Paid Members wandshogun09 Posted May 31, 2022 Paid Members Share Posted May 31, 2022 (edited) Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but we’re back at the Apex for this. ESPN+ MAIN CARDArman Tsarukyan vs Mateusz Gamrot Neil Magny vs Shavkat Rakhmonov Josh Parisian vs Alan Baudot Thiago Moises vs Christos Giagos Umar Nurmagomedov vs Nate Maness Chris Curtis vs Rodolfo Vieira ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS Tafon Nchukwi vs Carlos Ulberg TJ Brown vs Shayilan Nuerdanbieke Raulian Paiva vs Sergey Morozov Cody Durden vs JP Buys Mario Bautista vs Brian Kelleher Jinh Yu Frey vs Vanessa Demopoulos Not the official bout order. Just wanted to get this up now because it’s only a few weeks away and I think it deserves talking about. Really like this card. Main event is class, I’m all over that. But the rest of the card is pretty strong by Fight Night standards as well. To be honest, this card is wasted on the Apex. A fight like Tsarukyan vs Gamrot deserves a crowd. Shame they couldn’t get to Poland or something for this show. Arman Tsarukyan vs Mateusz Gamrot headlines. Tremendous matchup between two of the best rising contenders in the stacked Lightweight division. Seriously, these two might just be the future of 155. When the fight was first announced I actually saw some moaning about it on social media. People banging on going ‘why put these two against each other now?’ Like they should save the fight for down the road. Fuck that! I never agree with that logic. In this day and age we’re seeing more fights than ever before. Tons of good ones but, naturally, more fights inevitably means we’ll see more shite as well. Some of the Apex main events especially have been terrible. And we’re gonna moan about a fight like this? We need more fights like this. Like I said when the fight was made, this is exactly the kind of fight that should be main eventing a Fight Night card. Two young guys rising up the ranks and trying to break into the title picture. Two guys who could benefit greatly from getting a bit of that spotlight, in terms of the exposure and the perception of fans seeing them as players in the division. And also, the valuable experience of a 5 rounder to prepare them for what’s to come if/when they make it to the title mix. Tsarukyan is Armenian/Russian, 25 years old with a record of 18-2 and 12 finishes. He went 13-1 before debuting with the UFC in 2019. And in his first Octagon appearance, he was matched up with Islam Makhachev. I’ve bummed the fight on here many a time, I won’t go into it again. I reviewed it in the thread for the Makhachev vs Green card on here a few months ago if you wanna know more. Or better yet, just watch the fight. It was fantastic. One of those fights I always bring up as an example when people ask about good wrestling/grappling heavy MMA fights. It got FOTN but Tsarukyan came up on the losing end of the decision. But at just 22 years old at the time, it was clear there was massive potential there. He’s since proved that to be the case, rattling off 5 straight wins over Olivier Aubin-Mercier, Davi Ramos, Matt Frevola, Christos Giagos and in his last fight in February he crushed Joel Alvarez. Proper made a mess of him. Alvarez was dangerous, a big finisher and had looked a bit of a beast himself coming in as well. That was Tsarukyan’s best win so far, in my opinion. Not only the best fighter he’s beat but the way he did it. He beat Alvarez to a pulp and stopped him in the second round. Completely overwhelmed him. He got POTN bonuses for his last two fights as well. After the Makhachev loss, he didn’t really knock anyone’s socks off with his first few wins in the UFC. He looked good but they went to decisions and they weren’t mega standout performances. Seeing him stop Giagos and Alvarez in his last couple though, it really feels like he’s starting to find his feet in there and feel more comfortable and confident. To see how good he looked at 22 against Makhachev, it’s scary to think just how far he could potentially go as he continues to improve and mature as a fighter. Gamrot is Polish, 31 years old and 20-1-0-1 with 12 inside the distance. The only two blemishes on his record are a No Contest due to an eye poke against Norman Parke back in 2017, and a razor thin split decision loss in his UFC debut against Guram Kutateladze. Depending on how you scored that Kutateladze fight, you could argue that Gamrot has never been truly beaten. He’s also a former ‘champ champ’ in the KSW promotion in Poland. He held both the Lightweight and Featherweight straps there. He cleared up the Norman Parke controversy as well. They fought again and Gamrot won via TKO. They had 3 fights altogether in KSW and, aside from the eye poke NC, Gamrot won the other two. He made his long awaited UFC debut in 2020, dropping that decision against Kutateladze. But he’s been on fire since. He’s won his last 3 fights and finished Scott Holtzman, Jeremy Stephens and Carlos Diego Ferreira. Buzzing for this. Again, this ‘they should save the fight for later’ mentality can piss off. I think that’s coming from the old Boxing mindset where you build guys up first before making the harder fights. But sod it. They’re both on form and climbing the ladder now, why wait? You can hold off on fights like this and they end up never happening. Or happening way too late when one or both of them are on the decline. I could see this going like Poirier vs Holloway or Moreno vs Kara-France where they fight here then meet again in a few years with higher stakes. And if they never do, then at least we got to see it once. How anyone who calls themselves a MMA fan can complain about this after some of the crap main events we’ve been fed baffles me. It’s such a good fight. Neil Magny vs Shavkat Rakhmonov is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. Don’t think I’ve ever had a Magny fight as my one to watch before but here we are. I’ve been critical of Magny over the years but it’s not to say he’s not a good fighter. I just rarely enjoy watching him fight. To be fair to the dullard though, he usually finds a way to get the job done. And if you look back over his record, he’s beat Robbie Lawler, Carlos Condit, Johny Hendricks, Kelvin Gastelum, Hector Lombard etc. He’s one of those gatekeeper guys who’s hard to beat and even harder to look good against. That’s why I actually do like this matchup though. It’s gonna give us some answers. Rakhmonov for me might just be the best prospect on the roster that nobody’s really talking about. Everyone’s on the Khamzat Chimaev bandwagon and I understand why, but I’ve said before I don’t see Chimaev staying at 170 for much longer. I think Rakhmonov might turn out to be the next big thing in the Welterweight division. Chimaev doing what he’s done has kind of allowed Rakhmonov to just slide under the radar and do his thing. But he’s looking the business so far. He’s undefeated at 15-0, all finishes, and has put away Alex Oliveira, Michel Prazeres and Carlston Harris in his 3 Octagon appearances so far. Granted, not stellar opposition but he’s handled them with ease and shown skills on the feet and on the mat already. He looks like a problem. But Magny is a big step up. That’s what I love about this. It’s the perfect litmus test for a guy like Rakhmonov. If he beats Magny he’s legit, no question. If he rolls over Magny like he has his last few opponents then he’s worth really getting excited about because, say what you want about Magny, you don’t just walk through him. Not sure how this goes. I’ve had a good feeling about Rakhmonov but Magny is a tricky test. Looking forward to seeing how it plays out. Josh Parisian vs Alan Baudot. No card is complete without a big old dollop of low level Heavyweight shite, is it? Don’t worry. I’ll look them up on Sherdog so you don’t have to. Parisian is 14-5 with 12 finishes and coming off a TKO loss to Don’Tale Mayes in December. He’s also got to be the most haggard looking 32 year old I’ve ever seen. Baudot is 8-3-0-1 with 7 knockouts and has gone winless in his 3 UFC appearances so far. Smashing. If nothing else, they’re both finishers so hopefully it’ll be one of those fun fat man brawls not one of those 15 minute plodding turds. Thiago Moises vs Christos Giagos. OK fight. Not particularly grabbing me. Moises is 15-6 and was on a nice little run not too long ago, beating Michael Johnson, Bobby Green and Alexander Hernandez in a row. He then got fed to Islam Makhachev and it all went tits up. To be fair, he lasted until the 4th round, which is better than anyone expected, but in the end he got strangled. He tried to rebound in November and got bashed up in a round by Joel Alvarez. And here we are. A third loss on the bounce here is the last thing he needs so he’s gonna have to find a way to turn things around. Giagos is 19-9 and got done in about 2 minutes by Arman Tsarukyan in his last fight in September. Never been overly impressed by Giagos but he’s not terrible. He had a cracking fight with Drakkar Klose a few years ago but he mostly comes up short against anyone at the upper-mid levels or above. Moises should probably be winning this, I reckon. Umar Nurmagomedov vs Nate Maness. We get another look at Umar. 26 years old, unbeaten, 14-0, 8 inside the distance, 7 submissions. Khabib’s little cousin’s doing alright for himself. He made his UFC debut last year on Fight Island and submitted Sergey Morozov. Then at UFC 272 in March, he rolled right over Brian Kelleher in about 3 minutes… Looks the real deal so far but time will tell. My memory is a bit fuzzy on Maness but on paper he sounds like a decent next test for Umar. He’s 30 with a record of 14-1 and is on a 4 fight winning streak. He submitted Luke Sanders and knocked out Tony Gravely in his last couple of fights. Chris Curtis vs Rodolfo Vieira. Another fight I quite like the sound of. Interesting clash of styles here too. ‘Action Man’ Curtis is 28-8 with 17 finishes and is on a 7 fight winning streak. He got the call from the UFC relatively late in his career. He’s 34 now and he’s knocked about a bit but it’s going well for him so far. He stepped in on short notice at UFC 268 in November, weathered the storm of Phil Hawes and then sparked him. Then a month later he put Brendan Allen out. Two solid wins in the space of a few weeks. Not sure about Vieira though. On paper he could be a nightmare matchup for Curtis, and for a lot of the division really. BJJ black-belt, ADCC gold medalist etc. One of the best pure grapplers on the roster. But I can’t shake the memory of that shock submission loss to Anthony Hernandez last year. A grappler of his calibre had no business getting caught in a guillotine like that but he fatigued rapidly, got sloppy and that was that. In fairness, he rebounded nicely with a slick RNC over Dustin Stoltzfus in his next fight. He’s 8-1 now. But I’m not sure about him. Tafon Nchukwi vs Carlos Ulberg is nothing special but might be worth a gander. Nchukwi is a bit of a tank but I haven’t been blown away by him in the fights I’ve seen so far. He’s 6-2 and coming off a nasty flying knee KO loss to Azamat Murzakanov in March. His best wins are Mike Rodriguez, Jamie Pickett and a pre-UFC stoppage over William Knight from a few years back. I remember Ulberg came in with a little bit of buzz last year. He was only 3-0 but had caught a lot of peoples attention with his knockout on DWCS. Made his debut at UFC 259 against Kennedy Nzechukwu and was looking the part for a round or so. Then Nzechukwu rallied and chinned him in the second. The hype train hadn’t even picked up much speed yet and it had already been derailed. He came back in February with a decision win over Fabio Cherant. Not really sure what to make of either of these two. TJ Brown vs Shayilan Nuerdanbieke. No real opinion on this. Nothing against either of them, not saying it’ll be bad or anything but it’s just one of those fights where I know I’ve seen both fight but nothing’s really jumping out in my memory. A quick refresher on Google tells me Brown is 16-8 and coming off a couple of decision wins over Charles Rosa and Kai Kamaka. Barely remember any of that. I’m even hazier on this Shayilan chap. Apparently he’s 28 years old with a record of 37-10 and 28 finishes! Busy boy. Although most of them will be unknowns in China. In the UFC he’s 1-1 and beat Sean Soriano on points last time. Raulian Paiva vs Sergey Morozov. Alright fight. Paiva’s a decent fighter, 21-4 record with wins over Kyler Phillips and Zhalgas Zhumagulov. He also went to a split decision in a fun fight against Kai Kara-France in 2019. That one’s aged well. He got fed to Sean O’Malley in December though and got stopped in a round. Morozov’s 17-5 and coming off getting choked completely unconscious by Douglas Silva De Andrade at UFC 271 in February. Believe it or not, that gif actually got me a warning by email off Giphy because, and I quote, “any content that portrays gruesome violence, mutilation, or gore, is not permitted. Content that presents footage of a scene where it is commonly known that an individual was killed is not permitted”. They thought Morozov died! Regardless, Morozov vs De Andrade was a belting fight. It got FOTN but I don’t think it got enough love at the time just because I think a lot of people missed it with it being tucked away on the Fight Pass prelims. If you missed it, give it a look. Trust me. Anyway yeah, this’ll probably be entertaining enough. Could be the sleeper on this card actually. Cody Durden vs JP Buys. Can’t say I’m too fussed with this but I hope Buys wins just because Durden’s a prick. If you recall, Durden’s the one who beat Aori Qileng late last year then said something about “sending him back to China where he came from”. Of course, this led to people digging up his old tweets and, surprise, it threw up a bunch of examples of him using the ‘n word’. He was then matched with Muhammad Mokaev in Mokaev’s UFC debut on the London card in March and started mouthing off again. As a result, Mokaev dropping and submitting him in under a minute was satisfying as fuck to watch. Buys is South African, 9-4 and it’s been L after L for him since signing with the UFC. First he got TKO’d in his debut, then he lost a decision in his next fight, then his wife Cheyanne Vlismas left him shortly after. He’s claiming she’s had an affair with Middleweight fighter Roman Dolidze. We’ve only got his side of it so far but if that’s true, it’s hard not to feel sorry for him. Another reason to root for him over Durden the dick here. Mario Bautista vs Brian Kelleher will probably be entertaining enough. Win or lose, Kelleher is rarely in dull fights. I can’t remember any off the top of my head actually. Bautista is 28 years old and 9-2. Beat Jay Perrin on points last time but my main (and really only) memory of him is his sweet flying knee finish on Miles Johns a couple of years ago. He might be a bit better than I’ve made him sound and, to be fair, one of his 2 losses was against Cory Sandhagen. But he’s just one of those fighters who hasn’t really stood out in my memory on such a bloated roster. Always liked Kelleher though. I’ve never claimed he’s anything special but he’s one of those guys who always comes to battle. I think I became a fan when he fought John Lineker years ago. He lost, obviously, but he was game and showed a lot of toughness before eventually succumbing to the old ‘Hands Of Stone’. He’s 24-13 now and coming off that quick submission loss to Umar Nurmagomedov. Hopefully he gets back to winning ways here. Jinh Yu Frey vs Vanessa Demopoulos. Nothing happening here really. Neither are gonna be making any waves in the Strawweight division. Frey’s 11-6 and a former Invicta Atomweight champion. She moved up to Strawweight for her UFC debut in 2020 and had a very shaky start in the promotion, losing her first 2 fights. She’s bounced back with a couple of decision wins and looked decent, but unspectacular. I quite like her but at 37 years old, in the 115lb division, I just don’t see much happening for her. Demopoulos is 7-4, lost her debut to JJ Aldrich but armbarred Silvana Gomez Juarez in an exciting 2 minute fight at UFC 270 in January. Apparently she quit her job as a stripper just weeks before that fight to commit full time to MMA. As you do. That’s your lot. Edited June 19, 2022 by wandshogun09 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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