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UFC 281: Adesanya vs Pereira - Nov 12 🇺🇸🗽


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Might as well get this up now. We’re heading back to the Big Apple! Madison Square Garden hosts this beauty…


Israel Adesanya© vs Alex Pereira - Middleweight Title

Carla Esparza© vs Zhang Weili - Strawweight Title 

Dustin Poirier vs Michael Chandler 

Frankie Edgar vs Chris Gutierrez

Dan Hooker vs Claudio Puelles

Brad Riddell vs Renato Moicano

Dominick Reyes vs Ryan Spann

Erin Blanchfield vs Molly McCann

Andre Petroski vs Wellington Turman

Ottman Azaitar vs Matt Frevola

Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs Silvana Gomez Juarez

Mike Trizano vs Seung Woo Choi 

Julio Arce vs Montel Jackson

Carlos Ulberg vs Nicolae Negumereanu  


As usual, that’s not the official bout order. We’re still two months out, which you’ll know is a lifetime when it comes to possible card changes. But we’ll roll with this for now. It’s an absolutely mega card that. One of the best of the year in its current form. 280 is getting all the attention but this one’s sneaking up right behind it and I honestly think it’s just as good.



Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira. They meet again. You know the story. These two are no strangers to each other. From the second Pereira signed with the UFC last year, this felt inevitable as long as they both kept winning. Adesanya is rapidly running out of fresh challengers and is starting to beat some of them twice, so an old nemesis in Pereira coming in now is perfect really. Timing-wise, it couldn’t have lined up much better than it has.


They crossed paths twice during their Kickboxing days. Both fights are on YouTube if you don’t mind not having a clue what the badly dubbed in commentator is saying. I actually watched them for the first time before knocking up this post, to give me a bit of context. They first met in April 2016 in China and Pereira won a close decision. They fought again in March 2017 in Brazil and, I’m sure you’ve seen it by now…



It’s what the whole hype and promotion of this one is gonna be about. Pereira knocked Adesanya out with a big left hook early in the third round. What’s rarely ever brought up though, is that Izzy was winning this fight prior to that and had Pereira wobbly in the second round, to the point the referee administered a standing count. Pereira was in some trouble but managed to rally in the next round and find the money punch. The first fight was close as well. They were both enjoyable fights. Worth a watch if you get chance. But I do feel like the narrative around the whole backstory is a bit misleading. Seems like a lot of people just saw the clip of the KO in the second fight, saw Pereira is 2-0 over Izzy and decided Pereira must’ve steamrolled him. Not the case. I’m not sure how many have actually sat down and watched those fights. What I will say is I felt like it was clear that Pereira was the more powerful of the two. Obviously that paid off in the second bout.

Regardless, here we go again. I was gonna title this thread ‘Adesanya vs Pereira 3’ but of course, it’s MMA. A different sport, a different kettle of fish.


Adesanya’s been the man at 185 for some time now. He’d gone 75-5 in Kickboxing, the knockout loss to Pereira was his last fight in that game. By the end of 2017, he was 11-0 with 11 knockouts in MMA with his most notable win at the time being a first round finish of Melvin Guillard. By early 2018, he was making his UFC debut. He hasn’t looked back. He beat Rob Wilkinson, Marvin Vettori and Brad Tavares in solid but not blow away performances. His breakthrough came in his fourth Octagon appearance where he blitzed Derek Brunson in a round at MSG. From there he won a cool kind of master vs pupil match against Anderson Silva, won the interim title in a FOTY thriller against Kelvin Gastelum and became the undisputed champ by knocking out Robert Whittaker in front of a massive crowd in Melbourne. He looked like an absolute superstar that night and, between that and the war with Gastelum, was quickly becoming one of the most exciting fighters in the sport.


I’ll be honest though, he’s gone off the boil a bit for me. I’m talking purely as a spectator. Obviously he’s still a top tier fighter and a great champion. But he’s not been as fun to watch since he won the belt. Aside from battering Paulo Costa and then humping him, it’s been pretty lacklustre stuff. The Yoel Romero fight was inexplicably bad. Terrible fight. Of course, there was that failed attempt at LHW gold which saw him lose a fairly dull decision to Jan Blachowicz. He then returned to 185 and has successfully defended his title 3 times. A Vettori rematch, a Whittaker rematch and Jared Cannonier. But again, all pretty underwhelming to watch. He’s winning, he’s still champion and he’s getting paid. Can’t criticise him too much. But with him starting to lap the division, we needed an injection of new blood at Middleweight and someone to light a bit of a spark under Adesanya.


Enter Alex ‘Poatan’ Pereira. His nickname means ‘Stone Hands’ from what I can gather. And he’s backed that up from what I’ve seen of him. He went 33-7 with 21 knockouts in Kickboxing, was GLORY’s first two division champion, went 1-0 with a knockout in Boxing and so far he’s 6-1 with 5 knockouts in MMA. He got submitted in his MMA debut back in 2015 but he’s been on a roll since. I was vaguely aware of him switching to MMA but never really saw anything of him until he popped up on a LFA card in 2020 and wrecked poor Thomas Powell in a round.


This got quite a bit of play on social media at the time because of how scary a knockout it was. Powell was reportedly out cold for a good 5 minutes. It was terrifying. Pereira was signed to the UFC following that win. Like I said, the nanosecond it was announced, before the ink was even dry on the contract, all the talk was about whether we’d see him and Izzy tangle again. With the history between them, it was the natural conversation to have. But he’d have to rack up some wins first. I was sceptical, to be honest. I’d seen him putting fuckers to bed a few times in GLORY but with his lack of MMA experience and already being in his mid 30s, I didn’t even think he’d make it to a title shot. He made his Octagon debut last November at UFC 268. In Madison Square Garden on a stacked card. He took on Andreas Michailidis and…


Couldn’t have asked for a better debut. A picture perfect flying knee KO that bagged him a POTN bonus. In March this year he was matched up with Bruno Silva and, honestly, I thought his little run might already be over. Silva’s tough, heavy handed himself and had shown devastating ground and pound in the past. I had a feeling he’d get Pereira down and that’d be that. But Pereira went the full 15 minutes with him, stuffed some takedowns, got that much needed cage time and basically busted Silva up. The matchmakers weren’t fucking about and in July, they chucked Pereira in with Sean Strickland.


This was a step up big time in terms of rankings and it was clear the UFC brass recognised that, with Pereira already 35 years old, time was of the essence. I said it at the time though, I always felt like this was the most winnable fight for Pereira at the top end of the rankings. I still had massive doubts, just because of Strickland’s experience advantage. But compared to other options in the division, it was certainly a more favourable matchup for him than someone like Brunson, Vettori or Hermansson would’ve been. Strickland’s style is mostly standup but he’s always been about volume punching and talking shite. He’s never been known for his power, or defence. And that was the crux of it.


Beautiful. Easily one of the most satisfying knockouts in years watching that prick get ironed out. And it was even sweeter because Strickland had been chatting all kinds of bollocks in the build up, saying he wasn’t impressed with Pereira’s striking and he’d have no problems etc. He got crushed in less than 3 minutes and Pereira banked another POTN bonus. The fact this was on the undercard of Adesanya outpointing Cannonier in their title fight lined up nicely. Usually I’d say it’s too early days for Pereira to be getting a title shot. Less than 10 MMA fights, has only won 3 in the UFC and hasn’t been fully tested against different styles. But fuck it. What’s the alternative? Izzy’s already beat most of the others, some twice. With the Middleweight landscape how it is, and the history between these two, I’m all for it.


“After he beat me in Brazil, I never had any plans of trying to get revenge or anything like that because I don’t hold onto things. I let go of things. The universe has presented this to me and it’s right there. The perfect alley-oop, and I’m going to slam this bitch.” - Israel Adesanya

I love the backstory to this. It’s proper 80’s martial arts movie stuff. The superstar champion who’s been winning and defending his title for years, maybe starting to lose his ‘eye of the tiger’ a little bit. Then a beast from his past comes back to haunt him. Pereira’s perfect for that Clubber Lang/Tong Po role. He looks massive as well. Look at him here next to Dominick Reyes, for example…


“He claims it to be pillow gloves (their previous fights) but now we talk about four once gloves. With the big pillows already making him leave on a stretcher, imagine what’s going to happen with the four ounces?” - Alex Pereira

Very interesting one this. In MMA I think you have to favour Adesanya. He’s been mixing with the best in his weight class for years, has proven himself and reached champion status. But it’s not like his style in MMA is the type you’d expect Pereira to struggle with. It wouldn’t surprise me if Adesanya tries to go the grappling route here. Just because he’s probably better there than Pereira and it’d be less risky than striking with him. But even then, is his offensive grappling better than Pereira’s defensive grappling? While I’m not counting out Izzy trying to throw the odd takedown attempt in there, this is probably playing out on the feet. And who knows what the fuck happens there? Even after watching their first two fights, I’m not confident one way or the other. I don’t think Adesanya will be able to play it safe like he has a bit recently. He’s not gonna shut down a striker like Pereira like he could do to a very basic striker like Cannonier or Vettori. And he mightn’t want to. Izzy might wanna prove a point here. He’s 0-2 down to this guy after all. Or does that make him hesitant? Between MMA, Kickboxing and Boxing, Adesanya has had 110 officially documented pro fights. He’s only been knocked out once and it was that Pereira fight in 2017. That’s a big psychological edge for the Brazilian surely. Really looking forward to this.



Carla Esparza vs Zhang Weili is your co-main event. Not in love with it. Zhang’s fun, it’s the Esparza factor I’m finding off-putting. She’s never been great to watch. In all the years she been around, I think I’ve only enjoyed a couple of her fights. In fairness, she was on a decent little run recently. It bagged her a title shot against Rose Namajunas in May and, despite me never being a fan of Esparza, fair’s fair, I did feel like she deserved that shot.


She beat Rose, won the title and went full-on Tim Sylvia with the thing! The fight itself was total arse though. Bloody awful. Went the whole 5 rounds and neither did anything. From my memory (I’ve tried to block it out), Esparza pretty much won just off a few takedown attempts that didn’t really go anywhere. There was that little happening. It’s got to be the front runner for worst fight of the year so far. Has to be. I can’t think of a worse one. The modern day version of Shamrock vs Severn 2. But we’re stuck with her as champ now unless someone can rip it from her. Hopefully Zhang can get it done.


Zhang’s been one of the most liked and popular fighters in the women’s side of MMA for a bit now. I think that’s why she keeps getting these title shots that she hasn’t really done much to earn. Let’s face it, she’s 1-2 in her last 3 and already lost 2 back-to-back title fights against Rose last year. Granted, the spinning backfist KO against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in their rematch in June was ace, but enough to warrant yet another title shot? I don’t know. People were saying Leon Edwards didn’t deserve a title shot when him and Usman was first announced, people are still saying Islam Makhachev doesn’t deserve his shot. But everyone seems fine with stuff like this. I don’t get it myself but whatever. And at this point, I just want the belt the fuck off Esparza. If Zhang is the woman for the job, count me in! I think it’s kind of an interesting one style-wise actually. As soon as it was announced all I saw was ‘Weili by murder’ and ‘Esparza’s fucked’ type predictions. I hope everyone’s on the money and Zhang wins in spectacular fashion but I don’t really get where the confidence is coming from. It’s not like Zhang is unbeatable or without flaws and, while Esparza is boring, she’s quite effective at what she does and she’s awkward to look good against. And it’s not like we’ve seen Zhang against a bunch of wrestlers in the past. There’s no real track record to base anything on. If she can keep it standing, I think she wins all day. I can’t see her hanging back and doing nothing like Rose did. She’ll bring it. But then does that leave her more vulnerable for the takedown? We’ll see how it goes. Hoping Zhang wins but I’m not as confident about it as most seem to be.



Dustin Poirier vs Michael Chandler is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** and I don’t think that’ll come as a surprise to anyone. Even on a card as stacked as this, how could I choose anything else? Some fights get announced and you just know what you’re getting. We’ve seen so many wars involving these two over the years, throwing them in against each other is only gonna go one way, isn’t it? Sometimes I think I’ll jinx it if I big a fight up like this but with these two, I just don’t think the ingredients for a dud exist. They don’t know any other way to fight.


We haven’t seen Poirier since his title shot against Charles Oliveira in December. It didn’t go his way, he got submitted in the third round but he was doing well before that and was giving Oliveira a rough time early on. He had enough success in that fight to where I wouldn’t count him out of making another run at it. Between the loss to Oliveira and the whole McGregor saga before that, the break has probably been good for him. He’s been in a lot of battles. The epic against Justin Gaethje is still one my favourite fights in Lightweight history. There was the 5 round wars with Max Holloway and Dan Hooker, those two mad scraps against Eddie Alvarez, even the wild Korean Zombie fight at 145. He’s been one of the most consistently awesome fighters to watch forever. Hopefully the near year long layoff has done him good. He’s one of the best at 155. You look back at his record and his only losses in the last 5 years have been to Khabib and Oliveira. And he had his moments in both. He’s ace.


That’s what happened the last time we saw Chandler. Just killed whatever was left of Tony Ferguson’s chin. Probably the KO of the year that as well. It’s up there anyway. Definitely gonna be in the running in the prestigious UKFF Awards in December. I’ve said it before on here but Chandler has turned out to be such a brilliant signing for the UFC. At 36 years old and 2-2 in the UFC, that could sound odd. Unless you watched the fights. So far in the UFC he’s…

• Knocked out Dan Hooker in 2 minutes then cut that promo everyone bummed.

• Went to war with Charles Oliveira, had him in all kinds of bother early but got knocked out. Great fight though.

• FOTY crazy fight with Justin Gaethje at MSG. One of those fights where he lost the decision but really lost nothing.

• That Ferguson knockout.

I mean, whatever they’re paying him, they’re surely looking at it as money well spent. There’s always at least a ‘moment’ when Chandler fights. And this isn’t even touching on his pre-UFC career. The Alvarez fights in Bellator were some of the best in the history of the 155 division. And when you think of the ground that covers and how many incredible fights we’ve seen in that weight class over the years, that’s saying a lot! Whatever Dana and co signed him for, it was a bargain. And I’m not even really a fan of Chandler out of the cage. I don’t hate him or anything, just find him a bit of a cheeseball. But you can’t not be a fan of the way he fights.

There’s apparently a bit of needle between these two as well. Nothing major but they got into a little bit of a confrontation cageside at UFC 276 in July. Something of nothing really. The fight wasn’t even booked at that time and Poirier was on about that Nate Diaz fight that never materialised. This is the one though. Either against Nate would’ve been fun but Poirier vs Chandler pisses all over any of that for me. I’m hoping Poirier wins just because I’m more of a fan of his and I’d like to see him get back in the mix. I think he does win as well. As exciting as Chandler is, I’m not sure how long he’s got left or how much is left in the tank. I think Poirier is just a level slightly above but you know Chandler is gonna be game as ever and it should be mayhem however long it goes.



Frankie Edgar vs Chris Gutierrez. Here we go then. This is supposed to be Edgar’s retirement fight but you know how that story usually goes. We’ll see if it sticks. Hopefully it does, regardless of the result here, because it’s been time for a while now.


One of the best ever when it comes to the lighter weight classes. I think a lot of newer fans don’t realise that and even a lot of older fans seem to have forgot. It’s been said a few times over the years but he probably should’ve been a Bantamweight his whole career. Yet he won UFC gold two divisions above that at Lightweight and had a very respectable run at Featherweight as well, going a total 10 rounds with Jose Aldo and even running him pretty close in the first fight. That was prime Aldo as well. There was a time when I honestly thought Frankie might be the man to become the first 3 weight UFC champ but it wasn’t to be. What a career though. Nailed on Hall Of Famer when he does officially call it a day. The Gray Maynard wars alone would warrant his induction but then you add in wins over BJ Penn x3, Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes, Cub Swanson x2, Sean Sherk, Charles Oliveira, that killer fight with Tyson Griffin and, even when people were starting to see him as past his best, he utterly schooled Yair Rodriguez in 2017. He was the bollocks. Everything comes to an end though.


That’s the last time we saw Frankie 😢 Chito Vera kicking his face off at Madison Square Garden last November. A year later, he returns to the scene of the crime for some redemption and, I hope, closure to his career. It’s been coming for a while. He’ll be 41 by the time he steps into the Octagon here. A fantastic innings for a lighter weight fighter, especially when you consider the kind of level he’s been competing at for the bulk of his career. But over the last few years that once iron chin has been going. Before 2018, he’d never been finished and the Maynard fights had earned him a reputation for his toughness and heart to the point he was thought to be almost unfinishable. But like anything else, there’s a limit to durability and, in 2018, Brian Ortega became the first man to knock Edgar out. Since then, the Korean Zombie, Cory Sandhagen and Chito have stopped him in brutal fashion. The knee from Sandhagen was particularly horrific. He actually looked decent against Chito from what I remember, until that kick and then…he didn’t. That’s the thing. Frankie’s still in great shape, still trains like a demon, still moves well, still looks faster and sharper than your average 41 year old veteran. But the punch resistance just isn’t there anymore and that’s a slippery slope. Hopefully this is it whatever happens. Gutierrez is nothing special really. It does feel like they’ve tried to at least give Frankie a matchup he has a reasonable shot of winning. He deserves that. But I don’t know.


That’s how Gutierrez ended his last fight against Danaa Batgerel. Admittedly he’s been facing a much lower level of opposition and this is a considerable step down for the former champ. But Gutierrez is dangerous, he’s a decade younger, he’s 18-4-2 and 8 of his 9 finishes were by knockout or TKO. Purely on skills, Frankie should absolutely be winning this. But the old saying is ‘you can’t go in the rain without getting wet’, at some point he’s gonna get tagged isn’t he? I don’t have any confidence that he can stand up to it anymore. I’d love nothing more than to see him go out on a win though.



Dan Hooker vs Claudio Puelles is an interesting one. When it was announced I saw a load of ‘who?’ responses aimed at Puelles. But he’s been looking like a bit of a darkhorse for a bit now and this is his big step up. Nothing wrong with it. And you have to take into account, Hooker is in desperation mode at this point. He’s lost 4 of his last 5 now and was stopped in 3 of them. He’s taken on all comers but results haven’t worked out for him. Looking back, I really think that war with Poirier in 2020 might’ve fucked him. Straight after that he got sat down quick by Chandler, since then Makhachev ran through him and then he dropped to 145 and got hammered by Arnold Allen in 2 minutes. He’s back at 155 for this. It’s not looking good though. I’m sure a lot of people will be picking him to get back in the win column here because he’s the more well known and has obviously mixed at a higher level, but I don’t know. Puelles is gonna see this as his big chance to break through and he’s looked a bit of a problem so far.


That’s him catching Clay Guida with a sweet kneebar back in April. Only took him 3 minutes. He’s a bit of a kneebar specialist. He’s got 4 kneebar finishes on his record now, 3 in the UFC. He’s Peruvian, still only 26 years old and he’s 12-2 with 9 finishes. Mostly submissions. I like this matchup. We don’t know how good Puelles is yet so on paper it’s a step up for him and probably a much needed step down for Hooker. If Hooker can keep it a striking match he should do well but I really think this could be a tricky one.



Brad Riddell vs Renato Moicano is a cracking little under the radar fight that I didn’t know was booked until now. Really like the sound of this. Riddell made a fan out of me straight away in his UFC debut with that crazy scrap against Jamie Mullarkey. If you haven’t watched it, get it watched. He also won a belting fight against Drew Dober last June. He’s fallen on hard times lately though. He got stopped by Rafael Fiziev and his spinning wheel kick in December. Then in July, Jalin Turner guillotined him in 45 seconds, which was a bit of a shocker. Hopefully he can get back on track here and at least make a fight of it. Moicano’s had a rough go of it himself. He hit a nice little patch with a couple of submission wins over Jai Herbert and Alexander Hernandez, but got absolutely battered to a pulp by RDA in his last fight in March. It was a short notice switch up so no shame there, but he took a right beating in that one. Not sure a dogfight with Riddell is a good idea coming off that.



Dominick Reyes vs Ryan Spann. Look who’s back! We haven’t seen Reyes since Jiri Prochazka wiped him out with that spinning elbow last May. So it’ll have been 18 months on the shelf for him by the time this fight rolls around. To be honest though, he probably needed some time off after a knockout like that. It was a bad one. And he’d been stopped by Jan Blachowicz in his fight before that as well. It’s mad how quickly things can turn. At the start of 2020 Reyes was riding high. He was undefeated and about to get a title shot.


He came up short against Jon Jones but many felt like he won that fight and should’ve got the decision. So his stock really didn’t take a big hit. If he could’ve gotten an immediate rematch with Jones back then, and there was some talk of it, who knows how his career trajectory would’ve gone. Instead he got his brain scrambled by Jan and Jiri and fell right off the grid. Hopefully he’s coming back refreshed here. 205 could do with all the players it can get. Spann isn’t an easy comeback fight for him but also not a ridiculous or insurmountable one either. He’s 20-7 and submitted Ion Cutelaba quickly in May. He’s hit and miss though. I never really know what to make of him. Looking at who he’s lost to in recent years - Anthony Smith and Johnny Walker - you’d think someone like Reyes shouldn’t have too much trouble with him. But after a big spell of inactivity and coming off 3 losses and a couple of knockouts, all bets are off really. Who knows how he’ll look?



Erin Blanchfield vs Molly McCann then. I like the sound of this actually. After years of mediocrity and dull decisions in the UFC, something has happened to ‘Meatball’ Molly this year. She’s fought twice this year, on the London cards in March and July, and she’s suddenly developed a finishing move.


I don’t know where it came from. Before this, she’d never finished anyone in the UFC. In just two fights, she’s got fans talking about her and Porky Paddy headlining cards and shit. I’ve said my piece on that, it’s all a bit silly for me but whatever. You have to take into account the level of opposition. And that’s been my only criticism. While those back-to-back ‘spinning shit’ finishes were cool, Luana Carolina and Hannah Goldy are absolute bottom rung level in the division. This is a different thing entirely because Blanchfield is supposed to be a bit of a prospect. She’s only 23 and she’s 9-1, on a 6 fight winning streak and the only loss was a split decision against Tracy Cortez in 2019. Blanchfield would’ve only been 19 at the time of that fight. She’s already beat Miranda Maverick (who I think is decent), TUF finalist Brogan Walker and subbed JJ Aldrich last time out. She’s a BJJ black-belt and meant to be a really strong grappler. If Molly beats her, it’ll be a legit win because Blanchfield is a real opponent.



Andre Petroski vs Wellington Turman. Not too fussed, although I quite like what I’ve seen of Petroski so far. He’s 8-1, all finishes, and lost in the semi finals of TUF last summer against Bryan Battle. Since then though, he’s gone 3-0 in the UFC. TKO’d Micheal Gillmore, subbed Hu Yaozong and choked Nick Maximov out with an anaconda in about a minute in his last fight in May.



That was a bit of an eye opener for a lot of people because I think there were decent expectations on Maximov and he was known for his ground game. Petroski catching him in a choke like that was pretty impressive. Turman does nothing for me though. Just never particularly rated him. He submitted Misha Cirkunov in February and got a massive split decision win over Sam Alvey before that! Just never been into watching him though. Hopefully another finish for Petroski.



Ottman Azaitar vs Matt Frevola. That picture of Frevola! I love this fight. Should be a lot of fun. We haven’t seen Azaitar for ages now but he’s someone I’ve been interested in since he first burst into the Octagon. He’s Moroccan-German, 32 years old and undefeated at 13-0 with 12 coming inside the distance. Made his UFC debut way back in 2019 and did this…


Just walloped Teemu Packalen in a round. Quite a first impression! Packalen hasn’t fought since. Azaitar followed that up with another quick knockout over Khama Worthy in 2020 and that’s been it. He’s been inactive ever since. He was actually supposed to fight Frevola in early 2021 on the undercard of Poirier vs McGregor 2 but things got weird.


Potatoes!! 🤣

Thankfully, they kept Azaitar around but what a strange situation. Fuck knows what was really in that bag but I doubt it was some Maris Piper. Last I heard, Azaitar was linked to a fight with Paddy Pimblett on that London card in July but obviously nothing came of that. Hopefully this fight goes off without any controversy. Frevola probably saved his job last time out. He’d lost to Arman Tsarukyan, got knocked out in 7 seconds by Terrance McKinney, then in January they threw him in with newcomer Genaro Valdez, who was 10-0 with 10 finishes. It really felt like they were pushing Frevola out the door and feeding him to their new Mexican signing. But Frevola went out there like a man possessed and put Valdez away in a 3 minute barnburner. This should be good.



Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs Silvana Gomez Juarez isn’t setting any title picture alight but I can’t see it being boring. Big fan of Kowalkiewicz. Seems lovely and I don’t think there was a MMA fan alive who wasn’t happy to see her finally snap that losing streak and submit Felice Herrig in June.


She’d gone from being a top contender and beating Rose Namajunas a few years ago to having a nightmare few years before that Herrig fight. 5 losses on the bounce, injuries, layoffs, the lot. And then Herrig being a twat before the fight and refusing to shake hands at the weigh in, I think everyone was rooting for Karolina. Her winning and sending Herrig into retirement was genuinely one of my favourite feel-good moments this year. Unfortunately, I can see it all going horribly wrong for her here.


That’s Juarez knocking poor Liang Na into another dimension at UFC 275 in June. Juarez is far from a world beater herself and if we were talking about Kowalkiewicz at her best, I’d be picking her all day. But I’m still not convinced on Karolina’s comeback. The Herrig win was nice but a lot of it was probably just Herrig being on her last legs as well. Juarez isn’t the worst style matchup for Kowalkiewicz. She’s shown weakness in the grappling and I could see Kowalkiewicz exploiting that. But Juarez is also a heavy hitter and I’ve just got no confidence in Karolina’s durability anymore. Pretty much a 50/50 but I’ve got a bad feeling Kowalkiewicz is getting sparked here.



Mike Trizano vs Seung Woo Choi. Nothing special but not bad. I wouldn’t usually give a bollocks about Trizano’s fights but he had a right corker with Lucas Almeida in June. He lost but it was a proper unexpected gem. So for that, I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt here and I’ll most likely watch this fight. He actually won TUF a while back as well, I always forget that. Mad how little that means now. I could still probably rattle off the names of all the TUF winners from the first 10 seasons but everything after about 2009, I’ve got no chance. This might be alright though. I vaguely recall Choi being OK to watch as well. He’s 10-5 and coming off a couple of losses. Pure filler but it might be decent.



Julio Arce vs Montel Jackson is actually a really fun one for the prelims. Neither are ever gonna make waves, Bantamweight is better than it’s ever been and these two just aren’t cutting it past a certain level. But they’re good fighters and usually pretty consistent when it comes to being entertaining to watch. I’m a fan of Arce (matron!). He’s 18-5 with 10 finishes and has had some good fights on undercards over the years and has shown flashes of potential at times but it hasn’t really gone anywhere for whatever reason. The highlights of his UFC career have been his decision win over Dan Ige in 2018 and his beautiful headkick knockout against Julian Erosa in 2019…


That finish is ageing better with every Erosa win. I’m not as familiar with Jackson but similarly, he’s had his moments. He’s 11-2 with 7 finishes, has won 5 of his last 6 with the only loss being a decision against Brett Johns a couple of years ago. He’s beat Jesse Strader and JP Buys in his last two. I favour Arce (behave) here but it’s a bit of a coin flip really. I’m expecting a fun standup battle.



Carlos Ulberg vs Nicolae Negumereanu. Serious firework potential here. New Zealand’s Ulberg came in with a bit of buzz after scoring a big knockout on DWCS in late 2020. He’s also a member of City Kickboxing so he’s got connections, has a 19-2 Kickboxing record etc. I remember some excitement surrounding his UFC debut. It didn’t pan out though. He took on Kennedy Nzechukwu at UFC 259 last March and he was giving him a hiding for a round or so until Nzechukwu rallied for the big comeback KO. Obviously not ideal and briefly derailed Ulberg but he rebounded nicely with a points win over Fabio Cherant and a quick TKO over Tafon Nchukwi in his last fight in June. Back on track. Negumereanu is Romanian, 13-1 with 11 finishes and is currently riding a 4 fight winning streak. Nothing earth shattering on his record but he looked good beating up Ihor Potieria at UFC 277 in July. The fact he has a loss to shitehawk Saparbek Safarov on his record is something I can’t shake though.


That’s 281! 🔥🔥🔥


Edited by wandshogun09
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This has been added. Supposedly Frankie’s farewell fight.

I’ve added a bit about it to the opening post. Bout order still isn’t confirmed yet but I’ve stuck it as the main card opener for now. Frankie should go out on a main card fight really, shouldn’t he? Ideally, I was hoping they’d book Edgar vs Dominick Cruz for Edgar’s swansong. That would’ve been a fitting fight to end on, maybe for both guys actually. But I’m guessing Cruz is taking time out after that Chito knockout and maybe Frankie didn’t wanna wait. Makes sense for his last fight to be at MSG anyway with it being so close to his neck of the woods in New Jersey. It’s definitely a winnable fight but I don’t know anymore. Frankie‘s in that Tony Ferguson phase of his career where I just have no faith in him being able to stand up to a clean shot anymore. 

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It's not getting much love because it's coming off the worst title fight in UFC history, but does anyone give Esparza a shot against Zhang? I've written of Esparza many times, but i'm failing to see what she can do here to win. It feels like this is a 115lb pallet cleanser, and it'll rid Esparza from the title position which is a bit unfair but she's hardly endeared herself to the fans. 

...watch Esparza win in a fight of the night classic.

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Great write up! After getting the Makhavev and OMalley fights completley wrong in the predictions last month, Im not going to say the same thing about Pereira not being on Izzy's level, and Izzy being a different class. I do think Izzy should win this though. Hes a 1/2 favourate, which seems about right. Izzy has enough fight IQ to stay out of harms way for most of the fight, I think, and outpoint Pereira for the win.

How amazing will Poirier/Chandler be? Aside from Gaethje, these are two of my favourate fighters. Physically impossible to be a bad fight.I assume the winner gets a title shot too. A massive shame its only three rounds.

Two and a half years ago, Reyes could have been the undefeated LHW Champ, and the first man to beat Jon Jones, and been a legend of the sport. Instead, that decision went the other way, he lost his next two, and is a complete afterthought, not just on this card, but in the sport too. It can be an amazingly cruel sport, thats for sure.

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It’s mad but Poirier vs Chandler really is one of those fights where it feels safe to predict as a FOTY contender before it even happens. Usually you’d think you’re jinxing a fight by putting that out there but it’s hard to see how those two can produce a fight that’s anything less than complete and utter mayhem. Very much like Gaethje vs Chandler on last year’s MSG card. It just feels like you just know how it’s gonna look. 

On 11/11/2022 at 7:21 AM, Egg Shen said:

It's not getting much love because it's coming off the worst title fight in UFC history, but does anyone give Esparza a shot against Zhang? I've written of Esparza many times, but i'm failing to see what she can do here to win. It feels like this is a 115lb pallet cleanser, and it'll rid Esparza from the title position which is a bit unfair but she's hardly endeared herself to the fans. 

...watch Esparza win in a fight of the night classic.

I’m seeing tons of this like Esparza has no shot but I don’t know. I’m a Zhang fan and I’ve never liked Esparza so obviously I hope everyone’s right. But I don’t really know what the pretty much unanimous overwhelming confidence in Zhang winning is based on. Esparza is surely gonna be looking to wrestle and we really haven’t seen much of Zhang against wrestlers. And I seem to remember Rose getting takedowns on her in their second fight and Rose is hardly a takedown specialist. If it stays on the feet then yeah, Zhang smokes her. I think that’s what people must be pinning their hopes on. Seems like everyone’s expecting Esparza to do what she did in that awful fight with Rose. Basically just stand there and do fuck all. If she tries that shite tonight she’s getting cooked. But the vast majority of her fights are wrestling heavy and I just haven’t seen enough of Zhang’s defensive wrestling to give me confidence. If she doesn’t get Esparza out of there early I just have this horrible feeling that she’s gonna get stifled to a points loss with lots of time spent with her back either against the cage or on the mat. We’ll see. I hope Zhang wins. Even though I still don’t think she deserved another title shot just yet. I just wanna see that belt off Esparza by any means necessary! 

12 hours ago, Dai said:

How amazing will Poirier/Chandler be? Aside from Gaethje, these are two of my favourate fighters. Physically impossible to be a bad fight.I assume the winner gets a title shot too. 

They might be waiting a while for a title shot though. I don’t know if the plan is still to do Makhachev vs Volkanovski but if it is, that’s probably not happening until the Perth card in February. Winner of that probably won’t fight again until, my guess would be the big July PPV. I suppose that’s not too long a wait for the winner of Poirier vs Chandler to wait actually. I hope they don’t get the next title shot though. Fuck’s sake. People were banging on that Makhachev hadn’t earned his shot but these fuckers just keep getting title shots, losing then winning one or two fights and getting another one. I know he’s not the ‘name’ these two are but I’d like to see Beneil Dariush get the next crack at Makhachev if the Volk fight doesn’t happen. No doubt it’ll be Poirier or Chandler though. 

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