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UFC Vegas: Andrade vs Blanchfield - Feb 18 🇺🇸


wandshogun09

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After that red hot rabid crowd in Perth, we’re back at the cold, empty, lifeless, soulless Apex for this bag of wank…

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ESPN MAIN CARD 
Jessica Andrade vs Erin Blanchfield 

Jordan Wright vs Zac Pauga 

Josh Parisian vs Jamal Pogues

William Knight vs Marcin Prachnio 

Jim Miller vs Alexander Hernandez 

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS 
Nazim Sadykhov vs Evan Elder

Lina Lansberg vs Mayra Bueno Silva 

Jamall Emmers vs Khusein Askhabov 

Ovince Saint Preux vs Philipe Lins 

Themba Gorimbo vs AJ Fletcher 

Juancamilo Ronderos vs Clayton Carpenter 

 

No defending this card. Main event is good and Jim Miller is always worth tuning in for. Not much else to work with. Even by rock bottom Apex standards, this is weak as piss there’s no getting away from it.

 

 

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Jessica Andrade vs Erin Blanchfield headlines. It was supposed to be Blanchfield against Taila Santos, which I was really looking forward to, but Santos has dropped out just a week out from the fight and here we are. As replacements go, they couldn’t really have done better than this. It actually might be a better fight, to be honest. Although I think the Santos fight felt more like a true title eliminator because she ran Shevchenko close last time out. Regardless, I’m into this. The women’s main events often get shat on but this one really doesn’t deserve to. It’s a cracking fight.

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I’ve made no secret that I’m a big fan of Andrade. She might just be my favourite female fighter in the sport these days. The knock on women’s MMA is often that they lack power, they sometimes lack aggression and a lot of the fights tend to fall into a pattern where it resembles a 50% sparring session. Basically there’s no danger or feeling that there’s consequences to anything. A lot of times you know it’s going the distance before it even starts and little of note happens bell to bell. None of that with Andrade. She’s trying to end fights and do damage the whole time. And she’s always been the same. She’s like an old school Chute Boxe fighter. And it’s mostly worked out well for her. Former UFC champion, maybe the most exciting woman fighter on the roster and you look back over the last 6 or 7 years of her career and the only losses came against Shevchenko, Namajunas, Zhang and prime Jedrzejczyk. Aside from that, she’s been smashing the opposition to bits. Who can forget that horrifying slam she knocked out Rose with in their first fight to win the title? Or the big haymaker she sparked Karolina Kowalkiewicz with? Or the body shot she folded that dullard Chookagian with? She’s ace. She’s on a 3 fight win streak now and coming off giving Lauren Murphy an absolute pasting on the Brazil card in January. So this is a fairly quick turnaround, on short notice AND on paper it’s a potentially tricky style for her to deal with. Got to hand it to Andrade for stepping up here.

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Blanchfield is a bit of a mystery at this stage. So far she’s been seen as nothing more than a strong prospect. She’s only 23 years old and she’s a BJJ black-belt. Not sure if that speaks to her being some grappling prodigy or the fact that black-belts get handed out willy nilly in some places. But from what we’ve seen so far, she can definitely grapple. Apparently she started BJJ at just 7 years old though, so assuming she’s stuck with it consistently, she’s already clocked in 16 years on the mats at just 23! Her Wiki page says she decided to become a pro fighter at 12 years old, she made her MMA debut at 18 and the rest is history. She’s 10-1 now with 5 finishes. Her early fights were all in the Cage Fury and Invicta promotions and the only loss was a split decision back in 2019 against current UFC Flyweight Tracy Cortez. Blanchfield would’ve only been 19 at the time and I’ve read a couple of times that she was unlucky to not get the decision that night. So maybe there’s a case that she should still be undefeated. Whatever, she made it to the UFC in 2021 and racked up wins over Sarah Alpar, Miranda Maverick and JJ Aldrich. Nothing special, although Maverick’s looked decent at times from what I’ve seen. Then in November last year, she got her first proper taste of the spotlight.

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She was matched up with popular (for some reason) gobshite Molly McCann and put on the undercard of the big UFC 281 card at Madison Square Garden. McCann was at her most arrogant here, coming off a couple of flashy spinning elbow knockouts in her previous two fights. I don’t know whether the UFC underestimated Blanchfield or overestimated McCann or what but I think most people saw this as a bad matchup for the ‘Meatball’ from the moment it was announced. And sure enough…

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Blanchfield pissed through her in a round. Easy money. Ended the silly hype train that was growing and temporarily silenced the crowd who was booing her going in. Sweet. Instantly made me a fan. The win itself didn’t tell us much because it’s not like Molly was ever the best on the ground. But I liked how Blanchfield handled the whole thing. A lot of fighters at 23 would’ve been swallowed up by the experience of being on a card like that, at MSG, and being booed to fuck despite being from next door in New Jersey herself. She was cool as a cucumber though. This is a different kind of test. Andrade is no Meatball Molly. She’s got the experience, she’s headlined before, she’s been champ, she’s mixed at a much higher level, she’s better on the ground than Molly and definitely more dangerous on the feet. It’s gonna be very interesting to see how Blanchfield tackles this one. Especially given the late opponent switch. I said Andrade deserved praise for stepping up but Blanchfield should get just as much credit for accepting this switch a week out. It’s hardly ideal for your first main event but a win would be massive for her. I’m not sure she’s ready for this just yet, it kind of feels like she’s skipped a level, but either way we’ll find out soon enough.

 

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Jordan Wright vs Zac Pauga co-main event? I ask you! I know it’s only the Apex but Jesus wept. Wright’s never really in boring fights, to be fair. One of the more unassuming looking scrappers in the game. But even still, it’s just not happening for him. He’s lost his last 3 fights and was finished in all of them. The last one against Dusko Todorovic was a fun brawl that got FOTN but still, he ended up horizontal. A fourth L here would surely get him his walking papers? And Pauga, he’s 5-1 and was on TUF last year. Only time I saw him was the TUF finals where he got knocked out with a jab or something by Kamaru Usman’s big little bro. It’s a Fight Pass prelim dressed up as a co-main event. Maybe the bout order will change before next week.

 

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Josh Parisian vs Jamal Pogues. Yeah. Got to get the Heavyweight slugs on the main card no matter what! Barely remember Parisian but even my vague memories aren’t exactly good. He’s 15-5 and inconsistent as fuck. Beat Roque Martinez and Alan Baudot. Lost to Parker Porter and Don’Tale Mayes. Just to give you an idea the kind of level he’s on. No wonder Francis Ngannou scurried off to Boxing with this beast waiting in the wings! Never seen this Pogues chap but he’s 9-3 with 5 finishes and has fought in LFA and on DWCS most recently. The dregs.

 

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William Knight vs Marcin Prachnio is another fight that’s doing sod all for me. Knight is one of those guys, like Cheick Kongo or Misha Cirkunov, who if you were making a Rocky style movie on MMA, he’d be your monster Ivan Drago or Clubber Lang type villain. He just looks cartoonishly incredible. A real life Hasbro. But once the cage door closes…well I can’t even remember what happens when the cage door closes. That’s the problem. He’s fought 6 times in the UFC now, been on the roster since 2020, I would’ve watched most (if not all) of those 6 fights, and I can honestly say I remember nothing of any of it. All show and no go. Prachnio’s 15-6 and coming off a points loss to Philipe Lins. Well I say he’s “coming off” that loss but that was last April so he’s been inactive for the best part of a year since. Christ. There’s nothing to work with here. Somehow Prachnio does have a win over Khalil Rountree, which again I don’t remember at all. But Rountree’s wildly inconsistent so I’m dismissing that as one of his off nights. Cack.

 

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Jim Miller vs Alexander Hernandez is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** here. Finally a fight outside the main event that’s worth a shit! You can always rely on Miller. He was originally paired up with Gabriel Benitez on this card but Benitez withdrew and honestly this might be an improvement. Really like this fight. The fight itself plus the fact I’m a big fan of Miller and I don’t like Hernandez means there’s a clear babyface vs heel divide and some added investment. Hernandez is one of those guys where you never know which version of him is gonna show up. He actually knocked out Beneil Dariush in 2018 but has fizzled out massively the last few years. He’s been finished in his last two fights so I’m hoping Miller hands him a third here. Hernandez has always seemed like a bit of a prick with delusions of grandeur to me. Balls to him.

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The man. Always liked Jim Miller. Made his Octagon debut all the way back at UFC 89 in 2008. That was in Birmingham and I was there. He’s had a really solid career and had some great moments in his time. The two that immediately jump out being his kneebar submission over Charles Oliveira in their first fight in 2010 and his bloodbath against Joe Lauzon in 2012. One of my favourite fights in Lightweight history. This’ll be his 53rd MMA fight and he’s 39 years old now. It’s clearly winding down but I hope he can hang on a little bit longer. He’s mentioned a few times that his goal is to fight at UFC 300. That should be around spring/summer 2024 so it’s doable. It would be so cool if he went down as the only man to fight at UFCs 100, 200 and 300! And I know he’s getting a bit long in the tooth but he’s coming off 3 wins and 3 finishes so who are we to doubt El Dandy?

 

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Nazim Sadykhov vs Evan Elder doesn’t sound bad actually. Sadykhov’s UFC debut. He’s a Ray Longo fighter out of New York, 28 years old with a record of 7-1 and 6 finishes. His only loss was his pro debut back in 2018, since then he’s been on a bit of a tear.

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That’s how his last fight ended. A third round KO on DWCS in August. I haven’t seen a full fight of his yet but he’s a Longo guy so I’ll probably end up rooting for him. What I like looking at his record so far is he’s got early finishes and late finishes. So he’s not just a fast starter who falls to bits if the other guy doesn’t go away early. He seems the type who’s dangerous in the first minute of the fight and the final minute of the fight. Early days and plenty of tests to come and questions to answer, but he stands out on this card especially as someone worth giving a look. Can’t remember Elder but he’s also 7-1 with 5 finishes. He dropped a decision against Preston Parsons in his UFC debut last April. According to Sherdog he fights out of the Nick Diaz academy. So Longo vs Diaz!

 

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Lina Lansberg vs Mayra Bueno Silva. Yawn. Nothing to see here. I actually like Lansberg, she seems nice, but unfortunately a nice personality doesn’t make fights more enjoyable. To be fair, she’s put a lot of miles on her body. Looking her up, she apparently had 48 Kickboxing fights before she got into MMA. And the UFC fed her straight to Cyborg in her debut! She’ll be 41 years old in March and only recently came back after having a baby. Fair play to her for that. Must’ve been insanely tough. But sadly for her, it looks like the ship has sailed. She’s lost twice since coming back and she’s now 0-3 in her last 3. Silva should be winning this. She’s about a decade younger, has taken way less damage and she’s been active. She’s no great shakes but she’s coming off a couple of wins and she’s got decent submissions. You know what this is. They’re setting Lansberg up for the chop by the looks of it. Matching an ageing striker on a losing streak against a younger submission grappler coming off wins…it’s a cold business.

 

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Jamall Emmers vs Khusein Askhabov should be worth checking out actually. I’m a bit hazy on Emmers. He hasn’t fought since 2021 and he got subbed by a heel hook by Pat Sabatini in that one. He did take Giga Chikadze to a split decision in 2020 though. I know I saw that fight but I can’t remember it. He also has a points win over Cory Sandhagen on a LFA card in 2017. He beat Alexander Hernandez way back in 2013 as well. So there’s something there. He’s no bum. That layoff could be an issue though. It’s Askhabov who’s drawn my interest here though.

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This’ll be his UFC debut. He signed a while back and was supposed to debut over the summer I think, but it’s been delayed until now. He’s 28 years old, undefeated at 23-0 with 16 wins inside the distance. Depending on where you read, he’s either a serious prospect or a fraud with a padded record. Whatever the case, we should get some answers soon. Even this fight, just the fact Emmers has clocked 30 minutes of cage time against Chikadze and Sandhagen means he should make for a good litmus test for the newcomer. I remember reading that his twin brother Khasan signed with Bellator around the same time Khusein signed with the UFC but looking at his record he hasn’t debuted yet and he’s been inactive since 2020. Intrigued by this one. I don’t recognise the names he’s fought so far but it’s always interesting when you get an unbeaten guy like this come in.

 

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Ovince Saint Preux vs Philipe Lins. Not arsed. I feel like I’ve previewed this fight at least 3 times before. I wasn’t up for it then and nothing’s changed. What a fall for OSP though. It doesn’t seem that long ago he was actually main eventing a PPV against Jon Jones. I mean, granted it was a weak headliner and one of Jones’ worst fights but still. To go from there to not even being deemed worthy of a main card spot on a lineup like this? I quite like him as well. He’s grown on me over the years. I used to enjoy seeing him bust out the old Von Saint Preux chokes and I definitely loved it that time when he headkicked Corey Anderson into crumbs. Him knocking out Shogun in Brazil can fuck off though. He had some solid wins back then looking back. It’s done now though and has been for a while. He’s only fought once a year the last 3 years and he’s gone 1-2 in that time. And even the win was a split decision over last legs Shogun that many thought he lost. It’s over. He’s coming up on 40 years old, he’s had 40-odd fights and he hasn’t looked good in years. Perfect for an Apex card! And Lins is just completely nondescript and forgettable in every way. He’s 37 and hasn’t fought in nearly a year. His career highlights include getting knocked out by Vadim Nemkov in Bellator and losing a decision to Andrei Arlovski in the UFC. Pulling for OSP but they should both probably pack it in soon.

 

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Themba Gorimbo vs AJ Fletcher. Don’t know. Never seen Gorimbo before. He’s South African, 32 years old and 10-3 with 7 finishes. Most of his fights have been in the EFC promotion, which I think is the main fed in Africa, and his last couple were for UAE Warriors and Fury FC. Don’t know any of the opponents on his record but I see he submitted the magnificently named Chimmy Van Winkel in 2013! Fletcher’s 9-2 with 8 finishes. He’s 0-2 in the UFC so far but I remember being pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable his last fight against Ange Loosa was. That was on the Usman vs Edwards card in August so understandably nobody was talking about the mighty Fletcher vs Loosa prelim. I’d never seen either before but it was a fun scrap.

 

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Juancamilo Ronderos vs Clayton Carpenter is your curtain jerker on a card full of fights that could’ve fit right into this spot. Ronderos is Colombian, turns 28 the day before this fight and is 4-1 so far in his MMA career. Got subbed in a round by David Dvorak in his UFC debut in 2021 and hasn’t been seen since. Carpenter makes his first Octagon appearance here. 26 years old and unbeaten so far at 6-0 and 4 finishes. He’s coming off a points victory on DWCS in August. Not familiar with these two at all but it’s Flyweight so they’ll probably bring it.

 

And that’s it. Seriously, Apex or not, offering a card like this up in 2023…

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Edited by wandshogun09
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Caught a lot of this last night in the end. As poor as the card looked, the 9pm start time for the prelims was convenient so I whacked Fight Pass on in the background. Ended up staying up for a good chunk of the main card as well but there was a point where I had to tap out. Thanks William Knight. Just caught up on the rest this morning.

Erin Blanchfield put herself on the map big time last night.

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What a statement she made with this. I know Andrade was coming in on late notice but that kind of goes both ways. Blanchfield had been preparing for Taila Santos and then with about a week to go, gets a completely different style of opponent in Andrade chucked at her. Andrade was probably actually more dangerous than Santos as well. Blanchfield just breezed straight through her. She looked great here. I was about 50/50 on it from the time the fight was made. In the end I settled on Andrade stopping her by TKO. I felt like we just hadn’t seen enough of Blanchfield for me to pick her over a proven fighter and former champion like Andrade. And while Blanchfield had looked good before this, her best wins were Molly McCann and Miranda Maverick. Short notice or not, this was a massive step up. Especially adding in the extra pressure of it being Blanchfield’s first UFC main event, first 5 rounder etc. Then I looked at a few of Blanchfield’s pre-UFC clips and her standup looked crap so that further convinced me she was losing this one. That was wrong though because she’s clearly put the hours in and improved a lot since then. That was the big shocker in this fight for me. Not that she got the submission, that was always a possible outcome given her grappling game. But her striking surprised me here. I’m guessing it surprised Andrade as well. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not gonna confuse her with prime Joanna Jedrzejczyk but she looked way better on the feet than I expected, actually got the better of the striking and just overwhelmed Andrade in a way she doesn’t usually get overwhelmed. Very impressed and if she keeps improving at the rate she has been, I genuinely think she could be a really interesting challenge for the champ.

Of course, I review these cards backwards from last to first, main event down to the prelims. So this is all back to front but after the really entertaining back-to-back fights of Sadykhov vs Elder and Hernandez vs Miller lower down the card, we got punished with 3 straight absolute rotters in Prachnio vs Knight, Pogues vs Parisian and Pauga vs Wright. 

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Just abysmal stuff and I was skimming. Can only imagine how awful they were watching in full. From what I saw, William Knight’s “performance”, if you can even call it that, was the worst. That’s the point where I just gave up and went to bed. 

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Fucking embarrassing shit from him and I actually hope they release him. I’ve been saying for a while that he’s all look and no substance but this took the piss. He did fuck all but pose and pull faces the whole fight, moaning at the leg kicks he had no answer for and just generally looking like he had no business in there. If they do keep him on, I won’t be watching any his fights. Woeful. These 3 fights in the middle of the card man. Jesus Christ. You could torture criminals into confessing to all sorts with a tape of this shite.

Alexander Hernandez vs Jim Miller was a really good scrap. Typical Miller barnburner. Love the bloke. Shame about the result here though. Thought the scorecards were harsh on Miller myself but maybe that’s just bias because I’m a big fan of his and I don’t like Hernandez. Whatever.

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The couple of 30-27s for Hernandez were bullshit though, I thought. I didn’t have an issue with Hernandez getting the decision, I felt like it was close and could’ve gone either way. But 30-27 was off. No way he won the first round, that was definitely Miller’s, in my opinion. Regardless, I hope Miller can still hang on for UFC 300 next year. Based on this, I think he’s got a few fights left in him.

Really enjoyed the Nazim Sadykhov vs Evan Elder fight. First look at Sadykhov and I was hazy on Elder so wasn’t quite sure what to expect out of this but what a fight. Can tell Sadykhov is gonna be fun to watch going forward. Ray Longo guy as well! Got to say though, Elder made a fan of me here too. Felt bad for him actually. Fought his arse off and was up on the scorecards after 2 rounds, then gets stopped on a cut. It was a big dirty horrible one though.

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Couldn’t have been in a much worse position either. Bad break but they couldn’t really have let him continue with a deep cut like that right above the eye. I’d like to see them rebook this fight. It only seems right and the fair thing to do under the circumstances. If Sadykhov had been winning prior to the cut I’d say just move him on but Elder was winning on all 3 judges cards and Sadykhov needed a finish in that last round. Plus who’s gonna complain about seeing a rematch of this? I saw a clip of Sadykhov saying to the media after that it was a clash of heads which caused the cut as well, so really, it should’ve gone to the judges and Elder would’ve got the nod. Run it back. Cracking fight.

Mayra Bueno Silva vs Lina Lansberg went pretty much exactly how I pictured it. Maybe even worse for Lansberg than I expected actually because even the striking wasn’t going too well for her and the leg kicks early on seemed to bother her. Once Silva was able to turn it into more of a grappling match though, it was just a matter of time.

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It’s over for Lansberg. She’ll be 41 soon, hasn’t looked good at all lately and this is her 4th straight loss. Like I said in the OP, this was always a bad style matchup for her. Felt like a case of the UFC setting her up to get rid. P45’s already in the post. Saw Miesha Tate saying she wanted to fight Silva and I could actually see that happening. Silva probably beats Tate at this stage though. I think Tate’s finished. 

Jamall Emmers completely stopped the hype train of Khusein Askhabov in its tracks here right out the gate. Like I said in the preview, we knew nothing about Askhabov despite the 23-0 record. I was reading a bit about him yesterday and saw a tweet that in his first 12 fights, his opponents had a combined 4 wins between them! I’m sure he must’ve had a few better wins later on but Christ! Record padded out like a Vince McMahon suit in the 80s by the sound of it. The fact Emmers was able to 30-27 him after 2+ years on the shelf backs it up as well. Seems Askhabov was probably a smoke and mirrors job all along. Got controlled on the ground and his stamina didn’t look up to snuff either. It seemed like he thought he’d get the early finish and when it didn’t happen he started flagging. Maybe there’s better to come but given how he looked here, against a guy who’s nothing special and coming off a long layoff, it doesn’t bode well for him going forward.

I groaned when I saw Philipe Lins vs OSP was up next and was ready with remote control in hand to fast forward through it when Lins put him down.

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49 seconds. Surely that’s it for OSP now? It’s not like Lins is much good himself so this felt like the final nail for the big man to me.

I gave the AJ Fletcher vs Themba Gorimbo fight a look because I like to at least give these newcomers a chance. Didn’t work out for Gorimbo here though. I mentioned in the opening post that I really enjoyed Fletcher’s UFC debut scrap with Ange Loosa and he gave Gorimbo a rude welcome here. Second round sub.

Clayton Carpenter had a successful Octagon debut down in the Fight Pass curtain jerker. Quite liked what we saw in the short time the fight lasted. Looked dangerous off his back threatening with the triangle, then used that to get on top and sink in the body triangle and rear naked choke for the finish. Stays unbeaten, improves to 7-0. Nice stuff.

This was actually shaping up to be a lot better card than it looked going in. But those 3 terrible fights in the middle of the main card just killed it off. Blanchfield’s performance in the main event plus Hernandez-Miller and Sadykhov-Elder made it worthwhile but that big huge 3 fight dollop of shite on the main card was the worst. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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