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UFC Vegas: Dos Anjos vs Fiziev - Jul 9 🇺🇸


wandshogun09
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Posted (edited)

Apex again 🥱 

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ESPN+ MAIN CARD
Rafael Dos Anjos vs Rafael Fiziev 

Caio Borralho vs Armen Petrosyan

Said Nurmagomedov vs Douglas Silva De Andrade

Jared Vanderaa vs Chase Sherman

Michael Johnson vs Jamie Mullarkey

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS  
Cynthia Calvillo vs Nina Nunes

Aiemann Zahabi vs Ricky Turcios

Antonina Shevchenko vs Cortney Casey

Cody Brundage vs Tresean Gore

Kennedy Nzechukwu vs Karl Roberson

Ronnie Lawrence vs Saidyokub Kakhramonov

 

That’s the the right bout order, at the moment anyway. This one’s already taken a hit. The co-main was supposed to be Cody Garbrandt vs Rani Yahya but Yahya’s been forced out. Not sure if Garbrandt is gonna stay on the card but if they’re hoping to get a replacement in they better get a move on. Love the main event, let’s hope it makes it to the cage this time!

 

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Rafael Dos Anjos vs Rafael Fiziev then. Let’s try this again. The Battle Of Rafaels. This’ll be the third attempt this year to get this fight on. It was originally booked to headline the Feb 19th card but Fiziev had some Visa issues that delayed it. The fight was then rescheduled for the co-main event spot on UFC 272 in March. Fiziev fell out again, this time with COVID. Hopefully it’s third time lucky and the fight actually happens this time. It’s such a great fight. One of those cool old vs new clashes but the ‘old’ is still a handful and the ‘new’ is right at that point where they need a breakout fight against an established name, and this could be just that for Fiziev. A win here over a former Lightweight champ would be huge for him and would set him up for a run at the very top of the division. RDA’s not gonna be anyone’s pushover though.

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Dos Anjos is a badass. That shouldn’t be news to anyone on here. He came into the UFC all the way back in 2008. To put it in perspective how long he’s been around, his Octagon debut was on the undercard of Randy Couture vs Brock Lesnar! Feels like a lifetime ago and here we are 14 years later and he’s still going strong and taking on all comers. He had his setbacks early on and I don’t think the UFC expected much from him but around 2011/12ish something seemed to click and he started putting together a win streak that would ultimately lead him to UFC gold.

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I was a fan from early on but I never imagined he’d reach this level. Over an 11 fight stretch between 2012 and 2015, RDA beat the likes of Anthony Pettis, Benson Henderson, Donald Cerrone twice and Nate Diaz, among others. This was when those guys were all in or close to prime form and RDA beat them all convincingly. He also won the title during this run and his only loss in this period came against some sod named Khabib. Make no mistake, for a decent spell there, Dos Anjos was one of the very best Lightweights in the world. Of course, he’s older now and his prime years are gone. But he’s far from shot and he’s shown he’s still got some ammo left in the tank. He’s 31-13 now. Had a little slump of losses a while back but that was up at 170 and if you look back, he was fighting the absolute best up at Welterweight and 3 of the 4 losses in that timeframe came against Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington and Leon Edwards! I mean, come on. Since dropping back to 155 he’s beat Paul Felder and Renato Moicano on points. And the Moicano one in March was a total beatdown.

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Poor prick. RDA went 5 rounds in both those wins over Felder and Moicano as well. So although he’s ageing, he’s still got the durability and the engine to go hard in long fights. He’s an iron man. Granted those wins weren’t championship calibre or anything. They were both late replacements plus Felder was on the verge of retirement. But RDA could only fight who showed up and I thought his own performances were very strong. He’s got some balls on him as well. When Fiziev dropped out last time in March, RDA was up for facing Islam Makhachev at 170 on really short notice but it never got finalised and that’s when Moicano jumped in. RDA gives no fucks. The clock is ticking on his career now though. The injuries and gaps between fights have started to become a bit more frequent and after a long career you have to think the sand timer’s running low now. But here he is, in 2022, still taking on the toughest fights currently available…

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Fiziev’s 29 years old, fighting out of Kazakhstan. Came into MMA with a 39-8 record in Kickboxing and has now gone 11-1 in MMA. The only blip being his UFC debut a few years ago. He’s put together a 5 fight streak since then with notable wins over Marc Diakiese, Renato Moicano, Bobby Green and in his last fight he spin kicked Brad Riddell into a state of rigamortis…

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The fucker was knocked out on his feet and just frozen still. Fiziev looks the real deal and as big a fan of RDA as I am, even I have to admit that Fiziev’s probably the favourite here. He’s younger, coming in confident, with momentum and the timing seems to favour him. It’s one of those fights you just know social media is gonna have down as a squash match as it gets closer. The consensus opinion will likely be that RDA’s a lamb to the slaughter here. I wouldn’t completely write RDA off here though. He’s got the MMA big match experience, he’s more well rounded, has fantastic BJJ, underrated wrestling, has gone 5 rounds a bunch of times, Fiziev’s never gone past 3. However you chop it up, on paper this is by far Fiziev’s most difficult test yet. At the same time it’s a great opportunity for him to get a boost up the ladder at 155. Again, if you look at RDA, most of his losses in recent years have been at 170 against some of the elite of that division. That might be painting a bit of a distorted picture of his so called decline. None of them were able to stop him inside the distance either. So if Fiziev can beat a guy like RDA, and especially if he can get a finish, it’ll be a massive statement and should catapult him right into the title contender mix. Awesome fight. If it happens this time 🤞

 

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Caio Borralho vs Armen Petrosyan. Seems a bit odd as co-main event because they’re both new in the UFC and I’ve barely seen either but I’m looking forward to it based on the limited footage I have seen. Borralho made his UFC debut back in April after winning a couple of DWCS fights. He faced fellow newcomer Gadzhi Omargadzhiev on the Luque vs Muhammad 2 card and I thought he looked really good. The fight unfortunately ended in controversy due to Borralho landing an illegal knee but, as it was late in the fight, they went to the scorecards and Borralho got the decision. It was a crappy ending to an otherwise strong debut performance. Borralho looked like one of those fighters who’s always on the attack wherever the fight goes. Hopefully he learns to stop the attack when it’s illegal though.

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Petrosyan is Armenian, 7-1 with 6 knockouts. I’ve only seen his UFC debut but he managed to get a win over everyone’s favourite Barack Obama lookalike Gregory Rodrigues in that one. Not bad going for your debut. It was a split decision and I remember thinking Rodrigues did enough to win but regardless, Petrosyan got the nod and he held up over 15 minutes and took what Rodrigues dished out so that says he’s tough if nothing else. Solid fight. Hopefully we get to see Borralho get a bit of a test here and without the controversy this time.

 

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Said Nurmagomedov vs Douglas Silva De Andrade could be a darkhorse to steal the show actually. Really like this fight. Nurmagomedov is 30 years old with a record of 15-2 and 8 finishes. In the UFC he’s gone 4-1 so far with 3 of the 4 wins coming in the first round. And his last 2 fights both ended in under a minute! He battered Mark Striegl to a ground and pound stoppage in 51 seconds, then in January he guillotined Cody Stamann in 47 seconds. He looks promising. His only defeats so far have came against former ACA/ACB/WSOF champ and former UFC fighter Magomed Bibulatov and Raoni Barcelos in the UFC. Both on points. De Andrade should hopefully last a bit longer than his last couple of opponents and give him a test. He’s 36 and a veteran of 33 MMA fights. 28 wins, 22 finishes. He’s coming off a corker against Sergey Morozov at UFC 271 in February…

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De Andrade got the second round finish, choking Morozov all the way out! If you missed it, I urge you to catch up on it. Trust me, you won’t regret it. Genuinely one of my favourite fights so far this year. De Andrade also has notable wins over Marlon Vera (2018) and Renan Barao (2019), although Barao was well shot by that point, and he’s been in with Petr Yan and Rob Font. He’s no world champion in waiting or anything but he’s tough, dangerous, experienced and battle tested. If Nurmagomedov blows through him like he has his last 2 opponents I’ll be as impressed as I’ll be surprised. Should be good though.

 

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Jared Vanderaa vs Chase Sherman is your typical Heavyweight sloppy offering. No Fight Night card would be complete without one. We’ve had worse than this but it’s still not great. Vanderaa’s 30 years old with a record of 12-8 and he’s coming off 3 straight losses. He got strangled in a round by Alexey Oleynik last time out in April. It’s really not working out for him. Seems to bleed buckets every other fight as well. Sherman’s 32 with a 15-10 record and has lost his last 4 in a row. He got subbed in a round in January by sodding Jake Collier of all people, and the UFC sacked him following that one. But he got his foot back in the door just days after being released when he stepped in as a last minute replacement against Alexandr Romanov in April. That went about as well as expected for him and he got suplexed on his head and was tapping to a keylock in about 2 minutes. Loser of this should probably hit the road.

 

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Michael Johnson vs Jamie Mullarkey is another fight that has a high chance of bagging FOTN honours. You just never know what you’re getting out of Michael Johnson though. The man who beat Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, Edson Barboza and Joe Lauzon…but also lost to Darren Elkins, Thiago Moises, Stevie Ray and Clay Guida. I don’t mean that as a knock on any of those guys either. All good fighters but I just feel like MJ has always had the talent to go further than he has. But in a bunch of fights, he’s had a knack for losing from a winning position. He’s 20-17 now, for fuck’s sake. When he’s on he’s way better than that record suggests. But you never know if he’s gonna show up on the night. He did snap a shitty 4 fight losing streak in his last fight, knocking out Alan Patrick in May. So we’ll see how this goes. But if he’s gonna get another W here, he’s gonna have to come ready for war because Mullarkey loves a scrap. He instantly made a fan of me with his UFC debut against Brad Riddell back in 2019. It was my first time seeing both and they just threw down for 15 minutes in a wild FOTN slobberknocker. He’s had mixed results since but he always shows up ready for battle and that’s one thing you can’t always count on when it comes to Johnson. If Johnson is up for this, and I think he will be coming off that elusive win last time, this should be fireworks for however long it goes.

 

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Cynthia Calvillo vs Nina Nunes is doing sod all for me. They’re not terrible fighters but it’s just a nothing fight. I remember Calvillo had a bit of a promising start to her UFC career. She came in undefeated and rattled off 3 wins in the UFC in quick succession, won 6 of her first 8 inside the Octagon etc. But she’s hit the wall lately. She’s 9-4-1 now, has lost 3 on the bounce and is coming off back-to-back TKO losses to Jessica Andrade and Andrea Lee. Nunes (formerly Ansaroff) is 10-7 and coming off a couple of losses herself. She’s had her moments, her 2018 decision win over Claudia Gadelha being the high point. But she’s never been consistent enough to make a serious run at a belt or anything. She lost to Tatiana Suarez in 2019, took time out to have her daughter and came back last April only to get submitted by Mackenzie Dern. At 36, I can’t see her making a splash now but this is basically a coin flip at this stage.

 

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Aiemann Zahabi vs Ricky Turcios. Not bad. I’m not too fussed about Zahabi, to be honest. He came in a few years ago with a little bit of buzz but looking back it was probably just the curiosity factor of seeing the brother of a top MMA coach in there. He’s not bad but he definitely wasn’t the prospect many thought he was. He’s 34 now as well. Not exactly on the scrap heap but no spring chicken either. He’s 8-2 and scored a first round knockout against Drako Rodriguez in his last fight. That was over a year ago now though and he’d lost his 2 previous fights and had big gaps between both of them. He’s only fought 3 times in the last 5 years for some reason. I get the feeling he’s being lined up as cannon fodder for this guy…

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Turcios is 29 with a record of 11-2 and 4 finishes. He won The Ultimate Fighter Bantamweight tournament back in August, beating Brady Hiestand by split decision in the finals in a really exciting fight. That’s the only fight I’ve seen of him but I remember reading and hearing good things about him going into that final. If the Hiestand fight is typical of his style then he’s gonna be a lot of fun to follow as his career progresses. Not sure quite how good he is yet because I didn’t know anything about Hiestand either. I’m not sure how to properly rate that performance other than it was entertaining to watch. But I’m guessing the UFC have chosen Zahabi for a reason here. We’ll see if it backfires or not but I’d like Turcios to win. I enjoyed the one fight I’ve seen of his more than anything I’ve seen from Zahabi’s Ariel Helwani looking arse anyway.

 

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Antonina Shevchenko vs Cortney Casey. Might be alright but I’m not expecting too much out of it, to be honest. I quite like Shevchenko but she’s always gonna be compared to her sister and she’s obviously leagues and leagues below that. Like Val, she fought a bunch in Kickboxing and I think she probably left the full time move to MMA a bit late to really make a go of it. She dabbled a bit as far back as the early 2000s but never fully committed until 2017. She’s 37 now with a record of 9-4 and has been finished by Andrea Lee and Casey O’Neill in her last two outings. Casey isn’t much younger at 35, has gone a dismal 10-9 over a 7 year run in the UFC and I barely remember any of it. She does actually have a couple of alright wins over Angela Hill and Randa Markos and a few split decisions have gone against her. Maybe she’s a little bit better than her record makes her look but if she was that good I’d recall something about her surely. This is one Shev should still be able to win but I can’t say I have a lot of confidence in her at this stage unfortunately.

 

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Cody Brundage vs Tresean Gore. I’ll give it a whirl. Can’t say I recall much about Brundage. He’s 7-2, lost a decision to Nick Maximov in his UFC debut, subbed Dalcha Lungiambula in his last fight in March. I think I saw the Maximov fight but I have zero recollection of anything Brundage did. Gore is the reason to tune in for this one. He was on the last season of TUF. I didn’t watch it but I remember quite a buzz surrounding him coming off the show. He was all set to face Bryan Battle in the finals but had to pull out. The fight finally happened in February and I was excited to see what the fuss was about. But Battle won a decision and Gore just looked very average to me. He clearly packs a punch but whether it was the old ‘Octagon jitters’ or what, he just never pulled the trigger on the night and he got outworked. Maybe there’s better to come but as a first impression, as Nick Diaz would say I felt like I’d been sold wolf tickets. He’s only had 4 pro fights as well, 3-1 now after the Battle loss. A lot of the hype felt quite premature to me but we’ll see how he bounces back from that first loss here.

 

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Kennedy Nzechukwu vs Karl Roberson might be worth a gander. I’ve became a bit of a Nzechukwu fan over the last year or so. He’s 29 years old and 9-3 now. He’ll never be a contender, even in a weird division like LHW, but those couple of come from behind knockouts against Carlos Ulberg and Danilo Marques last year made a fan out of me. It’s gone a bit wonky since and he’s lost his last 2 fights so I’d like to see him get back on the right track here. Roberson is 31 with a record of 9-5 and has lost and been finished in his last 3 fights. In fairness to him, a few of his losses have been to very strong opposition but that’s the game. He got completely brutalised by Khalil Rountree last time out. You might remember Rountree just volleying the absolute shite out of him with Chute Boxe style kicks to the ribs while he was on the ground. I’d have stayed home forever after that so fair play to him getting back on the horse. I feel harsh hoping for his downfall again here but I’m not about to be rooting against Nzechukwu.

 

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Ronnie Lawrence vs Saidyokub Kakhramonov. I’m giving this the old ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** spotlight. Not like we’re spoilt for choice on this card but I do like the sound of this. Didn’t even know it was booked until now. Crazy how this is jerking the curtain while Vanderaa vs Sherman has a main card spot. Make it make sense. Anyway, Lawrence is another DWCS guy who I think ZebraKidMark brought to my attention. He’s 30 years old, trains at ATT and is currently 8-1 with 4 knockouts. I’ve only seen his 2 UFC fights so far and already he’s must see TV for me. He got a late TKO over Vince Cachero in his debut last year and looked great. Then had a year of delays and injuries before his next fight at UFC 271 in February. And him and Mana Martinez went out and almost stole the show.

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Awesome fight. I say “almost stole the show” because I think I rated the De Andrade vs Morozov fight slightly better on the night but this was another tremendous back and forth battle. Lawrence certainly didn’t have it all his own way but he came through with the decision victory in the end. I’m slightly less familiar with Kakhramonov. I’ve highlighted this fight mostly because of Lawrence. But Kakhramonov could be one to keep an eye on in his own right. He’s 26 years old, 9-2 with 7 inside the distance and submitted Trevin Jones in his UFC debut last August. He’s finished his last 3 fights and one of his only 2 losses was a decision defeat against Umar Nurmagomedov in the PFL back in 2018. Maybe they’ll meet again in the UFC somewhere down the road. Good stuff here.


 

Not bad at all. At first glance it looks like a one match show but there is some good stuff if you dig around a bit. Fights like Nurmagomedov vs De Andrade, Johnson vs Mullarkey, Lawrence vs Kakhramonov and the Turcios and Borralho fights are perfect for a Fight Night. If anything is making it look weak it’s that Calvillo vs Nunes fight currently being so high up the card. But once the card is shuffled up it’ll probably all fall into place. Only problem here is, names wise, RDA vs Fiziev is 100% carrying the load here and if that fight falls off again…no, I don’t even wanna think about it. Third time lucky 🤞

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Edited by wandshogun09
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They scratched that Sijara Eubanks fight from the card. In its place we get Jared Vanderaa vs Chase Sherman which really isn’t much better 😂

Official poster looks a bit…demonic.

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