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UFC Vegas: Luque vs Muhammad 2 - Apr 16 🇺🇸


wandshogun09
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Posted (edited)

We’re back at the Apex in Las Vegas for this one. I know @Egg Shen will be made up with that news.

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ESPN+ MAIN CARD
Vicente Luque vs Belal Muhammad 

Caio Borralho vs Gadzhi Omargadzhiev

Miguel Baeza vs Andre Fialho

Mayra Bueno Silva vs Wu Yanan

Pat Sabatini vs TJ Laramie

Mounir Lazzez vs Ange Loosa

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS  
Devin Clark vs William Knight

Lina Lansberg vs Pannie Kianzad

Drakkar Klose vs Brandon Jenkins

Rafa Garcia vs Jesse Ronson

Chris Barnett vs Martin Buday

Jordan Leavitt vs Trey Ogden 

Sam Hughes vs Istela Nunes 

Alateng Heili vs Kevin Croom

 

As usual, this isn’t the final bout order and there’ll be a million changes in the next few weeks. Not a great card really. Even by Fight Night standards. There are a small, Jeremy Beadle-sized handful of fights and fighters I like on this. Just about enough to make it worth a watch. But it’s not the best. 

 

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Vicente Luque vs Belal Muhammad 2 is your 5 round main event for this one. Not an amazing headliner or anything but a decent enough fight and both have earned this bit of spotlight.

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They fought back in November 2016 at UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden. Not a fight that many probably remember in great detail because it was lost in the shuffle on such a stupidly stacked card. It was the same night as the big Conor McGregor vs Eddie Alvarez fight with the undercard boasting such names as Tyron Woodley, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Yoel Romero, Chris Weidman, Miesha Tate, Frankie Edgar and some up and comer named Khabib. So Luque and Muhammad was just another fight tucked away on the prelims. I remembered it being short so I fired up Fight Pass and rewatched it just now while having a dump and…

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1:19 is all it took for Cool Hand Luque to put an end to Belal’s night. Since then, he’s gone 10-2 in his last 12 with the only losses coming in decisions against Leon Edwards and Wonderboy Thompson. He’s 21-7-1 now overall with wins over Niko Price (twice), Bryan Barberena (in a brilliant brawl), Mike Perry, Randy Brown and in his last two outings he’s subbed Tyron Woodley and Michael Chiesa, both via first round D’Arce choke. Love watching him. He’s came up short when he’s stepped up against top guys in the past but it really feels like he’s come into his own in recent fights.

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Muhammad is 20-3-0-1 and coming off the two biggest wins of his career back-to-back, decisions over Wonderboy and Demian Maia. Neither were great fights to watch but, in fairness to Belal, they’ve been two of the most tricky and awkward guys in the division for years now. To get wins over them alone is difficult enough of a task, expecting blow-away performances on top of that seems like too much to ask really. I think he’s actually got a bit of an underrated record myself. Hadn’t beat any top contenders before those Maia and Wonderboy wins but he still beat some tough middle of the pack fighters like Tim Means and Randy Brown on the way up. His UFC debut against Alan Jouban is a forgotten gem that never gets talked about as well, just because I don’t think that many people saw it and it happened the same weekend as UFC 200 which obviously got all the attention. Anyway, this is a good fight. I’d be surprised if it’s over as quickly as the first fight. Belal’s come on a fair bit since 2016 and I definitely think there’s a more competitive fight to be had. But I think Luque gets to him again at some point. Just got a good feeling about him. I don’t think he’s got enough to beat the likes of Usman, Covington, Edwards, and probably not Burns or Chimaev either but I think he’ll at least challenge for UFC gold one day.

 

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Caio Borralho vs Gadzhi Omargadzhiev. Not a single clue on this. Never clapped eyes on either man so I’m Sherdogging this one. Borralho’s name popped up months ago and I vaguely recall him being lined up to debut a couple of times before. He won his last fight via quick TKO on DWCS back in October taking his record to 10-1-0-1 with 7 inside the distance. Omargadzhiev is unbeaten at 13-0 with 11 finishes and also fought on DWCS in October, winning by first round submission.

 

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Miguel Baeza vs Andre Fialho. OK then, I know it’s not got much competition but for me this is probably the front runner to get FOTN. Definitely has the feel of a show stealer. Not that this show looks especially difficult to steal. Baeza had such a strong start in his career. He came in off DWCS in 2019 and won his first three UFC fights in impressive fashion, including a knockout over Matt Brown and a submission over Takashi Sato, both in POTN bonus winning performances. He looked the business. It all went wonky in 2021 though. First he lost a decision against Santiago Ponzinibbio. It was a cracking fight though so his stock didn’t exactly plummet losing that one. But then in November he got knocked out by Khaos Williams late in their fight. I remember seeing a video he posted after and he really took the loss hard. I still think he’s got a ton of potential myself. In both those fights he lost he was fighting well, the Ponz fight was a war and him and Khaos were pretty much neck and neck until Khaos landed big in the last round. Physically he’s got the tools but a lot might depend on if his confidence has taken too much of a hit. Fialho’s another tough fight as well. He’s 14-4 with 12 finishes and fought everywhere from Bellator to PFL to LFA to UAE Warriors. Knocked out James Vick etc. He got about a bit. He made his UFC debut on the Ngannou vs Gane card in January, losing on points to Michel Pereira. It was such an entertaining fight though and, even in defeat, I liked what we saw of Fialho. Especially considering that he stepped in for that fight on pretty last minute notice. Interested to see how he looks here on a full camp against a dangerous guy like Baeza. This has fireworks written all over it, I reckon.

 

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Mayra Bueno Silva vs Wu Yanan. Ugh. Silva is 7-2-1 and has been inconsistent as fuck in the UFC up to now. She had a promising start scoring a quick armbar in her Octagon debut over Gillian Robertson but it’s been hot and cold since. She’s gone L, W, D, L in her last 4 fights. Similar story with Yanan as well. She’s 12-4 and has lost 3 of her last 4. Nothing fight.

 

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Pat Sabatini vs TJ Laramie. From what I remember, Sabatini’s looked good so far in the UFC. We just need to see him against better, more well known opposition. He’s 16-3 and has beat Tristan Connelly, Jamall Emmers and Tucker Lutz in the Octagon. OK wins but I’m not really familiar enough with those names to fully gauge Sabatini’s performances. And this fight with Laramie isn’t really gonna give us any more answers either. Just haven’t seen enough of him. He’s 12-4 with 9 finishes. Got subbed in under a minute in his UFC debut by Darrick Minner back in 2020 and hasn’t fought since.

 

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Mounir Lazzez vs Ange Loosa. One of those last minute changes we’ve come to expect. This was all set to be Lazzez against Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos right up until fight week but here we are. Dos Santos is out. Shame because that was one of the only fights I was into on this card but what can you do? Lazzez is a unique case. The story goes he got signed in 2020 because, and I’m not making this up, Dana White’s son’s friend who lives in Abu Dhabi kept talking about Lazzez and saying Dana should put him on one of the Fight Island cards. So he did. That’s it. He came in and weathered the storm of Abdul Razak Alhassan and came through the other side with a decision win. But he got his bubble well and truly burst last January when Warlley Alves crushed him with a nasty body kick inside a round. He’s 10-2 now and at 34 he’s probably never gonna match that initial hype he came in with but he’s got an exciting style if nothing else. Ange Loosa steps in on just 4 days notice. Can’t say I’ve heard of him but Marcel Dorff’s been bigging him up on Twitter. We’ll see. Apparently he fought Jack Della Maddalena (who impressed me in his UFC debut recently) on DWCS last year and gave a solid account of himself in a losing effort. And he’s literally just beat John Howard on that XMMA show on the 2nd of this month. So he’ll be coming in still fairly sharp you’d imagine. He’s 8-2 overall now with 6 finishes. Doesn’t sound like a bad replacement, all things considered.

 

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Devin Clark vs William Knight. Alright fight, I suppose. Not that fussed. I’ve never rated Clark all that highly. He’s always just seemed to me like one of those fighters who’s got the athletic ability but would’ve probably been better suited to a different sport. I always got the impression he didn’t really have the stomach for a proper ugly scrap but, in fairness to him, he got his teeth smashed in by Ion Cutelaba in his last fight in September and there was no quit in him there.

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Grim. He lost a decision but he wasn’t going away. Problem is, he’s just not got enough about him to get the wins at a certain level. You look at his record and every time he’s stepped up, he’s lost. Jan Blachowicz, Anthony Smith, Aleksandar Rakic and Ryan Spann have all finished him. He’s just kind of floundering at this point. Knight’s a right unit but he’s also hit a couple of stumbling blocks. He’s 11-3 now, coming off a points loss to Maxim Grishin in February. Looking at the matchup I’ve got a feeling he puts a bit of a beating on Clark but then Clark has mixed at a higher level, even though he hasn’t had much success. We’ll see.

 

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Lina Lansberg vs Pannie Kianzad 2. They’ve found Lansberg! She’s nothing special but I’ve always quite liked her ever since she jumped in with Cyborg in her UFC debut years ago. Took a beating but she tried her arse off. She had a patchy record after that, she’s gone 4-4 in the UFC overall and she’s 40 years old now. Hasn’t fought since January 2020. I wondered where she disappeared to but I obviously wasn’t that interested because I never bothered to look her up. Turns out she’s had a baby with ex UFC fighter and former TUF contestant Akira Corassani.

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The ‘2’ above will be a giveaway that this is actually a rematch. Lansberg’s MMA debut back in 2012 was against Kianzad for a promotion called Trophy MMA in Sweden. Kianzad won by TKO with seconds left in the fight. Kianzad is 15-6 now, a decade younger than Lansberg and has fought 4 times during Lansberg’s time away. She’s not gonna be making waves in the title mix from what I’ve seen but she’s beat Alexis Davis, Sijara Eubanks, Bethe Correia and Jessica Rose Clark. So at the very least she’s not on that bottom level in the division. 

 

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Drakkar Klose vs Brandon Jenkins. Might be alright but it’s not grabbing me. Last time we saw Klose was UFC 248 in March 2020 and he got absolutely wiped out by a big looping Beneil Dariush left hand. Pretty sure he’s been lined up for a couple of fights since but they’ve fallen apart. He’s 11-2-1 and has notable wins over the likes of Bobby Green, Lando Vannata and Marc Diakiese but that Dariush KO and then his lack of activity in the 2 years that followed have really rendered him a forgotten man. Jenkins is 15-8, fought in PFL and LFA before making his UFC debut in September. But he got stopped by Rong Zhu.

 

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Rafa Garcia vs Jesse Ronson. Can’t say I’m that arsed. I do have fuzzy memories of Garcia having a really fun scrap with Nasrat Haqparast early last year. He lost on points but I’m sure he took it on short notice and still gave a good account of himself. He’s gone 1-1 since then and comes into this one off a points win over Natan Levy. Ronson is 21-10-0-1 and made his UFC debut back in 2020. He submitted Nicolas Dalby and talked all kinds of shite in his post-fight interview, only to get popped by USADA for steroids and the fight got overturned to a No Contest. Not the best of starts to his UFC run.

 

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Chris Barnett vs Martin Buday is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** here. Yeah. The fact I’ve chose this having never even seen Buday tells you I wasn’t exactly spoilt for choice on this card. I’m highlighting this purely on the strength of ‘Huggy Bear’ Barnett being ace.

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Bless him. He’s 35 years old with a 22-7 record. From what I’ve seen he’ll never go too far at the top level and he’s already come unstuck in his UFC debut, getting subbed by a past his best Ben Rothwell. But he’s such a likeable character that you just wanna see him do well. Fun to watch as well, deceptively agile for his size and he throws all kinds of mad strikes that you wouldn’t expect from him. He knocked out Gian Villante in his last fight at MSG in November. A meaningless win really, given that Villante’s been shite and fat for years and was retiring anyway. But it was great to see Barnett have that moment on such a big card and his personality all fight week was infectious. Buday’s Slovakian, 9-1 with 8 finishes and knocked out Lorenzo Hood on DWCS in October. That’s about all on him but he sounds like he goes for the kill so this could be a fun one with Barnett.

 

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Jordan Leavitt vs Trey Ogden. Might be worth a look. Leavitt’s been so much fun so far. He’s 9-1 now with 7 finishes. Had that win on DWCS a couple of years ago that was as memorable for his post-fight celebration as it was for the win itself. And since debuting in the UFC, aside from his lone points defeat against Claudio Puelles, his two Octagon victories have been a KO via slam against Matt Wiman and a submission via inverted triangle choke against Matt Sayles.

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There’s the Wiman KO. That was 22 seconds into the fight as well and bagged him a POTN bonus! It was some UFC debut. Ogden’s stepping in on late notice, making his UFC debut replacing another newcomer in Victor Martinez. Quickly looking him up, he’s 15-4 with 11 submissions. I’ve never seen him but he’s got a couple of losses to ex UFC fighter Thomas Gifford on his record which doesn’t fill me with confidence. Maybe that’s harsh but all I remember of Gifford is that he was on the wrong end of one of the worst thrashings in recent UFC history at the hands of Mike Davis a couple of years back. Still, he’s obviously a bit of a grappling specialist so this could be fun if it hits the ground.

 

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Sam Hughes vs Istela Nunes. Dunno. Again, haven’t seen enough of either really. I remember when Hughes was signed by the UFC, the reaction on social media was very positive with some predicting she’d thrive in the Strawweight division. Hasn’t worked out. She came in at 5-1 but she’s gone a disastrous 0-3 in the UFC. So she’s 5-4 now and surely looking down the barrel of getting her P45 with another L here. Nunes is 6-2 and fought in ONE before the UFC came calling. She got submitted by Ariane Carnelossi on the Ladd vs Dumont undercard in October.

 

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Alateng Heili vs Kevin Croom. Might be alright but like pretty much all the fights on this card, I just don’t have any real investment in it. Alateng’s 30 years old and 14-8-2. Comes in off a draw with Gustavo Lopez in September. Croom’s 34 with a record of 21-14-0-1. He’s been quite exciting to watch, to be fair, but it’s just not happening for him results-wise at all. He submitted Roosevelt Roberts in just 31 seconds his UFC debut and got a POTN bonus. Then he got done for weed by USADA and it got changed to a No Contest. He’s since dropped decisions against Alex Caceres and Brian Kelleher in his last couple of fights.

 

So that’s that. Fair bit of filler shite on there. Couple of fights I’m looking forward to but it’s a pretty weak offering. 

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Edited by wandshogun09
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Just what this card needed.

Wasn’t the strongest co-main event to begin with but this card really could’ve done without losing that fight. Shite for Muniz as well, hopefully they find him a decent opponent but on this kind of notice you’re probably not gonna get a name. And call me a sceptic but “undisclosed reasons” makes me think they’re just gonna rebook that Hall vs Darren Till fight that was supposed to go down on the London card at one point.

But yeah, this card is struggling. 

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Jeez lads this card fell out of the ugly tree didn't it? Great main event, but that's it. Like you say Wand, there's a few names in there who are generally good value (Likes of EZ Doz Santos, Baeza, William Knight, Barnett) but the fight pairings themselves aren't anything particularly exciting. 

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22 hours ago, Egg Shen said:

Why is Chris Barnett buried so far down the card? thats a crime against fight cards after his last performance.

There’s a bunch of ‘why’s’ on this card for me. A glaring one to me is why do they have two complete newcomers co-headlining? I know it’s only a Fight Night and they were on DWCS but still, you’d have thought Barnett or even the Baeza vs Fialho fight would’ve got higher billing.

In slightly better news, they’ve found Lazzez a replacement and it doesn’t sound like a bad one under the circumstances, to be fair.

 

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Posted (edited)

if i can could put my finger on the screen and shuffle that card about, i could probably make myself a really good main card.

Few notes on this...

its Drakkar Klose first fight in 2 years because he's only now got over the injuries sustained from when Jeremy Stephens shoved him at the weigh-in's, mental. 

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The other is, ive been following a few tipsters accounts and youtube channels in the last month or so and none are giving Chris Barnett any chance against Buday ☹ Buday has won his last 8 and finished all of them, not sure on the level of his opponents though. Would love to see Beastboy pull it off.

 

Edited by Egg Shen
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Only caught two fights from this card. Fialho sent Baeza to another dimension. That was a fun five minutes there. 

Muhammad had a real good showing in the main event. I thought both guys looked pretty solid overall, but Belal crucially avoided getting into a firefight with Luque and was able to make it more of his type of fight. 

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Wow, got to feel bad for Baeza. Undefeated, gets a run going in the UFC, then BOOM - loses three in a row. That first loss must've hit his confidence badly, and he's not been able to recover.

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Posted (edited)

All caught up on this now. Been busy over the weekend so just watched this in bits here and there over the last couple of days. I don’t think I’d have been arsed enough to sit through it all in one go anyway, to be honest. As expected, it wasn’t the best but it had its moments.

The main event went completely different to how I pictured it. Belal Muhammad dominated. Like I said in the opening post, he’s improved since the first fight and I didn’t expect it to be over in the first exchange like last time. But I also didn’t expect Luque to be so ineffective. I don’t know if it’s a case of Muhammad being underrated due to his style, or Luque being slightly overrated due to his style, or what. But Luque got schooled here for too much of the fight. He was nowhere near as aggressive as he usually is and I think Belal’s takedowns were the reason for that. It wasn’t the most exciting fight to watch and I’m sure Belal’s getting all kinds of shit for being boring again now but he just shut down a guy who was being talked up as a future contender. And I didn’t even factor in that he’s been training for this fight during Ramadan as well.

Not sure what’s next for Belal after this. He’s on a nice winning streak now and is coming off wins over Maia, Wonderboy and Luque on the bounce. But I think this is about his ceiling. I kind of liked him calling out Colby Covington after the fight but I don’t think he wins that one and I don’t even think Colby accepts that fight. Belal’s in that spot now where he’s not an appealing fight for the top boys at 170 because he’s tough, he’s difficult to look good against or have a fun fight with and he’s not a big name. I think the top guys all beat him but there’s more to lose than gain by fighting him. Plus I’m not sure I even wanna see Belal vs Colby. I can just imagine the route Colby would go down to create controversy going into that one and we could all do without it.

Liked the look of Caio Borralho. It had no business being co-main event, even on a Fight Night, but I thought he looked promising here. Just need to get him to read the sodding rule book and we’re set. Unfortunate ending with the dirty knee and baffling because he was having a great performance before that. But yeah, looking forward to seeing more of him. You can tell he’s gonna be a fun fighter to watch.

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Had to laugh at this but it was a bit of a dick move though. Spends ages hugging Omargadzhiev, asking if he’s OK etc, then poses like that next to the guy he’s just illegally kneed in the dome? 😂

Fialho vs Baeza was the highlight of the card for me. Shame it was only a round long really but it was fireworks for 5 minutes. Thought Baeza was looking fantastic in spells but Fialho looked a right handful himself. You can tell he’s just a double hard bastard and I liked how calm he stayed under pressure. There was a combination Baeza fired off towards the end that would’ve had a lot of guys panicking and running into something but Fialho just stayed in there, avoided the worst of it and casually started walking Baeza down again. The finish was fucking brutal.

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Mixed feelings on this. I’ve quickly became a fan of Fialho ever since that cracking fight against Michel Pereira in his debut. He took that on short notice but I said at the time I had a feeling there was better to come. It was nice to see him shine here and I can’t wait to see what’s next. But I like Baeza a lot and it sucked to see him get put down like that. Even while he was wobbling around with his face pissing blood he was arguing the stoppage. Just pure fighter instincts but it was a wrap, poor get could barely stand.

2 hours ago, Carbomb said:

Wow, got to feel bad for Baeza. Undefeated, gets a run going in the UFC, then BOOM - loses three in a row. That first loss must've hit his confidence badly, and he's not been able to recover.

Yeah, he’s definitely had confidence issues since those losses last year. Even after the first loss against Ponzinibbio, it was a war that went the distance and he looked really good even in defeat. But I remember seeing stuff after that fight, think it was a quick video he put out on Instagram or something, and you could just see that he took that loss really badly. Usually a young fighter would be buzzing after a fight like that, even if they lost, especially as he got a FOTN bonus as well. But he just seemed crushed. Then getting knocked out by Khaos Williams in his next fight just made it worse. Going into this fight with Fialho, I read stuff that Baeza was seeing a sports psychologist and during his walkout on this card the commentators were on about him making changes to his social circle and all sorts. He’s still only 28 and he seems to have potential to turn things around but he takes these losses harder than any prospect I remember. Obviously a bit of that is healthy, you never want to get comfortable with losing. But he seems to beat himself up more than his opponents do.

Skimmed through the Mayra Bueno Silva vs Wu Yanan fight. Didn’t look bad but nothing special. Bit surprised to see they got FOTN. What’s that about? Fialho vs Baeza shat all over it from what I saw, and there were a couple of other fights that would probably have been more worthy. Also saw loads of moaning about the decision on Twitter but I felt like Silva probably won so I agreed with her getting the nod. Admittedly, I did flick through and only watch bits of it though.

Mounir Lazzez looked alright considering Loosa was a last minute replacement. The main talking point coming out of that one though was him heaping praise on Daniel Kinahan in his post-fight interview. Nice. Just when the rest of the combat sports world appears to be distancing themselves from Kinahan, this guy goes and gives him a shout out on ESPN.

Enjoyed the Devin Clark vs William Knight fight a lot more than I expected to. Not sure what’s happened with Clark but I like it. The knock on him has been that he’s got all the physical tools but just wasn’t nasty enough when the cage door shut. And they kind of touched on it on the commentary here, saying he’s such a nice guy, does a lot of charity work etc. But that he’s almost too nice to be a fighter and struggles to flip that switch in there. He’s found the switch in his last couple of fights though. He lost to Cutelaba a few months back but he got stuck right into a dogfight that I didn’t know he had in him. Then here he goes toe to toe with a Heavyweight William Knight who looked like a rhinoceros on its hind legs, and gets the late stoppage. Fun fight.

Kianzad vs Lansberg was OK as well. Not a barnburner or anything but, again, a fight I enjoyed more than I thought I would. It was fairly low level women’s MMA but they were quite evenly matched and sometimes that’s all you need for a decent fight. Kianzad’s a scrapper.

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And to be fair, I thought Lansberg did alright given the massive layoff, the fact she’s 40 and coming back after having a baby. I don’t see her doing much going forward but fair play.

Not much else of note. Drakkar Klose fucking battered Brandon Jenkins. Once he let loose he really went for it and Jenkins got blitzed. I completely forgot about that thing with Jeremy Stephens shoving him at the weigh in until I read Ebb’s post above. Crazy that he got injured from that and missed 2 years of action. This was quite a return though.

Didn’t even see the Martin Buday vs Chris Barnett fight but I saw the result and that Barnett lost 😞 I don’t even wanna see it now.

Nothing show really but that’s MMA. Coming off 273 we were due a bit of a lacklustre card, I guess. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Posted (edited)

Buday/Barnett was a slow, plodder. The commentary were heaping praise on Buday but he didn't look great, he's a big ol' lump with a basic skillset. I think Barnett thought he may get a DQ at the end and tried to pull a fast one.

The Klose/Jenkins fight was bizarre. I dont think ive ever seen anyone looks so relaxed at taking a beating than Jenkins. He just have got his bell rattled early and didn't actually realise he was getting beaten up, weird.

Didn't see the main card.

Edited by Egg Shen
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