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UFC 274: Oliveira vs Gaethje - May 7 🇺🇸


wandshogun09
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Posted (edited)

We’re a bit of a way off but we should probably be talking about this. Phoenix, Arizona hosts this lot…

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PPV MAIN CARD
Charles Oliveira© vs Justin Gaethje - Lightweight Title

Rose Namajunas© vs Carla Esparza - Strawweight Title 

Michael Chandler vs Tony Ferguson 

Shogun Rua vs Ovince Saint Preux 

Randy Brown vs Khaos Williams

ESPN PRELIMS 
Francisco Trinaldo vs Danny Roberts

Norma Dumont vs Macy Chiasson

Brandon Royval vs Matt Schnell

Blagoy Ivanov vs Marcos Rogerio De Lima 

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS 
Andre Fialho vs Cameron VanCamp

Tracy Cortez vs Melissa Gatto

Kleydson Rodrigues vs CJ Vergara 

Lupita Godinez vs Ariane Carnelossi 

Journey Newson vs Ferne Garcia

 

As usual, ignore the bout order, it’s not final. I just wanted to whack this thread up early. It’s a great card. Think it was originally being pencilled in for Brazil and you can kind of tell looking at the matchups on the card but it never got the green light and here we are. Shame because this card in front of a hot Brazilian crowd would’ve been incredible. But Phoenix gets it. Right mix of stuff on this one.

 

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Charles Oliveira vs Justin Gaethje tops this one. What a fight. Such an interesting contrast in styles but one thing they both have in common is that they’ve consistently been exciting to watch for years on end now. Win or lose, I honestly can’t recall a dud from either man. I don’t wanna jinx it but I really can’t see why that would change now. They’re both just too attacking and aggressive in their styles for anything less than at least a good fight. And I’d say there’s serious potential for this to be so much more than just good.

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Been a fan of Oliveira since very early into his UFC career but him as UFC champion was something I never expected to see. Everyone’s on the bandwagon now and acting like he’s gonna walk through everyone but I remember the days when he got no love from the majority of fans. Before 2020, you wouldn’t have seen any predictions of him becoming a top player in the Lightweight division. Partly because Khabib was still running shit back then but also, Oliveira had yet to get his breakthrough opportunity against an established top name at 155. Fast forward 2 years and everyone’s a believer in Oliveira now. It started in 2020 with the wins over Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson. Last year he took on Michael Chandler for the vacant belt and knocked him out. He then capped off 2021 with a successful first title defence, submitting Dustin Poirier.

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It’s been quite a ride and it’s been great to see him get to this point. He’s always seemed like a top bloke and he’s come up from nothing and was never exactly pushed by the promotion or expected to go too far. He had a bunch of losses at 145, had a reputation for a while as a guy who’d crumble if a fight got too tough. He’s pretty much put that all to bed over the last couple of years though. I think there’s a few factors. Timing is one. I’m a huge fan but make no mistake, he’s been fortunate that Khabib retired when he did. But also, moving up to 155 has clearly proven to be a much better fit for him. He’s strong and powerful at the weight and he takes a shot better than he did as a Featherweight. I think a lot of that ‘quitter’ talk stemmed from him getting stopped in fights where he’d made bad weight cuts and never had the durability. In his last 2 fights as a 155er he’s came back from a beating to stop Chandler, and also subbed Poirier after a rough first round. I think a lot of it’s just him maturing as a fighter as well. He’s 32 now and this’ll be his 42nd fight. Right now, he’s smack bang in his physical prime. He’s just that right balance of being experienced but still fairly young and he’s grown into his frame and grown in confidence. It’s been the perfect storm. Khabib fucking off couldn’t have happened at a better time for him but he’s been putting the graft in for well over a decade now. It’s nice to see it pay off.

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In Gaethje he’s got a bastard of a fight on his hands though. It always is. Anyone locked in a cage with Gaethje, even if they win they’re gonna have to walk through fire to get it done. It’s forgotten now because of how the fight ended but even in the Khabib fight, Gaethje was fucking cracking him with big shots coming in. It was only Khabib’s rock chin and him fighting like a man possessed that night that kept him coming. Poirier and Alvarez had to go through hell to beat him as well. He’s just a triple hard bastard who loves to be in the chaos of battle. His last fight is as good an example of it as any.

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Him and Chandler went 15 barmy minutes at Madison Square Garden in November in what most people had as 2021’s Fight Of The Year. A nutty fight and it’s almost a miracle it somehow went the distance. Gaethje got the nod from the judges and was granted the title shot. Still not sure about that, to be honest. He lost his last title shot to Khabib in 2020, then sat out a whole year, wins one fight (albeit an incredible one) against Chandler and gets another crack at the gold? Yet people argue Islam Makhachev doesn’t deserve a shot? Whatever. I’m not gonna complain because we’re getting fucking Oliveira vs Gaethje! What MMA fan is gonna bitch about that?

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“It’s going to be a war. He’s going to walk forward and so am I. We’ll see who has power. People say, ‘You should take him down’. That’s cool. I know I have to because that’s what I do best, but I’m not concerned about that. I’m not just training to take him down or defend takedowns. I’m training MMA. Brace yourself, because the first round will be a war.” - Charles Oliveira

Should be a hell of a fight. It’s one of them where I really don’t have a clue how it’s gonna play out either. I’ve seen a fair few predictions along the lines of ‘Oliveira’s gonna take him down and school him’. I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of that, Oliveira’s on fire right now. But I think a lot of people are putting too much stock in Gaethje’s loss to Khabib. Just because Khabib was able to take Gaethje down at will doesn’t mean everyone can. Oliveira’s BJJ is fantastic and his wrestling has improved but he’s no Khabib. I don’t see him getting the takedowns easy but we’ll see. On the flip side, Oliveira’s had to gut through two bad first rounds in his last 2 fights, and Gaethje’s a strong starter with heavy hands. How the fuck does this one go?

 

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Rose Namajunas vs Carla Esparza 2 is your co-headliner. A rematch 8 years in the making. Not a blockbuster or anything and I’ve never been a fan of Esparza or really gotten into her fights but I quite like the story here and I think Rose has the kind of style that makes for a watchable fight with pretty much anyone.

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They first met back in 2014. They were on The Ultimate Fighter season to crown the UFC’s first ever Strawweight champion. Esparza was the favourite to win the tournament going in. She was the #1 seed, had a 9-2 record and had already won the Invicta belt. Namajunas was the #7 seed and was just 22 years old with a 2-1 record. She was green as grass but had already shown some raw talent in her 3 professional fights. To get to the finals, Esparza had beat Angela Hill by submission and got decisions over Tecia Torres and Jessica Penne. While Namajunas had really shone with 3 submissions over Alex Chambers, Joanne Calderwood and Randa Markos. I remember there was a buzz around Rose coming off the show and Dana was already hyping her up as possibly the ‘next Ronda Rousey’. That kind of talk is usually the death knell for fighters coming up. We saw it with Philipe ‘The Next GSP’ Nover and Uriah ‘The Next Anderson Silva’ Hall. But Rose has done alright for herself over the years. This fight just came a little bit too soon for her, I think.

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Esparza won by submission in the third round to become the UFC’s first ever champion at 115lbs. I don’t think I’ve seen the fight since the night it happened. I’ll probably do my usual thing of rewatching it and doing a little post on it in here at some point before this show. All I remember is the finish. They’ve both had their ups and downs in the 8 years since.

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Esparza got completely dismantled by prime Joanna Jedrzejczyk and lost the belt in her very first defence in 2015. Just an utter battering. Since then she’s lost a few, won some more but it’s nearly all been close decisions. She’s never been the most exciting to watch but she did have an absolute corker against Alexa Grasso in there back in 2019.

Rose did eventually fulfil her potential of becoming UFC champion in 2017. Wins over Angela Hill, Paige VanZant, Tecia Torres and Michelle Waterson on the way up earned her a title shot and, at MSG, she shocked the MMA world when she knocked out Joanna Jedrzejczyk in a round to become champ.

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This was a massive victory and quite an upset at the time. Jedrzejczyk had been a dominant champion and there seemed to be no end in sight for her reign of terror. Some chalked it up as a fluke but then they did the rematch and Rose beat her again on points over 5 rounds. Erasing all doubt. She’d arrived. She lost the title in 2019, suffering a brutal knockout via a Jessica Andrade slam. Rose came right down on her head and neck and it was terrifying to watch but luckily she avoided serious injury. They rematched in 2020 and Rose avenged the loss, winning a decision in a really entertaining fight. As I recall she looked fantastic that night, one of her best overall performances. But before the rematch, Andrade had already lost the title to new Chinese sensation Zhang Weili. So Rose got the win back but not the belt. It did set her up with a crack at Zhang though.

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She knocked Zhang out with a left high kick Cro Cop himself would’ve been proud of, in the first round, to regain the UFC gold. They did the immediate rematch (for some reason) in April last year and Rose won a split decision.

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And still. 

It’s weird but her 2 fights with Zhang almost completely mirrored her 2 fight series against Joanna. First round KO in the first fight, doubts on how legit the win was and silly talk of her ‘getting lucky’, then goes the distance and wins decisions in the rematches. The second Zhang fight was mega close and I can see a third fight down the line at some point but I’m glad it’s not happening now. The UFC are so ‘rematch happy’ I was actually half expecting Rose vs Zhang 3 but thankfully they’ve gone a different route.

Like I said, I’m not a fan of Esparza but fair’s fair, she has earned this title shot. She’s won her last 5 in a row now. Beat Virna Jandiroba, Alexa Grasso (in that great fight I mentioned above), Michelle Waterson and Marina Rodriguez. The only knock on these wins was that they’d all gone the distance and a couple were narrow decisions. But there aren’t many on a win streak at the top end of Strawweight. Then Esparza went out in her last fight in May, and butchered Yan Xiaonan.

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Proper messed her up. It was the kind of performance she’d been missing and the statement she needed to make. And with the backstory and history between her and Rose, and her winning the first fight, it seemed like Namajunas vs Esparza 2 was the obvious choice for the next title fight. Dana initially wasn’t keen though. Apparently, after the Xiaonan win, Esparza had opted to sit out and wait for her title shot and that never goes down well with Dana. Esparza kept making her case…

“You can’t get much of a better storyline than the one we have. She’s grown so much over the past seven years, and I know I won’t be facing the same Rose. But I’ve changed too. It’s going to be a completely different fight with completely different fighters. This belt is everything I’ve been working toward. Ever since I lost it six years ago, I haven’t stopped working to get it back.” - Carla Esparza

She even said she was willing to delay her upcoming wedding if it clashed with a potential title fight. You couldn’t really ask much more of her and even Rose backed her up and said she wanted the Esparza rematch as her next title defence.

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Rose’s coach Trevor Wittman also sees Esparza as the most deserving and the trickiest fight out there for them of the current crop.

“I think Carla is the biggest challenge out there right now. She beat Rose, and that was where our team really came together. I thought as coaches we made some big, horrible decisions in that fight. I was almost too much of a fan. I watched her on ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ submit everybody. I didn’t talk to her about a five-round fight. There’s a lot of things. So, I want that back as a coach.”

“I think Carla is the toughest fight out there. Stylistically, she’s the toughest. She’s a grinder and whatever the UFC thinks, maybe it’s just marketability, but that’s the toughest fight out there. Rose has got every one of her rematches back that she’s lost, so that would be cool to get back.” - Trevor Wittman

In the end, I guess Dana saw sense. It’s not gonna set the world alight in terms of adding a ton of PPV buys but would the other options - Rodriguez or another go with Zhang - really have made much difference? This was the fight to make. And I think it’s a very interesting one. My immediate instinct is to say Esparza wins again. I just think she’s got a style that’s always gonna be problematic for Rose. And clearly, even her coach recognises that. But when you look at the two of them, I think it’s definitely Rose who’s grown more as a fighter. The first fight was so long ago, Joanna was still Strawweight Queen, Anthony Pettis was the King Of 155, Ronda Rousey was on top of the world, Conor McGregor was still a year off knocking out Aldo, the UFC’s Reebok deal hadn’t even kicked in yet etc etc. Christ, even Rose herself still had the long hair. It seems like a lifetime ago now. She was 22 then, now she’s 29. She’s been through a lot of ups and downs since 2014, won the title, lost the title, won it back, beat some of the very best in the division. She’s a completely different, more mature fighter than the 3 fight novice Esparza choked last time. All that said though, I just can’t shake the feeling that Esparza’s all wrong for her. We’ll see how it plays out and I’d love to see Rose win but it’s a difficult one for sure.

 

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Michael Chandler vs Tony Ferguson is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** here. The obvious pick, I know, but this one really stands out. Could be absolute bedlam. When it was announced I saw all kinds of talk that Ferguson’s fucked and ‘RIP Tony’ and all that but really, it’s not like Chandler’s in his prime either. You get the feeling he’s probably got more durability left at this point but he’s been stopped himself a few times, as recently as last year. It’s not like they’re feeding Tony to some 25 year old killer. These are two guys at a similar stage in their careers. Chandler will be 36 by the time the cage door shuts here, has lost his last 2 and is 1-2 in the UFC. Ferguson’s 38 and has lost his last 3. It’s a pretty logical booking. And I like it. I’m not for one second pretending Ferguson’s not on the slide. He’s clearly slowing down and I think that war with Gaethje in 2020 was the straw that broke the nutcase’s back. He’s taken ridiculous punishment throughout his career and could always usually rely on his insane durability to get him through and snatch up a D’Arce or whatever.

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Absolute warrior. But everyone has a limit and that style was always gonna catch up to him eventually. Late 30s is a great innings for a Lightweight’s prime, especially when you fight the way he does. But I think that Gaethje beating took something from him that he’ll never get back. He’s since lost decisions to Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush. One way traffic fights but both guys were just better grapplers and able to control him. And Tony still showed mad mental toughness in his refusal to tap to the Oliveira armbar and the Dariush kneebar. Both were brutal to watch and Tony just wasn’t having it. He was gonna let his limbs snap rather than admit defeat. So it’s not a mental thing. He’s still the same old Tony. But physically there’s massive doubts now. What I like about this matchup is Chandler is almost certainly gonna just meet him head on and try to match his craziness. You’d never guess it to look at him or hear him talk but Chandler is a lunatic in there. His fights with Eddie Alvarez in Bellator confirmed that and his FOTY thriller with Gaethje in November just cemented it even further.

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Madman.

He has the skill set to potentially just do what Oliveira and Dariush did and put Fergie on his back the whole fight but that comes with its own risks and I think Chandler will fancy a dogfight here. If he was happy to stand and sling haymakers with Gaethje he’ll do it with anyone. He loves it. He really needs a W right about now and maybe he tries to play it safe, but he’s the type that will revert to war mode as soon as he gets tagged.

“The thing about Tony is he’s unbreakable. He’s a little bit crazy, got a screw loose. He’s not gonna be a guy that I’m going to be able to break, he’s not going to be a guy that I’m going to be able to wear out and tire out. But I’m going to get in his face and put hands on him very quickly. You never know what you’re going to get whenever Tony steps into the Octagon. He’s just unpredictable. You’ve got to expect the unexpected when you’re fighting Tony Ferguson.” - Michael Chandler

I see this just descending into total chaos. Could be over in the first exchange or it could be 15 minutes of blood and carnage. Based on Chandler being able to go the distance in that war with Gaethje, you’d fancy him to hold up better here and he’s definitely got the bigger one shot power. But I don’t know if I see it as the guaranteed sacrifice most fans have it down as. Chandler isn’t unstoppable himself and, although he’s been ridiculously exciting to watch so far in the UFC, he’s not been winning much either. I’m favouring Chandler to win but it’s more down to my lack of confidence in 2022 Ferguson than me thinking Chandler’s on top form. I still think it has serious barnburner potential though. Their styles and willingness to get into a fire fight shouldn’t allow for anything less and I think they’re kind of meeting at the right time. Gonna be a wild ride.

 

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Shogun Rua vs Ovince Saint Preux 2. Deary me. I really, really, really could’ve done without this. Anyone who’s been reading these threads for some time will know of my love for Shogun, Wandy and the Chute Boxe lot. Hence the username. One of my favourite fighters ever in combat sports and a big part of the reason I got properly hooked on MMA.

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The Pride GP win in 2005, the Liddell KO in 2009, solving the Machida riddle and becoming UFC champ in 2010, the all time classic with Hendo in 2011, even the forgotten gem with Brandon Vera in 2012. He was so great to watch over the years. But the fact that the last true career highlight I can find was a whole decade ago says it all really. It’s been diminishing returns since about 2013 now. His knees were gone even before that and the once dynamic kicker and knee-er was slowly reduced to a plodding puncher over the course of his UFC run. The fact he was still able to become champ and beat some of the names he beat is a testament to what a beast he was but, while he was still picking up wins even as late as a couple of years ago, he’s looked about done for a good while now. I’ll always root for him but seeing him in recent years looking haggard as fuck and out of shape with the big muffin top hanging over his shorts has been tough. I could swear he retired after the TKO loss to Paul Craig in 2020 but here we are.

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That’s what happened last time Shogun ran into, literally ran into, OSP. 34 seconds into the first round. And in Brazil, just to piss in the wounds a bit more. That was back in 2014. My hopes for a different result in 2022 are pretty much non existent. Of course I’ll be pulling for Shogun to somehow roll back the years here but I don’t know what’s worse in the long run. A win here would just convince him he’s got another run in him. But I don’t wanna see him get beat down either. I quite like OSP as well. He’s grown on me over the years and I get a kick out of him busting out the old Von Flue (or Von Saint Preux) choke as his semi-regular finisher. But even him, he’s 39 now and coming off back-to-back stoppage losses. I’m saying all this but by the time Buffer’s introducing Shogun, I’ll be fully invested and on the edge of my seat like it’s 2006 again. But as a fan, I’d rather he’d have just left it alone and stayed away.

 

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Randy Brown vs Khaos Williams is a fight I love the sound of. Has all the ingredients of a complete slugfest and I’m expecting a big finish either way here. Just not sure which way it goes. Brown is a guy I’ve thought has some real promise for a while now but he just never put a run of consistency together for whatever reason. He’s beat Bryan Barberena, Warlley Alves, Mickey Gall etc but every time he’d start putting wins together he’d hit a roadblock. He’s coming off a couple of wins over Alex Oliveira and Jared Gooden now, and looked good in both, so I’m hoping he can build on that. Khaos is a risky as fuck fight for him though.

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That’s him chinning fellow KO artist Abdul Razak Alhassan in just 30 seconds back in 2020. He’s 13-2 overall, 8 finishes, mostly by KO. He also put Miguel Baeza away in his last fight in November and that was a third round stoppage. So he’s dangerous late in the fight not just early on. He’s an issue. Not unbeatable and I’m not sure what he’s got beyond the power but he’s always gonna be fun to watch. I think Brown has the tools to give him fits, and he’s a big Welterweight at 6’3”. But he’s also been tagged and flatlined a couple of times himself so he’s gonna have to choose his openings carefully with a big hitter like Khaos.

 

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Francisco Trinaldo vs Danny Roberts. Good piece of matchmaking here. Trinaldo’s an ironman. 43 years old and still going fairly strong. I’ve called him a gatekeeper before and I mean no disrespect by that. He’s that guy you have to get through to get to that upper level and many have faltered trying to get past him. Over the years he’s racked up wins over Paul Felder, Bobby Green, Jim Miller, Ross Pearson etc. He’s not championship level but he’s no mug and if you get caught lacking or you’re having an off night, Trinaldo can hand you a loss quick. Jai Herbert found that out the hard way in 2020. Cage Warriors champ making his UFC debut with some hype on him and Trinaldo sat him down and had Dan Hardy screaming “STOP THE FIGHT!!” Speaking of fights being stopped…

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That’s Danny ‘Hot Chocolate’ Roberts wiping out Zelim Imadaev in Russia in 2019. He was inactive for a long time after that but finally returned in October with a points win over Ramazan Emeev. I like Roberts but he’s been patchy in form over the years. Hopefully he can stay active now and start stringing some wins together. He’s 18-5 now and 34 years old. It’s time to kick on and really push to make a run now but, like I say, Trinaldo’s a big old stepping stone to try to climb over.

 

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Norma Dumont vs Macy Chiasson isn’t grabbing me. Dumont’s coming off that rotten main event against Aspen Ladd in October. She won on points but it was one of those fights where nobody really won. The viewers certainly lost anyway. 25 minutes I’ll never get back. She’s 7-1 now, coming off 3 wins on the bounce. And speaking of bounce…

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Only reason to watch her fights in my opinion. I’m being harsh, maybe there’s better to come but she’s 31 now. She hasn’t exactly got bags and bags of time and she’s already had issues with weight cutting. As for Chiasson, she’s 7-2 and won TUF back in 2018. She’s fought 7 times in the UFC now, I barely remember any of it. She got subbed by Raquel Pennington in her last fight in December. Not expecting much from this.

 

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Brandon Royval vs Matt Schnell. Could be bags of fun this. If it actually goes ahead. Seems like I’ve been previewing Schnell fights that don’t end up happening forever now. Mainly that cursed Alex Perez fight that’s been binned about 73 times in the last couple of years. Hopefully he makes it to the cage here. He’s decent. Wins over Tyson Nam, Louis Smolka and Jordan Espinosa. Nothing mind blowing but not bad. Royval’s the pull here though for me. He always is. Sometimes a fighter comes into the UFC and instantly earns a rep for being ‘must see TV’ and Royval’s done that for me in just a few fights. He’s 13-6 overall, 3-2 in the UFC so far which isn’t ideal. But he’s been so stupidly exciting to watch in every fight, win or lose. He’s got a style that it seems it’s impossible to have a shit fight with. And his wins over Tim Elliott, Kai Kara-France and Rogerio Bontorin aren’t to be sniffed at. I’d love to see him pick up another win here and put a little run together. There’s so many killer fights to make with him in the Flyweight division.

 

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Blagoy Ivanov vs Marcos Rogerio De Lima. No card is complete without a big dollop of Heavyweight shite dropped in the middle of it. My hopes aren’t high for this but maybe I’m being harsh. Ivanov has quite a story. He was stabbed in the chest in 2012, nearly died, survived, then returned to the cage the following year and went on a winning streak.

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There he is leaving the hospital at the time. Scary situation. He’s clearly tough as old boots. If you’ve gone through something as horrifying as that, you’re not gonna be phased by fighting an unarmed man in a cage. He’s 18-4-0-1 now. Has wins over the likes of Tai Tuivasa, Ben Rothwell and even Ricco Rodriguez and Kazayuki Fujita way back. Had a No Contest early in his career with Ilir Latifi where the fight had to be stopped because the ring actually broke! Also holds a win over Fedor in Sambo. I’ve found him fairly dull to watch in the UFC though. Same with De Lima. He’s a guy I’ve never rated but in fairness to him, he blitzed Rothwell in 32 seconds in his last fight and nobody does that. Hopefully it’s better than I expect.

 

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Andre Fialho vs Cameron VanCamp is a very late addition to this card. Just been chucked together a week out from the show but I’m up for it. In just 2 UFC appearances, Fialho’s instantly became must see viewing for me. He’s Portuguese, 15-4-0-1 with 13 finishes. Bounced around Bellator, PFL, LFA and UAE Warriors before signing with the UFC earlier this year. Stepped in on short notice against Michel Pereira in his debut in January and lost on points but it was a really fun fight. Then in April he faced Miguel Baeza, a dangerous fighter who was an undefeated prospect not long ago. Fialho nearly took his head off…

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Really like what I’ve seen of him so far. This VanCamp guy is 15-5-1-1 and making his UFC debut here. He’s won his last 4 and submitted his last 3. That’s about it on him. Seems a bit of a weird booking for Fialho really. Coming off fights against Pereira and Baeza, this definitely feels like he’s going backwards. But I think it’s just a case of Fialho wanting to stay busy and taking any fight available. I’m sure after that Baeza fight he was saying in the cage that he wanted back in there ASAP so it does kind of make sense. Always risky but he’s a welcome addition to any card.

 

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Tracy Cortez vs Melissa Gatto. Nothing to write home about but not a bad fight. Cortez is 9-1 and hasn’t lost since her MMA debut back in 2017. She’s looked decent so far but nothing spectacular. She beat Justine Kish in her last fight but she’ll have been inactive over a year by the time this fight rolls around.

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No wonder Brian Ortega always looks so fucking smug. I’ve got a feeling Cortez might have a problem here though. Gatto is undefeated at 8-0 with 6 finishes. She actually signed with the UFC a few years ago but her debut kept getting delayed. I know there was a USADA suspension somewhere in there as well. She finally stepped foot in the Octagon at UFC 265 in August and beat up Victoria Leonardo with ease. Didn’t blow anyone away but considering she’d been inactive since 2018, she looked good. She then fought Sijara Eubanks in December and stopped her with a nasty front kick to the body that just folded Eubanks up. This’ll be the toughest test yet for Cortez in the UFC, I reckon. Got a feeling it’s not ending well for her.

 

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Kleydson Rodrigues vs CJ Vergara. Kind of intrigued by this. Never seen Rodrigues before but from bits I’ve read, I’m looking forward to seeing his UFC debut here. He’s 26 years old, 7-1 with 5 finishes, former Jungle Fight champion in Brazil and coming off DWCS. Apparently he’s a Team Nogueira prospect as well, which instantly makes me root for him. Big Nog speaks highly of him.

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“This guy was brought to Team Nogueira by his friend, former UFC fighter Thiago Trator, six years ago. We tried to give the best structure for him, and he impressed our head coach Vander Valverde from the beginning. Not only for his kicking ability, but also for his fast evolution both in wrestling and on the ground. Of course, UFC is the World Cup of MMA. I don’t know too much about his first opponent yet, but from my experience with talents I would say this guy has a great future and will provide great fights in the Flyweight division.” - Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

Vergara is 9-3 with 6 knockouts and lost his UFC debut in November against Ode Osbourne. He was on a 5 fight win streak before that though, all by KO. I’d like to see Rodrigues have a successful debut here. Vergara sounds like a dangerous fight and a real potential banana skin though.

 

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Lupita Godinez vs Ariane Carnelossi. I’ll give it a whirl. Quite like Godinez so far. She’s 7-2 and not without flaws but she’s been fun to watch so far and even the losses, I think she jumped in both times on short notice and the Jessica Penne fight was close. The other one she stepped in just days after another fight and went up to Flyweight for it. She fought twice in 7 days, which I think they said was a UFC record. She dropped back to Strawweight for her last fight and beat Loma Lookboonmee on points. She’s still only 28 as well. As admirable as it is when a fighter takes short notice fights, I hope she knocks that on the head for a bit now. She’s got potential but those last minute fights don’t always pay off. Carnelossi could be a tough fight for her as well. She’s 14-2 and since losing to Angela Hill on cuts in her debut, she’s stopped her next two UFC fights. The Na Liang scrap was a wild fight that not many seemed to see. Could be a sneaky good one this.

 

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Journey Newson vs Fernie Garcia. Dunno. I’ve seen Newson a couple of times but don’t remember anything particularly impressive about him. He’s 9-3-0-1, hasn’t won since 2019 and got headkicked into oblivion by Randy Costa in his last fight. That was 2020 and he hasn’t fought since. Not the best. Never heard of Garcia but Sherdog tells me he’s 10-1 and coming off a quick TKO on DWCS in October.

 

And that is 274. See you when the pullouts start. 

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Edited by wandshogun09
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Posted (edited)

Yeah you can see what they are going for here. If you are going to buy that PPV, you're doing it for the three top fights, not for Ivanov Vs De Lima or Shogun Vs OSP. Whilst Cerrone Vs Lauzon and Brown Vs Khaos Williams are more interesting fights, there is more chance of them convincing last minute, on the fence purchases by being on TV, than Shogun, OSP, Ivanov and De Lima convincing people not to buy the PPV. 

Edited by WeeAl
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This is days away then. Seen some whinging about this card but I’m really looking forward to it myself.

This just got added to the prelims as well. Fialho’s staying busy;

 

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Well, his reported base salary is $12,500 per fight, with that doubled if he wins. He realistically has to fight and win three times in a 12 month period to earn an annual salary of £45,000 per year after tax (roughly). 

Take health insurance, training costs, all of that jazz? Dude is taking home about the same as a personal assistant in the legal industry, which is insane.

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Yeah I’m struggling with this one. Part of me is thinking the same, that I don’t wanna count Oliveira out again. I think I had Chandler and Poirier to beat him and, even after rough opening rounds in both fights, he put both away. But this one feels like an even tougher one style-wise on paper. I’m seeing a lot of predictions that Oliveira’s just gonna take him down and sub him but I’m not sure he can do that the way Khabib did. Oliveira’s wrestling has improved over the years but he’s nowhere near as strong on takedowns as Khabib and Gaethje does have that wrestling background. He mightn’t use it much but it’s in there and he knows what to do to defend a takedown. I think a lot of people are putting way too much stock on how Gaethje looked against Khabib but Oliveira’s a completely different style of grappler and I’m just not sure he’s got that physicality to take down Gaethje and control him long enough to get a submission. He might stun Gaethje with a strike and dive on a choke maybe but I don’t know.

On the feet I could see Oliveira having more success than a lot of people imagine he would. I’d go as far as to say he might actually be a better all around striker than Gaethje. But it’s a dangerous game to play because if it turns into that kind of fight, Gaethje has the heavier hands and he takes a shot better.

Honestly about dead on 50/50 on this fight. 

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Posted (edited)

Maybe its me having flashbacks of the old Oliveira which is wrong really, but my head immediately says Gaethje. I think may be the fight where Oliveira's new incredible ability to weather a storm runs out. Im going Gaethje by TKO in rounds 1 or 2.

How does people seeing Rose/Esparza going? im surprised at how tight it is with the bookies, you can get Rose at close to even money. I fancy to her to win this handily, maybe over 25 but i think she wins a wide decision if it goes that long.

Chandler to smash the ghost of Tony Fergsuson too.

Edited by Egg Shen
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Tony Ferguson was on one at the media day, it was full of the usual contractions and weirdness but he also said he's stripped the negative people from his team and has gone back to basics. Didn't he say exactly the same thing before the Dariush fight?

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I pay zero attention to anything Tony Ferguson says, to be honest. He talks in riddles and always has. If you asked him the time he’d probably go on a 20 minute rant and find some way to be offended by it. 

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Dunno what to make of Cowboy Cerrone around fight week. Got super emotional at the presser when talking about his kid, and then admits in an interview that he bottled the Conor McGregor fight. Just not the cool, calm guy that usually shows up. I have no idea how this fight with Lauzon goes. It is making me think hes potentially retiring after the fight though.

 

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So, he's basically admitting in a roundabout kind of way that he threw the fight. I know Cerrone always gets big props from fans due to his image, but i've always suspected that when it comes to the big fights against the very top guys, he's a bottle merchant. He's not as mentally strong as he lets on.

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