Paid Members wandshogun09 Posted June 24, 2022 Paid Members Share Posted June 24, 2022 (edited) Off to the big apple New York again. And for a Fight Night, this is a real beast of a card. ABC MAIN CARDBrian Ortega vs Yair Rodriguez Michelle Waterson vs Amanda Lemos Li Jingliang vs Muslim Salikhov Matt Schnell vs Su Mudaerji Shane Burgos vs Charles Jourdain Lauren Murphy vs Miesha Tate ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMSPunahele Soriano vs Dalcha Lungiambula Ricky Simon vs Jack Shore Bill Algeo vs Herbert Burns Dustin Jacoby vs Da Un Jung Dwight Grant vs Dustin Stoltzfus Jessica Penne vs Emily Ducote That’s Marcel Dorff’s order. As always, I’ll update it as and when. That’s some fucking card, isn’t it? For me this rivals that amazing Kattar vs Emmett show we just had. Not saying it’ll definitely deliver quite the same on the night as that one did, it’s a tough act to follow. But on paper, it’s every bit as strong, if not even stronger. Brian Ortega vs Yair Rodriguez headlines! What a fuck of a main event this is. Absolutely buzzing. I’ve said for ages that Featherweight is one of my favourite divisions but the thing that’s let it down a little bit is a lot of the top guys not fighting each other because of injuries and layoffs. There was a time when I genuinely believed that little group of Ortega, Yair, Zombie and Zabit could’ve been for the UFC almost what the Four Kings - Leonard, Hagler, Hearns and Duran - were for Boxing in the 80s. Those four all facing each other could’ve provided classics and wars and trilogies for years. Then you could’ve added in a Holloway or Kattar or whoever and it gets crazy. That’s before you even get to the champ Volkanovski. The depth of talent at 145lbs rivals any other division in the sport. But Yair likes his sabbaticals, Zombie’s making noises about retiring, Zabit has just announced his retirement after a long bout of health issues. It never became what it could’ve been but we still got some gems out of it and when you think about this fight in particular and how Ortega and Yair match up on paper, you never wanna jinx these things but this really does have the makings of something special. Ortega is 31 years old now and is currently 15-2-0-1 with 10 finishes. He came into the UFC back in 2014 and, after getting flagged for PEDs in his debut, got back on track and went on a bit of a tear. He stopped Thiago Tavares in a tremendous forgotten fight, submitted Diego Brandao, knocked out Clay Guida, subbed Renato Moicano in another FOTN, strangled Cub Swanson in his first UFC headliner, then became the first man to knock out the previously iron chinned Frankie Edgar. Quite a run. He beat the Korean Zombie by decision in 2020, a good fight but it didn’t catch fire like I’d expected. And that win was sandwiched between 2 failed attempts at UFC gold. Everyone on here will remember that utter thrashing he took from then champ Max Holloway in late 2018. He took a much needed 2 year break after that, came back with the Zombie win, then got another crack at the belt now held by Alexander Volkanovski in September last year. Again, a great fight. And to date, Ortega has put Volk in more danger than anyone. Ultimately, it went the distance and Volk bossed it in terms of rounds won and points scored. There was zero doubt who’d won the fight when it was over. But Ortega had that guillotine in deep! I still don’t know how Volk survived it. Hard not to feel bad for Ortega. As good as he is and however many other fights he wins, it seems he’s gonna go down as a nearly man when it’s all said and done just because Volko and Holloway exist. He’s basically the Alexander Gustafsson or Joseph Benavidez of the Featherweight division. Great fighter but unless those two change weight class or retire suddenly in the next couple of years, he’s not sniffing UFC gold. Then again, it’s hard to have sympathy for Tracy Cortez’s boyfriend. Cry me a river, Bri. Yair Rodriguez is a bit of an enigma. He’s 13-3-0-1 with 7 finishes. Won TUF: Latin America back in 2014. A ridiculously exciting fighter to watch. He always was. But his habit of just disappearing for years at a time means he’s never really built up a proper run of consistency or momentum. It’s not too late. He’s still the right side of 30, but I can’t help but think he’s gonna look back when he’s old and retired and regret some of those layoffs during his prime years. Some were through injury which obviously can’t be helped. But other times, he seemed to just fall off the face of the earth. One time he got a 6 month USADA suspension because he wasn’t around when they showed up to test him and he didn’t let them know where he was. Another time he briefly got sacked because he was reportedly turning down every single fight he was offered or something. He’s a weird cat. Definitely marches to a different beat. And who can forget when he poked Jeremy Stephens in the eye causing a No Contest, then threw a tantrum at Bisping when he came to interview him? He’s an odd one. But then he’ll go out and have a war like the Zombie fight and it all seems worth it. All the weirdness, all the layoffs, all the strange behaviour. Every now and then he’ll remind you what the fuck all the fuss is about. Look no further than his last fight against Max Holloway in November… A batshit 5 rounds that ranks among my favourite fights of all time. Holloway got the win as expected but it was a way more competitive fight than anyone predicted going in. Yair had been inactive for 2 years and it was already common knowledge that the UFC were looking to line up Volkanovski vs Holloway 3. It felt like this was being set up as a bit of a warm up fight for Holloway. Dana made some comments after the fight that he was surprised how good Yair looked considering his time away. I thought that was quite telling. If you expected Yair to struggle from the time away, why would you throw him straight in with Holloway?! I absolutely believe they thought this would be a complete showcase for Max like the Kattar fight was. The fact they just casually chucked a fight this good in the cold, lifeless, empty Apex kind of backs that up as well. I don’t think the UFC brass expected that much out of this other than an entertaining squash match. Yair came to win though. He didn’t get it done but he fought like his life was on the line in there and Holloway really had to dig in and earn the win. A classic. In the immediate aftermath of the fight I said I felt like it was FOTY last year, even over Gaethje vs Chandler. I know most disagreed with me but I fucking loved this fight and it’s right on par with any other fight from last year for me, if not better. In the end I think I voted Gaethje vs Chandler in the Awards on here but I’m still not 100% sure which fight I preferred. It was incredible. Only thing that could’ve made it any better would’ve been if it was in front of a crowd rather than a load of empty chairs. But anyway, here we are. Ortega vs Yair and they’ve got 5 rounds to work with. And this will be in front of fans! If you look at this in terms of the division and the title picture and all that, they’re basically fighting for bronze because Volkanovski and Holloway are fighting 2 weeks earlier and that’s clearly the #1 and #2. But purely as a fight, it doesn’t get much better than this for me. I can’t see any scenario where this isn’t at least entertaining. They’re not the types to hang back and play the cautious game. On the feet there’s gonna be wild exchanges, and on the ground is where the styles really get fun for me because they’re both so aggressive. They’ve also both got that ‘one mistake can end it’ thing going for them. Ortega can pull a submission out of pretty much nowhere. He’s really fucking good at that. Even when he seems to be losing, he’s always got a guillotine or something in his back pocket. And Yair’s probably the single greatest example of the phrase ‘it’s not over until it’s over’ in MMA. It’s been 4 years now and I’ve still not got over him knocking the Zombie out at 4:59 of the 5th round in a fight he was losing. It’s gonna be edge of the seat all the way and I can’t wait. Michelle Waterson vs Amanda Lemos. Alright fight, wouldn’t have this as co-main myself but maybe that’ll change. Decent enough though. Been a fan of Waterson for years and not just for the obvious reasons. I remember loving some of her fights back in her Atomweight days in Invicta years ago. She’s had mixed results in the UFC though. I think part of it is that she’s a little bit small for the top of the Strawweight division. She’s had a few solid wins but every time she’s stepped up into that upper level, she’s fallen short. I mean, you look at her UFC losses and it’s Namajunas, Jedrzejczyk, Esparza, Rodriguez and Torres. She’s not losing to bums but it’s clear where her ceiling is and it’s below that top level. She’s 36 now as well, it’s not like she’s got bags of time to improve. Lemos is only slightly younger at 35. She’s 11-2-1 and coming off that quick standing arm triangle loss against Jessica Andrade. Bit embarrassing to get caught in that really but she was on a nice little run prior and for a Strawweight, she’s shown she’s got a bit of a dig on her. Of her 11 wins, 7 came by knockout. Not typical of 115lb women. Could go either way on this. Lemos has the kind of power and aggression that could put Waterson in some bother. But seeing how Andrade was able to get the easy sub on Lemos, I could see Waterson having success if she can make it more of a grappling matchup. Might slightly favour Lemos at this stage though. Waterson’s probably the more skilled overall but I think this is gonna play out on the feet and I can see Lemos winning the bulk of the exchanges there. Li Jingliang vs Muslim Salikhov. Like this pairing. Neither are gonna be title contenders but both are good, solid fighters in the middle of the pack at Welterweight and both are usually decent to watch. We haven’t seen Jingliang since he got completely ragdolled by Khamzat Chimaev last October… Must’ve been absolutely demoralising. Khamzat literally picked him up like a toddler, walked across the cage with him with his legs kicking and all sorts, slammed him down and then casually had a chat with Dana White at cageside. Total pisstake. Hopefully he’s not still mindfucked from that because he’s got a tough fight in front of him here. Salikhov’s no joke. When your nickname is ‘King Of Kung Fu’ you better be able to throw down. And Salikhov’s been doing just that for some time. Forget MMA for a second, he’s got a Kickboxing record of 185-13-1 with 76 by knockout. In MMA he’s 18-2 with 14 finishes and is on a 5 fight winning streak currently. Always enjoy watching him on the undercards. Matt Schnell vs Su Mudaerji. Looking forward to this as well actually. Not so much for Schnell. He’s OK. 15-6-0-1 with wins over Tyson Nam, Louis Smolka and Jordan Espinosa. Not bad but nothing mind blowing. We’ll see if he even makes it to the cage though. I’ve been previewing fights of his that never ended up happening for what seems like forever now. Mudaerji is the pull for me here but he’s also had a bunch of fights fall apart. Shame because I was just starting to get intrigued by him then he got hit by injuries. He’s actually been in the UFC since 2018 but wasn’t really on my radar until his last couple of fights. He’s still only 26 years old and has a record of 16-4 with 14 finishes, 13 by knockout. That’s him schooling and stopping Malcolm Gordon in less than a minute a few fights back. He’s won his last 3 in a row now and really caught my eye in those performances. Seems to fight southpaw mostly, and for a Flyweight seems to have freakishly long arms. Like Dhalsim off Street Fighter shit. I just remember him looking sharp as a tack in the striking and thinking he could be an awkward fight for almost anyone at 125 who chooses to stand with him. He was actually supposed to fight Manel Kape on one of the Fight Night cards recently but Kape withdrew. If Mudaerji wins here, I’d love to see that rescheduled. Shane Burgos vs Charles Jourdain is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** here. Should be a corker this. Like a few fights on this card, it’s two guys who are below that elite level in their division, and they’ll probably never get a look in as far as the title mix goes. But they’re a lot of fun to watch. Burgos especially seems to consistently find himself in barnburners. The fights with Josh Emmett and Calvin Kattar were both awesome. He lost both but he gave a hell of an account of himself in both fights. He took on Billy Quarantillo in his last fight at MSG in November… One of the best fights of 2021 that pretty much nobody talks about. Seriously, on almost any other night of the year, this would’ve been guaranteed FOTN. But of all the cards for it to land on, it happened the same night that Gaethje and Chandler decided to knock lumps out of each other for 15 straight minutes. Bad luck boys. The good news for Burgos was though, he finally won one of these wild scraps. He’s 14-3 now and I imagine he’ll be riding high coming off that win. Jourdain hasn’t been quite as consistent but when he’s been on he’s looked outstanding. He came in with a bit of hype a few years back as I recall. He had skills, an exciting style and was really young, like 22 or something. Of course, ever since GSP retired, the MMA world has been looking to declare someone ‘Canada’s next big thing‘ but it hasn’t panned out for Jourdain for whatever reason. Still only 26 but he’s been very up and down results-wise in the UFC. He’s coming off a couple of nice wins here though. He literally choked Lando Vannata out of his shorts last time out in April, that was probably his most impressive performance to date. Who knows, maybe he’ll start going on a run now? 26 year old fighters have got off to shakier starts than him and gone onto do great things. Regardless, this should be one of those frantic all action fights. If Ortega vs Yair somehow isn’t the epic it sounds like, this is my pick to bag FOTN. Lauren Murphy vs Miesha Tate. Originally set for UFC 276 but Murphy got the COVID. Can’t say I’m really into this but maybe it’ll be a pleasant surprise? Both real veterans of women’s MMA. This could’ve happened way back when the women were lucky to get on a Strikeforce or EliteXC card, otherwise they were relegated to small regional shows. They’ve both paid their dues. But they’re winding down now. Murphy turns 39 years old a few weeks after this fight and she’s 15-5. She comes into this one off a failed attempt at the title back in September. She got smacked about by the champ Valentina Shevchenko. In fairness, before that she was on a decent little 5 fight winning streak but it’s hard to see her putting another streak together now at this stage. And Tate, bless her, this just feels like a desperation move to me. She came back last summer, after 4+ years away. Beat an old and retiring Marion Reneau, people got excited but then she lost to Ketlen Vieira in November and looked pretty crap. Now she’s dropping to Flyweight for the first time in her career, at nearly 36 years old? I don’t know. She’s had a great career, former UFC champion, former Strikeforce champion, had some really fun fights back in the day. Looking back, her fights with Julie Kedzie, Marloes Coenen and Ronda Rousey were probably a major factor in getting me into the women’s fights. Even now, I’ve seen pics of her shredding down to 125 and she’s clearly putting the graft in. I just get the feeling the ship has sailed. She might win this fight, maybe, but ever since she returned last year I just haven’t had a good feeling about her comeback. Hopefully these two go out and surpass my expectations. Punahele Soriano vs Dalcha Lungiambula. Not bad. Not giddy about it or anything but it’s got the potential for some fireworks if they’re both up for it. Soriano usually brings it, to be fair. He’s a heavy handed Hawaiian who went 8-0 initially with 7 inside the distance. Absolutely wiped out Oskar Piechota in his Octagon debut with one of the most vicious knockouts I can recall in the UFC. Seriously, kind of reminded me of a slightly less brutal version of when Ray Mercer waffled Tommy Morrison into oblivion way back. Soriano followed that up with a first round TKO over Dusko Todorovic and the future looked bright. But he’s hit the wall since, losing back-to-back decisions fairly decisively. He lost to Brendan Allen in a total dogfight where he certainly got his share of digs in but he got the worst of it overall. Showed a ton of toughness as well. But in the loss to Nick Maximov he got completely shut down in the grappling. The blueprint is gonna be out there now. Lungiambula I’m not sure about though. Badass name, badass look. But the cage door shuts and it’s all a bit forgettable. He’s 11-4 now, also coming off a couple of losses. But I can’t even really remember his wins. He’s been in the UFC since 2019 as well. Maybe Soriano can drag him into a slobberknocker. Ricky Simon vs Jack Shore. Hold up, Shore again on the bastard prelims?! Is he ever gonna make a main card? 3 years and 5 fights unbeaten in the UFC now. Sort it out. He’s got a good test here. Simon is a tough guy who’s knocked about a bit. He’s 19-3 with 9 inside the distance, currently riding a 4 fight win streak and knocked out Raphael Assuncao last time out. He also had a points win over Rani Yahya in a really strong performance and a submission over Merab Dvalishvili that I don’t even remember at all. He’s no pushover. This is all about Shore though for me. No disrespect to Simon but this guy getting a bit of spotlight is long overdue. One of the better prospects on the roster right now, in my opinion. 27 years old, undefeated at 16-0, 12 finishes, former Cage Warriors champion etc. And he’s looked great in most of his UFC fights so far. It’s been slow progress but he’s just kept plugging away and stacking up those wins. If you just look up his record and see his last 3 went to decisions it doesn’t scream hot prospect but if you watched the fights you can see the potential there. He’s not particularly flashy but there doesn’t seem to be much weakness to his overall game at all so far. His last fight against Timur Valiev on the London card in March was fun as well. That one only went the distance due to Valiev being hard as nails, because Shore put a beating on him and would’ve got a lot of opponents out of there that night. Got a good feeling about Shore. It’s been a bit of a slow burner but I get the impression he’ll rise to the occasion once the big opportunities come his way. Hopefully he gets his 17th win here and in impressive enough fashion to hopefully finally get him that elusive main card spot next time. Bill Algeo vs Herbert Burns is a pure salvage job cobbled together from two fights that went tits up. Algeo was scheduled to fight Billy Quarantillo on this card and Burns was supposed to face Octagon newcomer Khusein Askhabov. Those two dropped off the card and this is what we’re left with. Not a bad little fight but Quarantillo and the debut of Askhabov were where the interest lay in those fights for me so it’s shite how it’s played out. Oh well. Algeo’s 15-6 and won a decision off Joanderson Brito last time out. My main memory of him though, is the corker he had against Ricardo Lamas in Lamas’ farewell fight. And Burns is the younger brother of Gilbert. He’s 11-3 with wins over Nate Landwehr, Evan Dunham and Darrick Minner. Looks pretty good from what I recall, although not on the level of his big bro. He hasn’t fought since 2020 though for some reason. Dustin Jacoby vs Da Un Jung. I’m a broken record at this point but, again, another fight that makes the prelims on this card well worth tuning in for. I really enjoy watching Jacoby fight. He doesn’t fuck about in there. At this stage he’s fought pretty much everywhere from Bellator to WSOF to DWCS to 2 stints in the UFC to GLORY Kickboxing. He’s never been ‘the man’ anywhere but when you’ve knocked about and got that kind of experience, nothing is gonna rattle you. He’s on good form at the moment as well. He’s 17-5-1 in MMA now, unbeaten in his last 8 and the only one he didn’t win was a draw against Ion Cutelaba in a fight that was as hard hitting as it sounds. He’s won 3 on the trot since. Jung will be up for this as well though. He’s 15-2-1 with 13 finishes, 11 by knockout. He sparked Kennedy Nzechukwu with elbows inside a round last time out. And like Jacoby, aside from a draw with Sam Alvey (🤮) he’s won 15 fights in a row. I’d favour Jacoby here but Jung is gonna be confident in his fight ending power and that should make for an explosive clash. Dwight Grant vs Dustin Stoltzfus isn’t grabbing me. Grant’s 37 now and has lost 3 of his last 4. The writing is probably on the wall now really but he’s still capable of having exciting fights now and then. Him and Sergey Khandozhko had an unexpected FOTN back in April but Grant ended up getting TKO’d. Stoltzfus is 13-4 and has got off to a disastrous start in the UFC, going 0-3 right out the gate. The losses were to Kyle Daukaus, Rodolfo Vieira and Gerald Meerschaert so it’s not like he’s been losing to shitehawks. But he’s obviously in desperate need of a win here. Vieira and Our Gez both submitted him as well. I’d say it looks like a ‘loser leaves’ booking but with so many cards to fill, they might stick around years yet. Jessica Penne vs Emily Ducote. Not usually too fussed about Penne’s fights but I’m kind of into this one to see Ducote’s UFC debut. Have barely seen any of her either but she won the Invicta Strawweight strap last August with this killer KO on Danielle Taylor… I did see that. Christ. She successfully defended the belt in May and then the UFC came calling. She’s 28 years old, 11-6 overall and she’s from Jim Ross country, Oklahoma, bah gawd. Penne’s also a former Invicta champ but she’s 39 years old, 14-5 and has been on the shelf nearly a year now. Not a terrible fighter but I’ve never been massively impressed. She is coming off a couple of decent wins over Karolina Kowalkiewicz and short notice Loopy Godinez though. Nothing against Penne but I’d like to see another Ducote highlight reel finish here. Strawweight is the strongest of the women’s divisions for me but it could always do with some new blood. Pushing 40 Penne isn’t it. How good is this card? Little bit of everything on there. Edited July 14, 2022 by wandshogun09 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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