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UFC 272: Covington vs Masvidal - Mar 5 🇺🇸


wandshogun09
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We’ve got 271 tonight but 272 is fast approaching. Only a few weeks out now and it’s one that’s probably gonna generate some discussion. Back in Vegas again for this lot.

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PPV MAIN CARD
Colby Covington vs Jorge Masvidal 

Rafael Dos Anjos vs Renato Moicano 

Edson Barboza vs Bryce Mitchell 

Alex Oliveira vs Kevin Holland

Sergey Spivak vs Greg Hardy

ESPN PRELIMS 
Jalin Turner vs Jamie Mullarkey

Marina Rodriguez vs Yan Xiaonan

Nicolae Negumereanu vs Kennedy Nzechukwu

Maryna Moroz vs Mariya Agapova

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Brian Kelleher vs Umar Nurmagomedov 

Tim Elliott vs Tagir Ulanbekov

Devonte Smith vs Ludovit Klein

Dustin Jacoby vs Michal Oleksiejczuk 

 

No title fights but that’s a quality card. In its current form anyway. You know the score by now. As always I’ll update this as and when the million pullouts and changes happen. The main card there is currently correct. Not sure about the bout order for the prelims yet.

 

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Colby Covington vs Jorge Masvidal tops the bill. A rare non-title fight PPV headliner and basically the UFC’s version of the Shawn Michaels vs Diesel ‘Good Friends, Better Enemies’ angle back in 1996. Lot of history to this one. They were training partners at American Top Team for a while, helped each other prepare for fights and even cornered each other at times.

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“We were best friends, inseparable, lived together for a couple years, just friends for almost a decade.” - Colby Covington

Masvidal backs this up. He’s talked at length about how close they were at one point, with him pretty much taking Covington under his wing when he first entered the MMA world, and Colby would help him with the wrestling side of things. The two became tight and the way Jorge tells it, he let Colby stay at his place when things were rough in the early days.

“This individual lived on my couch for a year. While he had a broken hand, he was living off my couch, eating my meal prep. I was already sponsored whilst he was an amateur coming into the world.” - Jorge Masvidal

Shades of 2Pac to Biggie in the ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ song;

“Biggie, remember when I used to let you sleep on the couch, and beg a bitch to let you sleep in the house?”

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Anyway, somewhere along the line, it all went sour. Whenever you have top fighters competing in the same division, teammates or not, there’s gonna come a time when they get in each others’ way. Some gyms in the past have been able to successfully navigate it and avoid the conflict. AKA probably did it best with Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck and Mike Swick in the mid to late 2000s, despite all three being in and around the title mix at the time. But with Colby and Jorge, even with their history, with the personalities involved the friendship was always likely to crumble at some point.

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Good Friends…Better Enemies.

They’ve been chatting shite to each other for what seems like forever now and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it all went tits up. Looking back at old articles and tweets, they were still talking nicely about each other in early 2019 but they were definitely slagging each other off by the end of that year so something turned the tide around that time. Depending on who you believe, it either started with Jorge getting jealous of Colby’s rise through the ranks or a from financial dispute between Colby and his and Jorge’s coach. Here’s a bit from each side on their versions of how the beef started;

Colby…

“It was right when I came back from Brazil and I’d fought Demian Maia. And he had just fought Maia like eight months, six months ago. He’d lost to Demian Maia and it was his big fight, Maia was on an eight fight win streak or whatever crushing everybody and it was a title eliminator fight. And he got beat up in that fight by Demian Maia. When I fight Maia two fights later, I go out there and just leave him in a pool of his own blood in his own city, tell the Brazilians they were filthy animals, because they were being filthy animals that night, and the place is a dump. I remember coming back from that trip from Brazil and he was just so salty, just acting like a diva. As soon as I passed him up, started getting more success than him, he got jealous. He started saying comments in the media for no reason. Like, dude, we could go about this so much better than this, man. He could’ve been a better person. But it just showed his true colors. It showed the little thug that he is, the little criminal. He’s broken the law. He’s a felon! And I want to do something for law enforcement, all the first responders around the world, and crush this dude. Beat him up so bad he’s not recognizable the next day.” - Colby Covington

And Jorge’s version…

“He ripped off my coach. That was his coach. We were with him until his title fight. After he won the title, he owed him a certain amount of money, didn’t pay him. I said ‘If you don’t pay him, I’m gonna fuck you up.’ My coach got in between it. ‘It doesn’t have to be like this, let it slide’…since then I ain’t talked to the dude.” - Jorge Masvidal in September 2019.

The timeline of Jorge’s story doesn’t really add up though. He must be talking about after Colby beat Rafael Dos Anjos and became interim champ because that’s the only title Colby’s won. But that was in June 2018 and Jorge was still friendly with Colby for a bit after that. At least publicly anyway. Regardless, things went bad. As usual, MMA fans are crying ‘work’ but it’s dragged on for too long now and I really don’t credit either of them with enough intelligence to successfully play the long game and map out some big ‘angle’ like this. 80’s Vince McMahon at the peak of his powers - before he went completely barmy and turned into the demented, senile waxwork of himself he is today - couldn’t have scripted this friends turned foes storyline any better. And there’s too many people involved. Colby didn’t just fall out with Masvidal, he had a public and nasty split with ATT as well in 2020 and has gone back and forth with former teammates including Dustin Poirier and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Maybe they’ll squash it after they fight but I do believe there’s a genuine rift there. They’ve bashed each other publicly for the better part of 3 years now and I don’t think they were necessarily even ‘building a fight’ most of the time. They didn’t even seem all that interested in fighting each other until recently, they were both chasing the title held by Usman but they’ve both gone 0-2 to the champ now. The fight is happening now because they’re out of the title picture and this is probably the biggest fight available to both at the moment and a ticket back into the mix for the winner. Jorge seems well fired up.

“I really wanna hurt this guy in a way that I’ve never done. I want to make it seem like the Ben Askren fight was very merciful compared to what I’m gonna do to Colby. I’m going to fucking break your face, man. Everything that you said, we’re gonna have to see what’s up when we get in the cage.” - Jorge Masvidal

Too angry? I mean, he’s been around long enough and knows the score. He always talks a good game. I don’t think he’s gonna just go in there and fight all stupid and reckless. But if he does come in overly aggressive it could play right into Colby’s hands. Meanwhile, Covington’s been on the wind up as usual. Even posting this photo of him with Masvidal’s ex wife!

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More from ‘Hit ‘Em Up’…

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Like I say, old Vinny Mac couldn’t have wrote a better soap opera in pants than this shit.

On a serious note, it’s a good fight. Pure heel vs heel for me. Can’t stand either of the cringeball twats but it’s a fight that really needed to happen given the backstory and all the talk on both sides. I still think this should’ve been the pairing to coach TUF but whatever. I guess the silver lining is at least we get the fight sooner this way and don’t have to wait until July or some bollocks. I’ve got to favour Covington myself but I do think Masvidal can make a fight of this. He’s got the boxing that might make Colby’s volume punching offence a bit trickier to pull off and he can go into the later rounds and has a chin on him. Although, who knows how much of it got disintegrated by Usman’s right hand last time out? It’s a fun one even beyond all the drama surrounding it but I think Colby’s probably coming out with the W.

 

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Rafael Dos Anjos vs Renato Moicano is the new co-main event. Usually this would be a fight I’d be all for but it’s quite a comedown from what we were supposed to get. RDA vs Rafael Fiziev was easily one of my most anticipated fights on the entire current schedule. It had already been pushed back from February to this card but the delay seemed worth it because it meant they’d at least fight in front of a crowd rather than the near empty Apex. Bastard COVID took Fiziev out. Then we were teased with Islam Makhachev as a substitute. He offered to step in, RDA accepted but for whatever reason it never got made and Moicano was confirmed as the replacement. Can’t complain too much, it’s a good fight. But RDA vs Fiziev or Makhachev would’ve been amazing. Oh well.

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For me, Dos Anjos one of the most under-appreciated champions in UFC history. There was a spell there where I genuinely think he was one of the very best Lightweights we’ve ever seen. You can go right back to early in his UFC career. The beautiful submission win over Terry Etim, the quick knockout over George Sotiropoulos. These are wins that new fans today probably won’t rate but those guys were rising contenders back then. From there he beat Donald Cerrone in a fight most were expecting him to lose and over the next few years he went on to stop Benson Henderson in a round, kick the fuck out of Nate Diaz for 3 rounds and utterly school Anthony Pettis to become the UFC champ.

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A performance that was so completely dominant that shitheads like Rogan and Schaub, and by extension a load of the MMA fanbase, speculated that he must have been on the juice. Pettis had been the darling of the MMA media and fans for a while going in and many expected him to be in the pound-for-pound talk before long. He had genuine superstar potential. RDA shut all of that down and Pettis never ever really got back on track. So because RDA wasn’t supposed to win that fight, let alone dominate, he had to have cheated. It was pure speculation based on fuck all other than he beat a guy he wasn’t supposed to beat and looked phenomenal doing it. I remember some right goofy talk at the time along the lines of ‘well how did he suddenly look so good?’ Complete shite. Anyone who’d actually been watching Dos Anjos prior to that knew he’d been really good for a long time. Even most of his losses at that point were close decisions or him getting caught at the end of fights he was doing well in. He was threatening to break into the title picture long before he actually did and between 2012 and 2015 he went on an 11 fight tear over most of the best 155ers of the time and the only man to beat him during that period was some sod named Khabib. RDA is one of the best in the history of the Lightweight division, don’t let anyone tell you differently. Yeah, over the last few years he’s fizzled out a bit but he’s also been fighting almost nothing but killers. Most of the losses were up at 170 against the likes of Usman, Covington, Edwards, for fuck’s sake. The last time he lost at 155 was against prime Tony Ferguson back in 2016. He’s 37 now, the sand timer’s running out and the injuries have been piling up but he’s still game as fuck and he’s still got the skills to put almost anyone in bother on the feet and the ground. 

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For Moicano this is a huge opportunity. It wasn’t that long ago that people were starting to look at him as a potential future contender when he was at 145. He beat Jeremy Stephens, Calvin Kattar, Cub Swanson and was giving Brian Ortega fits before getting caught in a late submission. He went off the boil a bit after that and got stopped by Aldo, Zombie and Fiziev but he’s clawed it back a bit at 155 recently with back-to-back submission wins over Jai Herbert and Alexander Hernandez. The Hernandez win was only the other week at UFC 271 as well so he should be fairly sharp still from his camp for that. The fight is still a 5 rounder but it’s gonna be contested at a Catchweight of 160lbs now due to the very late notice for Moicano. It’s a cool enough fight. Looking at the pictures there, it looks like a bit like a big brother vs little brother matchup. And RDA hasn’t fought since he beat Paul Felder in 2020 so while Moicano’s tough, it’s probably a more sensible matchup anyway than an active and in form Fiziev or Makhachev would’ve been. 

 

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Edson Barboza vs Bryce Mitchell is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** and is such an intriguing clash of styles. Obviously, Barboza is a killer striker. One of the nastiest pure strikers on the roster and has scored some of the best knockouts in UFC history. That spinning kick against Terry Etim and the knee against Beneil Dariush immediately spring to mind. He’s had a bunch of losses as well and I think it’s clear at this point that he’s never going to get over that hurdle when it comes to the title picture. But what an exciting fighter to watch. And where he’s a striking specialist, Mitchell is all grappling. He’s 27 years old, undefeated at 14-0 with 9 by submission. He also has a sub via twister on his record.

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He’s only the second man to pull off a twister in the UFC. First was the Korean Zombie. So yeah, this is a fun fight. The man who scored maybe the greatest KO ever in the UFC against the man who pulled off one of the rarest submissions ever in the UFC. What’s not to like? It’s a big step up for Mitchell as well. He’s looked a right handful so far but this’ll be his first taste of that upper level. Barboza might have a patchy record but that’s because he’s been consistently fighting top level opposition for about a decade now. Very much looking forward to seeing how this one plays out.

 

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Alex Oliveira vs Kevin Holland. Interesting one. This’ll be Holland’s Welterweight debut. In the UFC anyway. He’s fought at 170 earlier in his career. It’s been a weird couple of years for Holland. He had a perfect 2020. Fought 5 times, won 5 times, 4 of them inside the distance and capped the year off with a first round knockout over Jacare. Then in 2021 it was a complete reversal of fortunes. He got ragdolled by Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori in shutout decision losses, then had that clash of heads No Contest with Kyle Daukaus in his last fight. It’s crazy to think but this time last year people were talking about him challenging Israel Adesanya for the belt at 185 and it genuinely only seemed maybe a fight away. Those Brunson and Vettori losses didn’t just stop his hype train, they ran it right off the tracks. Hopefully he can get back on track with a fresh start at 170 but, really, it’s an even tougher and deeper division and if he doesn’t address the wrestling deficiency he’s gonna keep running into the same problem at a certain level. Oliveira’s no easy first fight at a new weight either. He’s beatable but he’s a scrappy sod and can spring an upset on a good night. Should be entertaining given their styles but I could do without Holland’s talking shit in the cage gimmick myself. It’s got old for me now and when you’re losing fights it doesn’t really have the same effect. When you’re winning and talking shite that’s one thing. When you’re losing and talking shite you’re just a div who chats shit and can’t back it up. Right now, Holland just needs a win. Badly.

 

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Sergey Spivak vs Greg Hardy. Right then. This was supposed to happen at UFC 270 in January but Hardy pulled out with an injury. Hopefully it goes ahead this time and Spivak throttles the twat. Spivak’s 27 and has a record of 13-3 with 11 finishes. Doesn’t scream ‘future champion’ or anything but he’s not bad. He has a decision win over Alexey Oleynik and a submission win over Tai Tuivasa, who knocked Hardy out in July. Obviously MMA maths means sod all but I definitely think, on paper at least, he has the tools to give the domestic abuser fits here. He’s not a great striker from what I remember but if he plays to his strengths and gets the grappling going, based on what we’ve seen of Hardy’s ‘ground game’, Spivak could potentially make this a very easy night’s work. Hardy’s been stopped by Marcin Tybura and Tuivasa in his last couple of trips to the Octagon. For all his faults though, and there are many, he’s definitely got a dig on him. If he connects you’re gonna know about it. And Spivak’s not the best defensively. We’ve seen Walt Harris and Tom Aspinall bash him up early. Hopefully he can avoid that early danger spell here. Hardy is usually total arse once his cardio fails him around the 3 or 4 minute mark. So if Spivak can get the takedown or tie him up in a clinch and wear him down I think it’ll be his fight to lose.

 

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Jalin Turner vs Jamie Mullarkey. A fight that’s not gonna get much attention on a card like this but it could well be a cracker. Turner came in a while back and I remember Bisping bigging him up before his UFC debut and saying he was one of his main sparring partners for his Anderson Silva fight. Problem was, that debut was against Vicente Luque and he got sparked in a round. He’s had his ups and downs since but has won his last 3 fights now, finishing them all, taking him to 11-5 overall. He’s not operating on a high level but for where he is on the cards, he’s been enjoyable to watch. And I say it every time he fights but Mullarkey got on my radar in his Octagon debut, with his war against Brad Riddell. I’d never seen either before and went in with zero expectations but it was a hell of a fight. If you missed it, get that corrected. He’s 14-4 now and has knocked out Khama Worthy and Devonte Smith in his last couple of fights. Should be exciting however long it lasts.

 

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Marina Rodriguez vs Yan Xiaonan. Good fight this, although it kind of feels like a bit of a step sideways for Rodriguez. She’s 15-1-2 now and had a bit of an iffy start in the UFC but she really seems to have turned a corner in her last few fights and she had a big 2021. She knocked out Amanda Ribas in January in a fight most expected her to lose. Then in May, the UFC were scrambling after a main event fell apart and threw Rodriguez vs Michelle Waterson together at the last minute. It all came together just days before the show and Rodriguez had a nightmare of a fight week where she barely got everything sorted and flew out just in time, showed up, made weight and then went 5 rounds the next night and won comfortably. Waterson isn’t the biggest win these days but under those circumstances, it was quite impressive. Then in October, she beat Mackenzie Dern in another 5 round main event. I really rate her and I think she’s the darkhorse of the Strawweight division. Xiaonan is a solid opponent with a 13-2-1 record and wins over Claudia Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Angela Hill. But she’s coming into this fight off the back of a complete mauling from Carla Esparza. Like I say, the timing is a bit odd. Rodriguez has been steadily climbing and racking up wins so chucking her in with someone coming off a bad loss at this point seems weird but whatever. It’s looking like Namajunas vs Esparza 2 for the title is next. If Rodriguez wins this fight she’ll surely be the front runner for the next crack at the gold.

 

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Nicolae Negumereanu vs Kennedy Nzechukwu. Solid enough fight this. Negumereanu is Romanian, 27 years old with a record of 11-1 and 10 finishes. Not too shabby. He’s beat Ike Villanueva and Aleksa Camur in his last two but…he lost to Saparbek Safarov before that and I don’t rate Safarov at all. Nzechukwu is my boy here though. He’s Nigerian, 29 years old, 9-2 with 6 knockouts. Wasn’t especially arsed about him before last year but his back-to-back POTN winning knockouts against Carlos Ulberg and Danilo Marques won me around. The Ulberg one especially because Ulberg had some hype on him coming off DWCS and he was giving Nzechukwu a hiding early on, only for the ‘African Savage’ to bust out a big KO out of nowhere. He’s coming off a TKO loss to Da Un Jung here though, hopefully he gets back to winning ways.

 

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Maryna Moroz vs Mariya Agapova. OK then. These prelims are usually just random pairings but this is actually a bit of a grudge match. They used to train together at American Top Team apparently. Man, ATT again. What’s going on over there? Anyway, things turned nasty and Moroz went public ripping into Agapova.

“She wrecked her car in a drugged state. All in all, a very interesting person. She got kicked out of two gyms because she was threatening to stab and so forth. Also stalked the wife of a fighter, who is pregnant - she also threatened to stab. In general, the police called her four times here. And that’s it, Mariya Agapova, the UFC junkie.” - Maryna Moroz

Agapova was asked about these comments after her last fight and, as you’d expect, she wasn’t too pleased.

“I would like to punish this bitch because she tried to destroy my career. I want to smash her. We were training together, we were teammates, and after I left she started lying and talking shit about me. I lost sponsorships because of her interview. I lost fans. It was not nice. She also cheated my manager from money. My manager Alex Davis is such a good person. He’s super nice and she cheated him from money. She fucked him up. I would like to beat her ass and smash her face. I call her to fight, so if you want to talk shit, be ready to answer for your words.” - Mariya Agapova

Christ 🤣 these two don’t get on then. Moroz is Ukrainian, 10-3 but hasn’t fought in 2 years. Agapova is from Kazakhstan, 10-2 and coming off a submission win in October. This is a bang average undercard filler fight that I wouldn’t usually give two fucks about but all of a sudden I’m quite looking forward to it now. And in fairness, they’ve both been decent to watch when I have seen them. The added dislike between them here should hopefully push them both to really go for it.

 

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Brian Kelleher vs Umar Nurmagomedov should be fun. Win or lose, Kelleher is always usually in entertaining scraps. He’s became an undercard highlight for me over the last few years. Never gonna be a contender but he’s a tough little sod and always looking for the finish whether it’s in the striking or the grappling. He’s a guy you throw in there with up and comers to give them a test. Which is what this fight is all about. Nurmagomedov is Khabib’s cousin, turns 26 just before this show and is undefeated at 13-0. Hasn’t beat any known opposition yet but so far, so good and that’s about to change anyway. He made his UFC debut last January, submitting Sergey Morozov on Fight Island. He’s since been linked to fights with Jack Shore and Nathaniel Wood but they fell through. Shame because either of them would’ve been class. If Umar’s what many think he is, he should win this. I remember him looking impressive against Morozov, we just need to see more of him. This should give us a better idea what he’s got because Kelleher is gonna bring it.

 

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Tim Elliott vs Tagir Ulanbekov. Decent fight, nothing special. Elliott’s 17-12-1 now. Not the best. I’ve always said Elliott’s a better fighter than his near 50-50 record would have you believe. He’s not good enough to beat the top boys, that’s evident, but he’s got skills. He’s fought pretty much all the top fighters from Mighty Mouse to Figgy to Benavidez to Dodson to newer faces like Royval and Askarov. That’s why he’s got so many losses. He’s not beating that level of opposition. But he brings it and he’s not a bad fighter at all. People forget but he actually gave DJ one of the best fights of his UFC title reign. Ulanbekov I’m less familiar with but he’s a teammate of Khabib’s. 14-1 record and coming off 5 straight wins. Not a lot else to say really. Elliott should be a good litmus test for him.

 

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Devonte Smith vs Ludovit Klein. No strong opinion one way or the other on this one. I remember being quite high on Smith at one point. He stopped Julian Erosa in 46 seconds in his UFC debut. That’s aged well. And he followed that up with another first round finish of Dong Hyun Ma. But he’s had a couple of losses since and missed all of 2020. He got put away by Jamie Mullarkey last time out. He’s still the right side of 30, there’s some time, but he needs to get back on track here. Klein is stepping in on short notice, replacing Erick Gonzalez. I think it’s an upgrade actually. Klein’s coming off a couple of losses but he’s 17-4 with 16 finishes and some nice headkick knockouts as I recall. Decent. 

 

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Dustin Jacoby vs Michal Oleksiejczuk sounds like a pure slugfest to me. Maybe a one round job. Both usually look to just bite down on the mouthpiece and throw with full power and bad intentions. Jacoby’s been on good form since he came back to the UFC in 2020. He’s gone 4-0-1, the only one he didn’t win was the split draw in a right scrap with Ion Cutelaba. And from what I’ve seen of Oleksiejczuk, he doesn’t really know how to fight any other way than just slinging haymakers. He’s 16-4-0-1 with 12 finishes and comes in off a first round stoppage over Shamil Gamzatov. Neither are likely ever troubling any title pictures but there’s always room for a matchup like this on a card. It’s either gonna be a knockout either way or a 15 minute dogfight.

 

Where did it all go wrong? 

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Edited by wandshogun09
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On 2/13/2022 at 2:52 PM, neil said:

I think Covington will absolutely rinse Masvidal myself.

It's the most likely outcome, although there's always a punchers chance when it comes to Masvidal. Plus the emotion of the whole feud may play a part, but the smart money is a Colby decision win.

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Bout order (as it stands anyway) confirmed.

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Think the Marina Rodriguez vs Yan Xiaonan fight deserved a main card spot, to be honest. That’s probably gonna end up being a #1 contender fight. But whatever. Looks good, there’s some quality stuff throughout this one. Even the Fight Pass bit, I’m gonna have to tune in right from the off if they’re having Jacoby vs Oleksiejczuk jerk the curtain. Kelleher vs Umar there as well.

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Listen to this dopey hillbilly;

Although it’s hardly a surprise considering this pillock actually almost ripped his own ballbag off with a drill a while back. Proper shite for brains this one. I actually think if Barboza kicks his head off it’d improve his intelligence. 

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I've said it before, and I'll say it again, just because someone can sing, dance, act, or punch people in the head does not mean they should be taken seriously on any matter outwith their own speciality.

That goes for all political shades, religious beliefs, the lot. They have a right to say what they believe, no matter how fucking stupid it may be, but each of us has the right to completely disregard them as we would anyone else.

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11 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

Well yeah, I’m disregarding it because he’s a complete wally, but I still thought his wallyheadedness should be shared so we can all point and laugh at him. 

Didn't he say something similar elsewhere in the past? The whole "God's country" thing rings a bell in an MMA sense, which is why I assumed Ariel asked him, knowing full well he'd get some fodder to go viral with?

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Probably. I can’t say I’ve watched many interviews of his and never saw the full thing with Ariel but I’ve got vague memories of him saying similarly goofy shite before. There was one a while back when he was talking about Mayweather and he said if they were cellmates in prison, Floyd’s getting his bumhole seen to or something. I don’t believe anyone asked for that information either. He just seems like a proper backwater, cousin marrying, gun bumming, knuckle dragging idiot.

And for anyone who missed the story at the time;

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