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UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier - Jul 2 🇺🇸


wandshogun09
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Who wins and how?  

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Posted (edited)

OK, I’m banging these threads out but fuck it. This is such a great card I think we need to get the ball rolling. Only 4 weeks away now as well…

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PPV MAIN CARD
Israel Adesanya© vs Jared Cannonier - Middleweight Title

Alexander Volkanovski© vs Max Holloway- Featherweight Title

Sean Strickland vs Alex Pereira 

Robbie Lawler vs Bryan Barberena

Pedro Munhoz vs Sean O’Malley 

ESPN PRELIMS 
Brad Riddell vs Jalin Turner

Donald Cerrone vs Jim Miller

Ian Garry vs Gabriel Green

Brad Tavares vs Dricus Du Plessis

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Uriah Hall vs Andre Muniz

Jessica Eye vs Maycee Barber

Jessica Rose Clark vs Julija Stoliarenko

 

I don’t think that’s the final bout order, it’s how Big Marcel has it but it looks roughly about right, doesn’t it? What a card though, eh? I’m interested in almost everything there and there might even be a couple more fights added yet.

 

 

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Israel Adesanya vs Jared Cannonier sits atop this stacked card. Five rounds for Middleweight gold. Good stuff. It’s getting to the point now where Izzy’s about to start lapping the division and beating guys twice so a fresh fight here is very welcome. Looking forward to it. It’s hard to pick against Adesanya these days and I’ll be favouring him again here. But Cannonier has earned the shot, he’s dangerous and he’s got just that amount of craziness and unshakeable belief in himself that I’d give him a better shot than most in the 185 division.

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Adesanya’s the King of the castle for the time being though. The man’s 22-1 with the sole loss being up at Light Heavyweight. The failed attempt to become a two-weight champion when he lost on points against then champ Jan Blachowicz. Still undefeated at Middleweight and has beaten Robert Whittaker twice, Marvin Vettori twice, Paulo Costa, Yoel Romero, Kelvin Gastelum, Anderson Silva, Derek Brunson etc. He’s put quite a run together. The questions on his wrestling are still there but I don’t think it’s quite as big an issue at 185 as it was at 205 against Jan. His critics like to point to that loss but I don’t think there’s many 185ers who’d be as effective with that gameplan as Jan was. Weight classes for a reason and all that. Not to say Izzy can’t be outwrestled at 185 but I think it’s gonna take a real specialist in that area to get it done. And the two who seemed best equipped - Yoel opted to do nothing when they fought and Brunson blew it the first time and then lost before he could get the rematch. On the feet he’s obviously gonna be a tricky puzzle to solve. Unless someone can just catch him with the perfect shot, it’s unlikely anyone outpoints him in a standup match.

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Cannonier is gonna go for it though. At 38 years old, he’s probably not getting another title shot after this. And from listening to him talk and watching the way he fights, I don’t see him being one of these opponents who freezes out there and ends up bamboozled watching Izzy do his thing as the rounds pass by. Whether he’s got the tools to actually get it done or not remains to be seen. Personally, I can’t see it. But whatever happens, I don’t think it’ll be for lack of trying on his part. He’ll know he’s got to seize the opportunity here because he isn’t likely to get another one. I’d actually love to see Cannonier pull it off as well. Not only would it shake up the division, I always find it cool to see a guy win the big one when nobody thought he would. You get fighters come along like Adesanya, McGregor, Cain, Pettis, Penn etc and it’s almost like they’re earmarked for it from the day they come in the door. They’re supposed to be champ. Then you get others like Oliveira, Lawler, RDA, Moreno etc who have to take the longer route, the UFC PR machine isn’t behind them and they get there through graft and sheer refusal to fuck off. There’s always something satisfying about seeing that for me.

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Cannonier came into the UFC as a Heavyweight back in 2015, went 1-1 and dropped to 205. Was bang average as a LHW and went 2-3. Then finally in 2018 he made it down to 185lbs. Immediately he rattled off 3 straight wins over David Branch, Anderson Silva and Jack Hermansson. All inside the distance. And just physically, he looked the part as well. He lost a decision to Robert Whittaker in 2020 but bounced back by outpointing Kelvin Gastelum. Then in his last fight, he obliterated Derek Brunson.

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That was UFC 271 in February, on the undercard of the big Adesanya vs Whittaker 2 title fight. And a lot of people were talking about Brunson getting the next title shot after. Cannonier wasn’t having it. He weathered Brunson’s first round onslaught in the wrestling, then brought the pain in the following round and got him out of there. He cut quite a promo after the fight as well. It was undeniable coming out of that show who the next in line was. At that point it was just a matter of deciding the date. Now it’s all set. I’m into this one. Like I said, I think Cannonier is just wild enough to make this interesting. Could blow up in his face but at least he’s gonna go out swinging. And let’s be honest, it’s not like Izzy’s last few fights have been great to watch. Hopefully there’s some drama here.

 

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Alexander Volkanovski vs Max Holloway 3 then. I’m guessing there’s gonna be mixed feelings on this. It was originally supposed to go down at UFC 273 in April and I remember some complaining about it before Max pulled out. I get it. Volk’s already 2-0. But at the same time, the decision in the second fight was hotly debated and can anyone really say that Holloway hasn’t earned another crack at it since? It’s not like there’s another obvious nailed on #1 contender who Max is cock blocking out of the shot either. They’ve either just lost to Volk, or if they haven’t lost to him they’ve lost to Max, or they’re injured, or they’re AWOL like Zabit. At the end of the day, I don’t think anyone can deny that these guys are the two best fighters in the division. I’m not gonna moan about #1 fighting #2. Definitely gonna be revisiting the first 2 fights in here before this third one.

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Volkanovski is on top of the world right now. 33 years old, 24-1 record, on a 21 fight winning streak, hasn’t lost since 2013. He TKO’d Chad Mendes. Beat Jose Aldo in Brazil. Took the title off Max Holloway. Won the rematch against Holloway. Beat Brian Ortega in one of the best fights of 2021. Then as I mentioned, he was meant to face Holloway again in April but Holloway withdrew. In stepped the Korean Zombie.

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And he got fucked up. Volk schooled him, outclassed him, battered him and put him away in the 4th round. It was such a sound thrashing that the Zombie was contemplating just retiring after because he felt like he’d never win the title. As a Zombie fan it was sad to see but it was also a testament to just how good Volkanovski really is. He really is one of the best in the game right now, regardless of weight class. On the form he’s currently in, it’s hard to see him losing anytime soon at 145lbs. There was talk after the Zombie win about him moving up to 155 to find a challenge and he did seem to be leaning that way. I still think it’ll happen in the not too distant future. It’s inevitable. But for now…

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Max Holloway is back in his life. Before Volk came along, Max was the man in the Featherweight division. He beat Cub Swanson, Charles Oliveira, Jeremy Stephens, Ricardo Lamas and Anthony Pettis on the way up. Stopped Jose Aldo twice in back-to-back fights, beat Frankie Edgar. And of course, he beat the absolute fuck out of Brian Ortega and Calvin Kattar. Two of the worst beatdowns I’ve ever seen in all my years watching fights. He’s coming into this fight on a high as well…

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Holloway and Yair Rodriguez went out and had a legit FOTY contender in November. A crazy 5 round war that had to be seen to be believed. I know some were a bit down on it because it happened in the empty Apex instead of in front of a rabid crowd but it’s still one of my favourite fights. A crowd would’ve made it even more special but I loved this fight. Max won but it wasn’t the one way showcase most expected going in. I said at the time but I really think the UFC kind of booked that fight with the intention of it being nothing more than a bit of an exciting squash match. Yair had been inactive for 2 years and it was clear the UFC wanted to do Volk vs Max 3. I think it was supposed to be Max making a highlight reel to make a statement but Yair didn’t get the memo and he really fought out of his skin that night.

Anyway. So yeah, Part 3. Are you for it or against it? I’m cool with it myself. They’re two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, both still in their prime. Fuck it, run it back. Plus, I don’t care it’s 2-0. Say Max wins this time, I honestly wouldn’t mind if these two end up fighting 4 or 5 times. It’s happened in Boxing with Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez. It used to happen in K-1 way back with Semmy Schilt vs Peter Aerts and Jerome Le Banner vs Mark Hunt. Sod it. And as odd as it might seem looking at the current scoreline, I’d still say Holloway has the best shot at beating Volkanovski out of the current crop of Featherweights. Not that I’m predicting him to win but if anyone can dethrone this version Volk, I think Holloway has a better chance than the others. Let’s see it.

 

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Sean Strickland vs Alex Pereira. Very, very interesting matchup here. For a couple of reasons. Obviously, first and foremost, Strickland’s a fucking weapon. All the shite talk from him acting like some killer, only to go out there and light spar, is bad enough. But some of the crap he’s put out there about gay/trans people lately has been vile. And him piping up with this after the school shooting in Texas recently;

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Just a complete and utter cunt. So in that sense, it’d be lovely to see him get brutally ironed out here. He’s one of those dickheads who I’d really rather just disappeared now. Pure X-Pac heat. It’s an intriguing matchup though in that it’s a step up for Pereira. Of course, Pereira has that history with Adesanya and you just know they’re itching to make the rematch as soon as they can. And this is clearly an attempt to fast track Pereira up the rankings. For all my criticism of Strickland, and I really can’t stand him, he’s not a bad fighter. Now, he’s not an exciting one either but he’s no bum. He’s coming off a win over Jack Hermansson, for fuck’s sake. But I think they’ve looked at the top end of the Middleweight division and deliberately chosen the highest ranked, most beatable and least threatening opponent for Pereira here. It’s still a risk. Strickland’s 25-3, Pereira’s only 5-1 in MMA and still untested in a bunch of areas. But at the same time, Strickland is mostly a striker yet he can’t break an egg. There’s a reason they’ve gone with this fight. If they were chucking Pereira in with a Brunson, Vettori or Hermansson I’d say his chances were looking bleak. But for a striking specialist like Pereira, on paper I’d say Strickland seems like a pretty winnable fight. The fact it’s on the same card as an Izzy title fight just adds to it. If Adesanya gets through Cannonier here, and say Pereira knocks out Strickland, I think they go straight to Adesanya vs Pereira later this year.

 

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Robbie Lawler vs Bryan Barberena is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** here. Even on a card as loaded as this, a fight like this just sticks out like a sore thumb, doesn’t it? Sometimes a fight gets booked and you just know what it’s gonna be like. You just fucking know. This is one of them. You know what you’re getting out of Robbie Lawler. If he’s in with someone who’s willing to scrap like he does, you know how it’s gonna go. And I don’t mean that in an anti-grappling way. It’s just a fact that the times we’ve seen ‘Gun-shy Lawler’ it’s been when he’s faced someone like Covington or Magny who were effective at making him hesitate and shutting his aggression down. I still think he’s got some good fights in him if he’s matched with scrappers. Last time we saw Ruthless Bob was at UFC 266 in September…

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It was a weird one. A rematch with Nick Diaz that was 17 years in the making. Lawler ended up battering him. Of course, there’s not much you can really read into that win because it was a Diaz who’d been out of action 6 years and looked out of shape and disinterested. But Lawler did what he was supposed to do. A few of us on here have been critical over the years about how the UFC often match up Lawler. At this stage of Lawler’s career, all anyone wants to see is fun fights. He had his unexpected run with the belt and it was great. They’ve used him to build a few guys up. Let him finish up on a few fan friendly fights. Seems the matchmakers are finally leaning that way now.

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If Dana White phoned me personally and asked me to choose Robbie Lawler’s next opponent, Barberena is probably the first name I’d have thrown at him. It’s perfect. ‘Bam Bam’ is the type of nutcase who will just go in there and slug it out with anyone. His last fight in March against Matt Brown was tremendous! Again, like this Lawler fight, it was exactly how you’d have pictured that fight going. Barberena won and was actually talking about retiring if the UFC didn’t re-sign him. Like they weren’t gonna re-sign him coming off a barnburner like that. It wasn’t a one off either. Anyone who saw his fight with Vicente Luque from a few years ago knows, Barberena’s a wild man. Proper buzzing for this one.

 

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Pedro Munhoz vs Sean O’Malley. Right then. I like this one. Easily the biggest test O’Malley has taken since the loss to Chito Vera a couple of years ago. I think Munhoz has lost a step but I still think he’s a handful and better than pretty much everyone ‘Suga’ has fought so far. Munhoz has lost 4 of his last 5 so that’s probably what made O’Malley fancy this fight now. But the last two losses were to Jose Aldo and Dominick Cruz. And he had Cruz wobbling all over the place at one point. Before that, he lost to Frankie Edgar in a really debatable decision (I had Munhoz winning) and current champ Aljamain Sterling in a cracking fight. Obviously, going 1-4 in your last 5 isn’t good, but if you watched the fights you’ll know Munhoz isn’t shot by any means. O’Malley is gonna be favoured though and I can see why. He’s younger, he’s bigger, he’s a finisher, he’s got momentum. He’s 15-1 now and coming off 3 straight bonus winning stoppage victories since the Vera loss in 2020. Good fight. The thing I like about this as well is, you look at the names Munhoz has fought, look at some of the battles he’s been in, and in 27 fights going back to 2009, he’s never been finished. So O’Malley shouldn’t be blowing through him here. Hopefully we get to see a longer fight and more of what he’s about. If I had my way though, I’d love to see Munhoz clip the Skittles headed twat.

 

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Brad Riddell vs Jalin Turner. Yet another quality fight on a card full of them. Seriously, the depth on this card is something else. Riddell is 30 years old from New Zealand, 10-2 record with 10 finishes. I’d never seen him before his UFC debut in 2019. He fought Jamie Mullarkey that night and I instantly became a fan of both. It was such a fun, action packed fight. He did well after that as well, won his first 4 fights in the UFC and beat Drew Dober in another corker last June. But he ran into Rafael Fiziev in December and that was that, he got spin kicked into oblivion. This is his attempt to rebound. Turner doesn’t fuck about either. 12-5 and had a bit of a dodgy start in the UFC. I remember Bisping bigging him up before his debut, because he brought him in as a sparring partner for his fight with Anderson Silva. But unfortunately he was matched with Vicente Luque his first fight in and got chinned. He’s got on track lately though, won and finished his last 4 fights including a TKO over Riddell’s old mate Mullarkey and a submission over the previously undefeated Uros Medic. This fight is gonna get overshadowed on a card like this but I’d definitely give it a look. If it’s shit blame me but I’d be very surprised.

 

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Donald Cerrone vs Jim Miller 2. It’s a rematch nobody was asking for but circumstances have thrown this one together. Cerrone’s been scheduled to fight Joe Lauzon twice in the last couple of months and it’s gone tits up at the eleventh hour both times. And Miller was supposed to fight Bobby Green on this card but Green’s dropped out. So here we are. These two fought as the main event of a Fight Night card back in July 2014. I can’t remember much of the fight, apart from the finish.

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Cerrone got the knockout in the second round. I vaguely recall it being one of Cerrone’s better performances around that time but it’s all hazy. This was back when he was still in good form though. He was in the middle of maybe the best run of his career at that point. Fast forward 8 years and things have changed. It’s last legs stuff for Cowboy now. He’s gone 0-5-0-1 in his last 6 and been stopped by KO/TKO in 4 of them. His career looks on its arse. Miller is similar in age and number of fights but he’s looking nowhere near as faded as Cerrone does these days. He’ll scrap with anyone but he’s obviously more of a grappler at heart. But he is coming off a couple of rare knockout wins in his last 2 fights. Bit of a weird rematch this. On recent form I’d definitely favour Miller here but the fight is at Welterweight as well to save Cerrone making that horrible cut to 155 again so soon after the cursed Lauzon fight. Still - 155, 170 - I think even an ageing Jim Miller still likely wins at this stage. I just have no confidence in Cerrone anymore.

 

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Ian Garry vs Gabriel Green. I’m liking the sound of this. There’s been a lot of hype on Garry since he signed with the UFC last year, and even before that. He’s undefeated at 9-0 with 6 finishes, a former Cage Warriors champion and he’s still only 24 years old. He couldn’t have really asked for a better start to his career. On top of that, he just got married…

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Seems he’s ‘punching’ in and out of the cage. And he announced after his last fight that they’re expecting a baby. He’s winning at life. I’ve got to be honest though, I’m not fully convinced. He’s definitely got skills and he’s got time and potential. But I haven’t been blown away by him so far. The constant comparisons to Conor McGregor don’t help either. Well, it probably does help him in terms of getting him attention. But it got old about 5 minutes after his UFC debut was announced for me. I’d like to see him do well though. Green’s a tough test on paper too. He’s 11-3 and doesn’t have an amazing record but apparently he had some issues with his vision until recently. He’s got it sorted now and he looked great bashing up Yohan Lainesse in April. Proper fucked him up. His confidence will be high coming into this one so both will fancy the job and that always makes for a better fight.

 

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Brad Tavares vs Dricus Du Plessis. Another fight I’m invested in. This card is ace. Tavares I’m neither here nor there on really. Not a bad fighter by any stretch but very much an also ran. Tough guy though. 19-6 record with wins over Omari Akhmedov, Shoeface, Krzysztof Jotko, Thales Leites, Nate Marquardt, Lorenz Larkin, not bad. He’s also gone 3 full rounds with Yoel Romero and 5 full rounds with Israel Adesanya. Like I said, tough! I’m a DDP fan though.

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The new DDP - Dricus Du Plessis! He’s South African, 16-2 with all his wins coming inside the distance and he was both the Middleweight and Welterweight champion in the African EFC promotion. He’s 2-0 so far in the UFC with knockouts over Markus Perez and Trevin Giles. If he can put a durable guy like Tavares away then that’ll be a big statement.

 

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Uriah Hall vs Andre Muniz. This was meant to happen back in April on the Luque vs Muhammad 2 card but Hall pulled out. At the time, Hall was being linked to a fight with Darren Till and even when the Muniz fight was booked, he seemed a bit disinterested to me. He was still talking shit about Till, which was a bit out of character for Hall. So I had doubts about where his focus was going in. Then when he pulled out due to ‘undisclosed reasons’ I was half expecting them to just book Hall vs Till but here we are with this rebooked and Till’s fighting Hermansson on the London card. Hall’s 37 now and coming off a lacklustre points loss to Sean Strickland last July. He’ll have been out nearly a full year by the time the cage door closes here. As for Muniz, he might just be the darkhorse of the Middleweight division. He’s 22-4, on an 8 fight winning streak and comes into this fight off 3 straight first round armbar finishes. One of them being over Jacare Souza! Say what you want about Jacare’s decline but to go to the ground with him, armbar him and snap his arm the way Muniz did, it’s still mega impressive. It’d be one thing outstriking an ageing, fading Jacare. To get the better of him in a grappling situation still means something. Muniz is lethal on the ground. It’s an interesting clash of styles because Hall is all striking but if his head’s not on right for this or he’s looking past Muniz towards a fight with Till or whoever, he could be leaving the arena with his arm in a sling.

 

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Jessica Eye vs Maycee Barber. Not fussed about this. I think the UFC matchmakers have fully settled on just feeding Eye to up and comers at this point. She’s 35 years old, coming off 3 consecutive losses and they keep trying to book her against younger prospects. She was being lined up to fight Manon Fiorot a few months ago but pulled out hurt. Then she was originally supposed to fight unbeaten Casey O’Neill on this card but O’Neill withdrew. Now they’re throwing Barber at her, who’s 24 and someone the company seems quite high on. This is probably gonna be another loss for Eye as well, I reckon. I don’t rate Barber as much as some do but she looked pretty good in her last fight and I think she’s got enough to bully Eye around for 15 minutes here.

 

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Jessica Rose Clark vs Julija Stoliarenko. Not a fight that’s setting the world alight but it’ll do as Fight Pass filler. Clark didn’t get off to a bad start in the UFC, beating Bec Rawlings and Paige VanZant. But it’s been fairly poor since. She’s 11-7-0-1 now. Coming off a first round submission loss to Stephanie (Ham &) Egger. Not the best. She did at least win her 2 previous fights though. Stoliarenko’s in a worse slump. She came in having just won the Invicta belt in 2020 but has swiftly gone 0-3 so far in the UFC. She’s 9-6-2 overall now. She did have a fun fight with the ‘Raging Panda’ last summer but even then she got subbed in that one. Got to think this is a must win situation for her but I fancy Clark in more ways than one.

 

 

276 then. 

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Edited by wandshogun09
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Updated the opening post with the official poster and the addition of Ian Garry vs Gabriel Green, which I like. Definitely gonna be a reshuffle on the bout order. Marcel Dorff’s got Garry vs Green at the bottom but there’s no way that jerks the curtain, is there? Thing is though, this card is so stacked that he actually might still end up on Fight Pass. I can’t see him getting on the main card over any of the 5 fights there currently. And even the televised prelims are strong. Personally, I’d relegate Jessica Eye vs Maycee Barber down to Fight Pass and whack Garry vs Green in that spot. 

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I don't think we can go wrong there. Pereira Vs Adesanya seems like it'd be a tonne of fun, however long it goes. Should it be Strickland - I reckon Adesanya outright embarrasses him, which will be thoroughly enjoyable. 

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10 hours ago, Zebra Kid Mark said:

The fight pass early prelim fights are better than most of the Apex fight nights we've had this year.

This is the lead-in for a PPV though, so that's to be expected. Apex shows are basically the equivalent of the smaller boxing shows you get on Sky. A chance for contenders to shine, with the odd veteran or interesting main event thrown in.

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I'm still favouring Volkanovski to win this, he still seems to be getting better and whilst I have a bad habit of underestimating Mac Holloway, I can't help but feel Volkanovski wins this one and does in more decisive fashion.

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Yeah I love Holloway, he absolutely deserves this shot and I still think he’s got a better chance than most. But…I’m still favouring Volk. I think he just has Holloway’s number. 

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