t like grapplers, they hate Muslims or they’re just McGregor fans (or all the above) who don’t want him anywhere near the belt because that snuffs out any tiny bit of hope they have left that McGregor can get that gold back. Don’t get me wrong, if there’s gonna be a delay after Oliveira vs Gaethje and Dariush is healthy in the meantime, I’d be all for Makhachev vs Dariush getting rebooked. But the path that makes the most sense now is clearly Makhachev challenging the winner of Oliveira vs Gaethje for all the marbles.

Priscila Cachoeira vs Ji Yeon Kim was some scrap! Way exceeded my expectations.

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Had Kim winning though. Thought maybe I was being biased at first because of my dislike for Cachoeira but from what I’m seeing the consensus opinion seems to agree that Kim should’ve got the nod. Glad Kim at least gets the FOTN bonus to sweeten the pill a bit but still thought she got a raw deal here. Fun fight though.

Arman Fucking Tsarukyan! Was really looking forward to this one, like I said in the opening post two of the most promising young Lightweights on the rise squaring off. Tsarukyan was just too much though. Made a right mess of Alvarez.

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Just butchered him. Bloodiest fight I’ve seen in a while. And probably Tsarukyan’s best performance in the UFC to date. Took a dangerous and tough guy, who was on a real hot streak, and just crushed him. This was the kind of fight that turns heads and people will remember, which is all he’s really been missing so far. He should get something big next. He’s calling for the Gregor Gillespie fight and I love that. There was actually rumblings of those two being booked against each other a few months back but then this fight got made and it’s gone a bit quiet on the Gillespie front. Really hope they can make that one happen though.

Saw Makhachev say something after the show that Tsarukyan was actually offered the rematch on this card when Dariush dropped out but he turned it down. Saw a quote from Tsarukyan backing it up and it made a lot of sense. He was basically saying the Makhachev rematch is inevitable but he wants proper prep for it. I’m sure some armchair warriors are calling him a fanny for that but it’s very smart. Why take the rematch on short notice and increase your chances of going 0-2 down? If they both keep winning then they’ll tangle again anyway at some point and maybe even for the title down the road. It’s actually refreshing to see a young fighter thinking about the long game rather than just making hasty decisions or being a ‘I’ll fight anyone with zero notice’ bonehead.

Armen Petrosyan vs Gregory Rodrigues was fun. Rodrigues has been great to watch in every fight I’ve seen of his since he signed with the UFC. Loved him going for the old Suloev Stretch as well!

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Again, I thought Rodrigues did enough to win it myself so was a tad surprised at the decision going the other way but what do I know?

Ignacio Bahamondes has quickly become one of my favourite Octagon newcomers over the last year. Had a corker with John Makdessi in his debut, then pulled off maybe the KO of 2021 with that spinning kick on Roosevelt Roberts, now puts in another strong performance and gets the late submission. Not sure where his ceiling is in terms of who he can beat, the loss to Makdessi doesn’t really fill me with confidence despite how good it was. But he’s clearly gonna be a highlight of any card he appears on. He’s 3 for 3 so far on delivering either a FOTN or a big finish. Still only 24 as well so who knows how far his potential goes?

Josiane Nunes again looked like a handful. Like her debut, her striking is crude and not what you’d call technical but she’s clearly got power and she throws with bad intentions.

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Christ. A rarity in women’s MMA. Pascual showed real heart and toughness to survive and see the final buzzer, especially on short notice. Neither are likely going too far in the division but Nunes is a fun addition at the prelim level and maybe Pascual will show something better with a full camp.

Terrance McKinney continues to look really promising. 7 second KO in his UFC debut, now a quick sub in this fight. Won and finished his last 5 fights. Looks good.

Ramiz Brahimaj ran straight through Micheal Gillmore as well. With ease in 2 minutes. Got to think Gillmore’s gone now, that’s 2 consecutive losses now in the UFC, a TKO and now a submission. Be gone with your wrong spelling of Michael. I don’t care that it’s technically the correct Gaelic way to spell it @Carbomb it’s still wrong to me dammit!

Good show on the whole. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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