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UFC Kansas City: Holloway vs Allen - Apr 15 🇺🇸


wandshogun09

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Posted (edited)

Kansas City with this lot…

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ESPN MAIN CARD
Max Holloway vs Arnold Allen 

Edson Barboza vs Billy Quarantillo

Dustin Jacoby vs Azamat Murzakanov

Ion Cutelaba vs Tanner Boser 

Pedro Munhoz vs Chris Gutierrez 

Clay Guida vs Rafa Garcia

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS 
TJ Brown vs Bill Algeo

Brandon Royval vs Matheus Nicolau

Ed Herman vs Zak Cummings 

Piera Rodriguez vs Gillian Robertson 

Lando Vannata vs Daniel Zellhuber

Bruna Brasil vs Denise Gomes 

Gaston Bolanos vs Aaron Phillips  

Joselyne Edwards vs Lucie Pudilova 

 

Not bad. Not the strongest Fight Night lineup we’ve ever had but I like that main event a lot, Barboza vs Quarantillo should be fireworks and there’s a couple of other solid matchups and intriguing debuts on there to make this worthwhile. That’s the bout order for now but as always I’ll edit if/when the card changes.

 

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Max Holloway vs Arnold Allen tops the bill. Very interesting fight this. The original plan was for this fight to go down at UFC 286 in London. Presumably it would’ve taken that co-main event slot that Gaethje vs Fiziev ended up filling. But Allen suffered a rib injury and it got delayed. Not sure how this one looks but it should give us a good read on where both are at currently in their careers. For Holloway it’s about redeeming himself and proving he’s still at the top of his game. And for Allen, it’s the ultimate test and his first taste of the true elite level in the Featherweight division. Really looking forward to it.

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You know Max is gonna be looking to make a statement here. He’s been one of the best fighters on the planet for years now, his run at Featherweight has been insane. Wins over Jose Aldo twice, Frankie Edgar, Brian Ortega, Yair Rodriguez, Calvin Kattar, Anthony Pettis, Charles Oliveira, Cub Swanson, Jeremy Stephens etc. He’s put on some of the most incredible performances in UFC history and justifiably became one of the most popular fighters in the game. Love Max. Not only is he one of the best to ever do it, he’s been consistently exciting to watch and he genuinely seems like one of the good guys in MMA. He’s in a bit of a tough spot in his career now though.

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We last saw him in July, losing to the champ Alexander Volkanovski for the third time. It’s crazy to me that a fighter as good as Max Holloway is 0-3 down to anyone but it just hammers home how great Volk is. If he wasn’t around, I honestly think Max would’ve had a long reign as champ that would’ve rivalled Anderson Silva’s and Demetrious Johnson’s. He’s that good. He’s just been unfortunate to have come along at the same time as Volkanovski who, in my opinion, is undeniably the pound-for-pound king currently. That third fight was brutal as well. I thought their first fight was as clear a win as Volk was ever gonna get over Max. Then the rematch was razor close. But this third fight, Volk won so conclusively it blew the first one out of the water. And the 5th round was probably the most one sided round they had over the course of their 3 fights. It’s left Max in no man’s land at 145. The way that last fight went, a 4th fight with Volk is gonna be a fucking hard sell. So Max isn’t likely getting another title shot for the foreseeable future. But is he still good enough to just keep picking off contenders? I think so but we’ll see. I honestly thought Max might just give 155 a bash now but he’s staying put at 145.

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This is a massive step up for Allen. He’s been on the roster for ages now. He actually made his UFC debut back in 2015 but it wasn’t until last year that he finally had a breakthrough and started getting some buzz. A combination of injury layoffs, endless decision wins and the fact he never really showed much personality meant he found himself kind of stagnant and stuck in the same spot for a few years. He always showed potential and he kept stacking up the wins but it wasn’t like anyone was ever clamouring to see his fights or asking when his next fight was. There was a spell when he was only fighting about once a year and even then it was like nobody even really noticed he wasn’t around. It all changed last March though. He got his big break against Dan Hooker in London…

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A decision merchant no more. It took him just 2:33 of the first round to get Hangman Dan out of there. It was a bit wild and Allen got reckless and got clipped pretty bad at one point but he got away with it and put Hooker away with an absolute barrage of strikes. Easily the biggest win of Allen’s career to date. It felt like he’d finally cracked that invisible ceiling to the upper echelon of the division and, sure enough, he bagged his first ever UFC main event spot in his next fight. He went up against Calvin Kattar in October. A fight that, on paper, looked like another step up from the Hooker fight. Unfortunately, a knee injury for Kattar cut the fight short. He went for a flying knee, seemed to overextend himself and messed his knee up on the landing. Allen got the TKO on a technicality but it was one of those wins where you’re not gonna be getting a title shot or anything off the back of it. Shame because I remember Allen looking really good in the first round, then seconds into round 2 it was all over.

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When it was confirmed that Volkanovski would be challenging Islam Makhachev in their ‘superfight’ up at 155, there was some talk of Allen being put in an interim title fight. His injury temporarily took him out of the mix though and they went with Yair vs Emmett. Allen’s since said that he sees the Holloway fight as bigger than an interim title match anyway. And let’s be honest, if he can beat Holloway, he’s automatically right in line for a title shot anyway. If he wins this fight, then I think the title picture is crystal clear. In that scenario you do Allen against the winner of Volk vs Yair. It can’t be more straight forward than that. Beating Max Holloway is far from straight forward though and Allen knows it.

“He’s going to throw about a million punches, kicks, knees and elbows. He’s going to try and take my head off. He’s going to keep peppering me like I’m a German sausage or something. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime. He’s a very dangerous guy who’s beat a lot of top contenders and he’s beaten them very well. He’s been world champion. He’s been pound-for-pound number one. He’s stepped up to Lightweight and had wars with people like Dustin Poirier. I’m very excited for the opportunity to challenge someone like that and show what I’m able to do.”

“He’s only human. The damage has got to catch up to you. He’s not much older than me, but he’s been in crazy fights for a long time against top tier athletes. He’s given a lot of damage, but he takes as much as he gives as well. He’s there to be hit, he takes a lot of damage. I’m preparing for the best version. I’m training for the best.” - Arnold Allen

It’s a bit of a weird one this because, as long as Allen’s been on the roster and as much as he’s fought some good opposition, it still kind of feels like we don’t know that much about him. Even his last couple of fights, the biggest wins of his career, Hooker’s been very inconsistent recently and the Kattar fight had the dodgy ending. One thing we do know is if he’s lacking at all, Holloway will expose it. I still feel like he’s the second best Featherweight in the world. I’ve seen a bit of talk of him possibly slowing down and I kind of get it. The total 15 rounds against Volkanovski must’ve put some miles on his clock, the last fight especially. And even the Yair fight was more of a competitive war than anyone expected going in. But I don’t know. I still feel like he’s gonna overwhelm pretty much any 145er below the champ. Getting beat up by Volk doesn’t mean you’re washed up so I’m definitely gonna hold fire on any decline talk. But I do get the feeling when he does decline, it’s gonna be bad. It might not be in this fight, it might not even be for another few years, but the way he fights and some of the battles he’s been in, the decline is gonna be a sharp one when it comes. People will point to his age and he’s only 31, but it’s not all about age, it’s about mileage. And Max has been fighting from a very young age and has been going up against killers for about a decade now. Enjoy him while he’s still operating at this level. Unless I’m wildly underestimating Allen, and I might be, I think this is one Max still wins. I think this is gonna be one of those fights where he reminds everyone who the fuck he is. But maybe Allen is better than he’s had to show so far. Maybe he rises to the occasion and maybe he’s catching Max at a good time.

 

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Edson Barboza vs Billy Quarantillo is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. Didn’t even know this was happening until now. A pleasant surprise to say the least! Barboza‘s not been on the best of form of late and at 37 years old, he’s on borrowed time really as a lower weight class fighter with a fair amount of miles on him. But you can pretty much always count on him to make it exciting. Well, unless he’s in with a suffocating grappler. That’s his real kryptonite. We saw it when Khabib dominated him years ago and we saw Bryce Mitchell rag him about in Barboza’s last fight. Still, matched up against guys who will strike, there’s still fun to be had. And this is just about as perfect as matchmaking gets for him. If you work for the UFC and your job is to make fights and you wanna get the most out of a 37 year old Barboza, you’d be an idiot not to have Billy Q on the shortlist.

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He’s no world beater, he’s 2-2 in his last 4. But he’s 17-4 overall and fuck me can he scrap. Seriously, I’ve been singing his praises for a while on here but he’s been consistently one of the more entertaining fighters to watch on the entire roster for some time now. He’s fought 7 times in the UFC so far and I genuinely don’t recall a dull moment. His barnburner against Shane Burgos on the MSG card in 2021 has been the highlight. That was an awesome fight that only got overshadowed because Gaethje vs Chandler went on just before it. Seriously, go back and watch that fight. He also had under the radar bangers against Spike Carlyle and Gabriel Benitez and in his last fight in November he scored a POTN winning TKO over Alexander Hernandez. A result which pleased me no end, I’ve made no secret I think Hernandez is a wanker. But yeah, can’t go wrong here. It’s a shame one of them is gonna have to lose. Barboza’s lost 5 of his last 7 so he kind of needs the win more at this stage but I’m not sure how much longer he’s gonna be around anyway. This’ll be fun though. It’s one of those pairings that just can’t produce anything other than a FOTN contender.

 

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Dustin Jacoby vs Azamat Murzakanov is alright. Probably be a bit of a slugfest. Jacoby’s never gonna advance too far up the ladder in the UFC, his recent little win streak is probably about as good as it’s getting for him. But I’ve enjoyed watching him this time around in the UFC. He’s coming into this one off a split decision loss against Khalil Rountree back in October so he’s on the rebound here. Murzakanov I’m hazy on but he’s 12-0 with 10 finishes. Scored a nasty flying knee KO against Tafon Nchukwi on DWCS last March then followed up with a late TKO over Devin Clark in his UFC debut in August. So far, so good. I noticed he also has a 50 second knockout over Andre Muniz on his record from 2016. Not a bad fight on paper.

 

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Ion Cutelaba vs Tanner Boser should be a decent brawl. Neither are anything to write home about but they both like to throw down. Should be entertaining enough. Cutelaba’s a mad bastard anyway. Bit of a one trick pony meathead but can’t recall him ever being dull to watch. He’s in desperate need of a win here having lost and been finished in his last 3. Sometimes you think a fighter in that situation will probably try to play it safe to secure the W but I don’t think there’s any danger of that with this nutcase. I genuinely think he’s incapable of fighting in any other way than getting into a slugfest. He’s just that mix of being a load of aggression and bit thick, he doesn’t know any other way. Boser’s dropping to 205 for this after a shitty run of results at Heavyweight. Lost a couple of split decisions and he was a bit undersized there. His UFC wins have nearly all been knockouts though and he did go the distance with Ciryl Gane a while back. Kind of interested to see how he looks at 205.

 

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Pedro Munhoz vs Chris Gutierrez is a good fight. Always got time for a Munhoz fight. Tough little fucker. Just looking at his recent win/loss ratio, the last few years haven’t been kind to him. He’s gone 1-4-0-1 in his last 6 fights. At 36, he’s definitely seen better days but I don’t think his last 6 results tell the whole story. For one, you look at the names. The 4 losses came against the current champ Aljamain Sterling, Frankie Edgar, Jose Aldo and Dominick Cruz. I remember the Aljo fight being a really good, competitive fight. I felt Munhoz should’ve got the decision against Edgar. And he had Cruz badly rocked at one point in their fight. He didn’t look like a shot fighter in those fights. He’s also had two absolute belters against Jimmie Rivera, bashed up Cody Garbrandt, submitted Rob Font. He’s no bum. He was doing alright against Sean O’Malley in his last fight before the eyepoke as well. He’s up against Chris Gutierrez, who’s coming off the biggest win of his career…

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He knocked out Frankie Edgar in what ended up being Frankie’s last fight. Hopefully that sticks but you know how it goes. Still makes me sad seeing that. It’s not like Gutierrez is a bad fighter or anything but Frankie would’ve schooled him in his prime. It’s the nature of combat sports though. As unforgiving as it gets. Gutierrez is actually on an 8 fight unbeaten run. He’s 19-4-2 overall and scored a beauty of a spinning backfist KO on Danaa Batgerel before the Edgar win. Decent enough.

 

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Clay Guida vs Rafa Garcia might be worth a watch. I say it every time I preview one of his fights but I’m always amazed Guida is still popping up on these cards. If you’d said to me back in around 2009 that he’d still be on the roster in 2023 I’d think you need help. If he’d carried on the way he was going in those wars with Tyson Griffin, Roger Huerta and Diego Sanchez there’s no way he’d have had this kind of longevity. He’s nowhere near as fun to watch now but you can’t knock him for making some adjustments and somehow extending his UFC run and getting about a decade more worth of paydays out of it than anyone expected. Fair play. He’s 41 years old now and has been on a win one/lose one merry go round for the last couple of years. He’s coming off a split decision win over Scott Holtzman in December so he’s due a loss again now. Garcia’s the much younger man at 28. We last saw him in December…

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Bleeding like he was Ric Flair in the 80s. An absolute bloodbath against Hayisaer Maheshate. He actually won the fight but suffered a severed artery in the process and obviously lost a shitload of blood. He’s 14-3 and has never been finished. Hasn’t had any really significant wins so far but he’s clearly tough as fuck. Be interesting to see how he handles a crafty old veteran wrestler like Guida here.

 

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TJ Brown vs Bill Algeo. No real opinion on this. I can’t remember enough about TJ Brown to have any real investment in it. He’s 32 years old with a record of 17-9 and 14 finishes. He’s gone 3-3 in the UFC and his best win is probably Charles Rosa. I’m a bit more familiar with Algeo and he’s quite fun to watch, to be fair. He had a really good scrap in his UFC debut with Ricardo Lamas a couple of years back. He lost on points but got FOTN. He also proper battered Herbert Burns (Gilbert’s less impressive little bro) in July last year, to the point he completely folded and Gilbert actually had to carry him out of the cage. He lost a split decision to Andre Fili in his most recent fight in September.

 

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Brandon Royval vs Matheus Nicolau brings the typical Flyweight goodness. Really like the sound of this. Royval’s been great to watch pretty much every time I’ve seen him. He’s fucking class. Came in back in 2020 having just won the LFA belt and immediately won back-to-back FOTNs with Tim Elliott and Kai Kara-France. Submitted both. He also had a one round corker with Brandon Moreno but suffered an injury and Moreno got the win. He’s coming into this one off another FOTN submission victory over Matt Schnell last May. He’s ace. One of those fighters who’s just all action and constantly looking for the finish from any position he finds himself in. And Nicolau is one of the real darkhorses of the division. He’s 19-2-1 and on a 6 fight win streak. He knocked out Schnell last time out and also has wins over Tim Elliott and Manel Kape. Cracking fight. I’ve got to root for Royval but Nicolau is probably gonna be a tricky one for him.

 

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Ed Herman vs Zak Cummings. Didn’t even know these two were even still in the UFC. Herman’s got to be the longest serving fighter on the roster now, hasn’t he? He was on TUF 3, for fuck’s sake! The season won by Michael Bisping. The season coached by Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz! That’s how long this sod’s been around. He’s 42 now and hasn’t fought for almost 2 years when he lost on points to Alonzo Menifield. He’d actually won 3 in a row before that but he looks so beat up and he’s had a bunch of injuries. Got to respect how granite hard the man must be to keep plugging away but trying to make a comeback from a 2 year layoff at 42 sounds like a bad idea. Although saying that, at least they’ve tried to match him up sensibly here. They could’ve just fed him to some young beast. Cummings is no spring chicken himself at 38 and he’s been on the shelf even longer than Herman. He last fought in 2020. He’s had a couple of half decent wins over the years but he’s very average. Purely on skills Herman should win but it really is a shot in the dark. Both are on their last legs.

 

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Piera Rodriguez vs Gillian Robertson is nothing special but might be an OK little fight. Rodriguez is Venezuelan and undefeated at 9-0 with 5 by KO/TKO. Still pretty much untested as far as I can tell. Hasn’t beat anyone very good yet. She’s won a couple of decisions off Kay Hansen and Sam Hughes so far in the UFC. Robertson is no contender or anything but she should be more of a test and barometer for Rodriguez.

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She actually submitted former UFC champion Rose Namajunas on a Fury Pro Grappling show in December. A bigger scalp than anyone she’s beat in her actual MMA career. She’s been in the UFC since 2017 after appearing on TUF. She’s 11-7 overall now with 5 submissions. She’s actually not bad to watch. She’s always had a strong grappling game and she does go for it with the ground and pound. Hopefully she can ask some questions of Rodriguez here.

 

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Lando Vannata vs Daniel Zellhuber will probably be enjoyable prelim fodder. Lando’s usually good to watch. Instantly became a fan of him when he got chucked in with Tony Ferguson on 2 weeks notice and gave him a hell of a fight. Think he actually dropped him at one point. That’s a fight I wanna revisit at some point actually. Aside from that, he scored one of the best spinning kick knockouts you’ll ever see against John Makdessi and had 2 FOTN forgotten gems against Bobby Green. He’ll not go any higher than he is now but he’s exactly the kind of fighter I wanna see on these undercards. Can’t say I recall this Zellhuber chap. He’s Mexican, 23 years old and has a 12-1 record with 9 finishes. He beat Lucas Almeida on DWCS but lost his UFC debut to Trey Ogden in September.

 

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Bruna Brasil vs Denise Gomes is a fight I’ll probably check out but I don’t know much about either. This’ll be Bruna Brasil’s Octagon debut. She’s 29 years old with a record of 8-2-1 and 5 wins inside the distance. Never seen her fight but just having a quick look around now, she did this in her last fight on DWCS in September…

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Her opponent Gomes is 23 years old and 6-2 with 4 wins via KO/TKO. She made her UFC debut back in September and lost a decision to Loma Lookboonmee. Not like I’m expecting a great deal from this but I try to at least give debuting fighters a chance so I’ll take a look.

 

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Gaston Bolanos vs Aaron Phillips is a bit of an odd one. When I first saw the name Gaston Bolanos it looked familiar. Same when I saw his picture there. But I can’t put my finger on why he jumped out at me. Looking him up, he’s 6-3 and I see all 9 of his fights were in Bellator. @Egg Shen you remember this guy? Was there hype on him at some point? His name instantly rung a bell but his record doesn’t scream ‘prospect’. He’s coming off a win last April but he’d lost 2 in a row before that. They’re probably trying to feed him a showcase win for his debut here. Phillips hasn’t fought since 2020 when he got subbed by Jack Shore. He’s 12-4 and all his wins are over guys who don’t even have a Wikipedia page.

 

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Joselyne Edwards vs Lucie Pudilova is nothing. Just nothing going on here. I’ll go through the motions. Edwards is 27 years old and from Panama. She’s 12-4 with 8 finishes and has wins over Ji Yeon Kim and Ramona Pascual but lost to Jessica Rose Clark and Karol Rosa. Says it all really. Pudilova’s 28 years old and Czech. She’s 14-7 with 5 finishes. She had a terrible run in the UFC a few years back when she went 2-5 before being let go. She went away and won some fights, they rehired her and she stopped Wu Yanan by TKO on her return in August. It’s the fight where, if I’ve got the prelims on live on the night, this is when I’ll go and grab something to eat or something.

 

Have it. 

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Edited by wandshogun09
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Posted (edited)

fantastic card, its full of straight up fan friendly fighters, I think it could be a mental one.

Ed Herman/Zac Cummings is of a different era though 😄

and yeah @wandshogun09you're not wrong about Gaston Bolanos. There was big hype behind him for a minute, mainly as a good kickboxer who was transitioning over. He was fighting between Bellator MMA and Bellator Kickboxing. He got found out pretty quick but matched correctly he'll be great to watch. I had no idea the UFC had signed him.

Edited by Egg Shen
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Nice one Ebb I thought I was losing the plot on Bolanos. I dip in and out of Bellator so for his name to ring bells, I knew there must’ve been something to him at some point. Even if he amounts to nothing, the prelim crew needs all the exciting fighters it can get. 

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This is tomorrow then. How’s everyone see it going? I’ve got a feeling Holloway wins this one in style. Especially if Allen fancies more of a striking match. If he can grab hold of Max and force more of a clinch heavy fight then he might have success because he should enjoy a decent strength advantage. But even then, to clinch he’s got to get close and I can see Max just lighting him up every time he gets close. Allen’s a good fighter and he does seem to have turned a corner lately. He was looking good against Kattar before the injury ending. But I can’t shake the image of him getting walloped while he was trying to finish Dan Hooker.

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It was only one punch and he ate it and got away with it but I can just picture him getting caught repeatedly like that by Max if he tries to be more aggressive like that. His best bet to win is probably gonna be to just try to use his strength and physicality to kind of bully Max around and grind it out. But it’s gonna be easier said than done. He’s also never gone longer than 3 rounds so we’ll see how he does there if it goes that long as well. Bit of a baptism of fire if his first time going into the ‘championship rounds’ is against Max Bastard Holloway. We know Max can do 5 and maintain the pace and output, no problem.

I haven’t really read much opinion stuff about this fight but I’m guessing there’ll be a fair few picking Allen and kind of pushing the narrative that Max’s best days are over. But you’ve got to put in perspective, he’s only been losing to Volkanovski at 145. The Poirier loss was up at 155. You have to go back to the McGregor fight a whole decade ago to find his last loss at Featherweight that wasn’t against Volk. We’ll see. That last fight with Volk was rough on him. That was the kind of beating that could potentially have left him less of a force than he has been. But it remains to be seen and I haven’t really seen any concrete evidence that Holloway is declining. He just can’t beat Volk. And who can at 145? I don’t know. Maybe Allen’s better than any of us know and this’ll be his big moment to finally, properly, break through and fully establish himself as a top player. But my gut is telling me we’re in for another round of Max schooling and eliminating top contenders to the point he’s legitimately campaigning for a fourth hiding off Volko.

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I have been backwards and forwards all week on who I think will win. I think I am more leaning towards Holloway purely for the fact that I have written him off before and been completely wrong. I have decided I won't make the same mistake again so I am going for Holloway.

If Allen does pull off the win then he 100% is the next in line for the title providing Volk doesn't attempt to go up in weight again.

The rest of the undercard should be good, there aren't any future contenders on the card but there's a lot of fun fighters.

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30 minutes ago, Egg Shen said:

Fancy Arnold, mainly because at somepoint Holloway has to go off at some cliff. 

I get that but I don’t really see why it would be now. Not to that extent anyway. I may be underestimating Allen but I think even if Holloway has lost a step, he’s not gonna be suddenly completely shot overnight and I think he’ll need to have lost more than a step to lose this one. I don’t know though. Allen’s a weird one for me. He doesn’t seem to be outstanding at anything but he keeps winning. This is a huge leap in levels from anyone he’s faced previously though. 

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Was shocked to see the odds being alot closer than I would have predicted. Max at around 8/13 and Arnold at 6/4. As Wand says, this is a massive step up for Arnold, and his previous wins are not the most impressive. Im going for Max, as I think he will show that hes on a different level to Arnold in this one. 

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For once, I think this played out pretty much as I expected. Arnold was clearly just a level below Max. Not a great deal below him, but just enough to make this a fairly easy victory for Max.

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Who would ever have thought Zak Cummings and Ed Herman would have one of the best sendoffs I can ever recall in MMA? It was a weird fight to start off when announced but as it played out in Cummings home town it all seemed to make sense, both fought their asses off and had a way better scrap than they had any right too have in front of a hot crowd, then got saluted like hero's post-fight in front of their kids, just brilliant stuff. One of the moments of the year for me.

 

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Holloway solidified himself as the best of the rest again here. Every performance that Max has like this helps to add more and more to not only Max's legacy, but even moreso to Volkanovski's. It must be a strange holding pattern to be in for Holloway, because where can he really go from here? He doesn't seem interested in moving up long term. Volkanovski losing to Islam has delayed him possibly leaving 145. There aren't many 'star name' fights at 145 for him to take. Yet being 0-3 to Volkanovski, he shouldn't ever fight him again, in my opinion - unless Holloway was somehow the champion again through some other route and Volkanovski was challenging. 

Strange times for Max. I had this 48-47 for him, close enough on paper, yet at the same time I didn't find any round difficult to score and had Allen very much behind unless he could stop Max in the 5th. And by fuck, did he try. Holloway was on it though, he looked sharp, and somehow his bloody chin seems to just be there, every time. Like, someday he'll get ironed out, or show wobbles and get dropped, but we've been saying that for a long time now, and it's just not happened. He's made of Adamantium it seems. 

Here all day for Edison Barboza throwing knees out there like sledgehammers and felling people. Good to see him getting to done here. 

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Had a busy few days but all caught up on this now.

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Loved this fight. The result wasn’t in doubt when it was over, Holloway definitely showed he was a class above and rightly won the decision. But I thought Allen showed more in defeat here than he had in all his UFC wins previously. I feel like I’ve been saying before every one of his fights that we don’t really know that much about him despite him being on the roster years and clocking up a lot of cage time. But seeing him go 5 rounds with Holloway here, and go after him the way he did, he really showed what he’s made of. He wasn’t good enough to actually win but he actually did better than I thought he could considering it was pretty much all striking. He landed some good shots throughout the fight. And like all Max’s opponents he ate a load of punches but he never seemed to get too discouraged. Even as the last round was about to start, him casually saying to Firas Zahabi “World War 3? Fuck yeah” showed he was still in it mentally and bang up for it. And he really went for it in that last round to the point it nearly backfired right at the end.

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I love that he didn’t just accept that he was losing a decision though. He was still going for the win. And any questions on whether he’d hold up in his first 5 rounder were answered. His conditioning is clearly not an issue. Before this fight I wasn’t sure where Allen sat in the pecking order at 145. On the strength of this fight, I honestly think he probably beats everyone but Volk and Max. I know bronze isn’t ideal but my opinion of him is higher now than it was on Friday. It was the kind of fight I think will actually improve him. He didn’t take a horrible career altering beating like some of Holloway’s past opponents, it’s all experience gained and I think he’ll be back strong. Max is definitely in a weird spot but we knew he would be. He’s thrown out Korean Zombie’s name as a potential opponent. When I first heard that I just shook my head but who else is there for Max at this point? Unless he takes a fight at 155, there aren’t many options. He’s already beat most of the top Featherweights. I don’t wanna see the Zombie get obliterated but I can see that fight getting made just because they don’t have much else for Max, it’s a fresh fight and they both want it.

Barboza vs Quarantillo was short and sweet. It was never gonna be boring either way. Which is why it was the easiest pick ever for my ‘one to watch’ on this card. I didn’t expect it to end that quickly and I was slightly disappointed really because I was hoping for a full on barnburner. But at the same time, it was cool as fuck seeing Barboza pull off a finish like that.

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His first win in a couple of years and it was proper highlight reel stuff. Not a clue who they match Barboza up with next but you can’t really go wrong whoever you throw him in with. I just wanna see fun fights. He’s 37 now. As incredible as he looks physique-wise and as sharp as he looked here in the fight, he can’t have too many fights left. There aren’t many fighters below 170 who are operating at a high level and pushing 40. I just don’t wanna see what will probably be his last few fights wasted against wrestlers and grinders. One that’s jumping out to me, we’ve got to see Barboza vs Yair Rodriguez at some point. After Volk spanks Yair over the summer, maybe we can get that fight on later in the year. We’ll see. Maybe they’ll do Barboza vs Allen?

Cutelaba vs Boser was over before it ever really got started. There’s always that chance when Cutelaba fights, either he does the chinning or he gets chinned. This time it went his way. Felt bad for Boser, to be honest. This was meant to be his fresh start dropping to 205 and it’s got to be said he looked in fantastic shape. But he got cracked early and never recovered. He was trying to get up at the time of the stoppage but he was eating shot after shot and wasn’t defending at all. He never complained about the stoppage either. He’s said since he’s got one fight left on his contract and he wants it to be on the Canada card in June. As for Cutelaba, him vs Paul Craig could be a laugh. Most likely be just one round of mayhem.

I liked the Pedro Munhoz vs Chris Gutierrez fight more than the crowd seemed to. Didn’t get why they were booing I thought it was a good competitive fight. Harsh. It wasn’t fought at a mega fast pace but it was good stuff from both. Was happy to see Munhoz finally get back in the win column as well. It’s been a while.

Wasn’t a fan of the Rafa Garcia vs Clay Guida fight. The most notable things about it were everything but what they actually did bell to bell. First off, I never thought I’d see the day that Clay would get a sensible shorter haircut. Look at this shit.

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What did he think he was doing? Looks like he’s about to sell you insurance or something. Then the fight started and you could see exactly why he cut it, that shit’s hanging on for dear life. He’d have been better off just shaving the lot off but that would’ve been a right shock. I’m not sure the world is ready for Bald Guida. He’s doing it gradually. Of course he lost the fight and it wasn’t very enjoyable to watch. But him taking his gloves off after, faking that he was gonna announce his retirement so he could trick everyone into giving him a post-fight interview and wish his mum Happy Birthday cracked me up. Crafty old fuck 🤣 Even better when I saw Dana was crying about it after. Best thing Clay’s been involved with since probably the Benson Henderson fight over a decade ago.

Bill Algeo vs TJ Brown was a fantastic fight. Well deserving of the FOTN bonus. First round was action packed and mega competitive and then the second round they somehow upped the aggression even more. It was looking like Brown was getting the better of it but then Algeo dropped him out of nowhere and pounced for the sub.

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Tremendous stuff. Algeo’s been good value on these Fight Nights and undercards for a while now. Ever since his valiant losing effort against Ricardo Lamas in his UFC debut a few years back, there hasn’t really been a dull moment since. What was the heelish post-fight promo about though? What’s he got against Kansas? 😂

Brandon Royval continues to be fucking awesome to watch. Really thought Nicolau was gonna be a tricky fight for him, was just settling in for a tough 15 minute battle and then 2 minutes in…

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That’s 3 wins in a row now and he’s finished his last 2 quick. Not to mention his only losses in his last 9 fights are Moreno and Pantoja, who are fighting for the title soon. I honestly wouldn’t be against Royval outright getting the next title shot against the winner of Moreno vs Pantoja. But he probably won’t get it without another big win. Apparently Figgy is staying at Flyweight for a bit longer now, despite recently saying he was moving up to 135. The current talk is that we’re getting Figgy vs Manel Kape, which could be awesome. But I’ll be honest, if Figgy’s staying put at 125, Figgy vs Royval is the one for me. I know you run the risk of Fig just eliminating Royval as a potential title challenger but whatever. I wanna see it.

As said above, the Zak Cummings vs Ed Herman fight was way better than it had any right to be. Surpassed my expectations big time. I didn’t realise Cummings was from Kansas City and nobody knew we’d be getting a double retirement at the end.

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Those unknown ingredients pushed this fight to be so much more intense and entertaining than anyone could’ve predicted. They both clearly came in knowing this was it and wanting to go out with a bang. Loved that whole post-fight bit. What a moment.

Gillian Robertson ruined Piera Rodriguez’s undefeated record in ‘controversial’ fashion that wasn’t really controversial, in my opinion. Rodriguez denied she tapped but…

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That’s a tap, isn’t it? A lot of the focus seems to be on the seconds that followed this where Rodriguez’s hand was hovering as if she was thinking about tapping, but she didn’t. She’d already tapped before that though. I don’t necessarily think she even meant to tap. It might’ve just been an instinctual thing where she did it without thinking. But it happened. If one tap was enough for Werdum to end Fedor’s decade long unbeaten streak, what makes Piera Rodriguez so special. She was getting dominated before that anyway. You could see the frustration in her when she said something at the end of the first round, then Robertson easily took her down immediately in the second round. I think she tapped.

Nice showing from Daniel Zellhuber. Thought he beat Lando quite comfortably. The first round was a bit of a mugging but Lando’s tough and doesn’t go away easily and Zellhuber did a good job keeping his composure and settling down and just out working him for the decision. Not sure how far Zellhuber can go and Lando Vannata isn’t a win that’s gonna set the world alight but he’s only 23 so we’ll see how he progresses over his next few fights.

Denise Gomes just overwhelmed Bruna Brasil. Not a nice welcome for Bruna. You could see right from the off that Gomes was the physically stronger and more powerful of the two. I think she dropped Brasil in one of the very first exchanges with a leg kick, if I’m remembering right. And despite being the shorter fighter, she was able to pressure and land hurtful shots a bunch of times before the finish. Don’t know if this was more a case of Brasil just not being very good or what but it was a decent performance from Gomes all the same.

Gaston Bolanos debut was alright. Doesn’t fill me with optimism that he’ll go very far but it was an enjoyable enough fight and I saw enough to think that there’ll be plenty of fan friendly matchups to make for Bolanos going forward at 135. I don’t see him doing too well results-wise though.

Saw a load of outcries of robbery in the Joselyne Edwards vs Lucie Pudilova prelim opener. I had it on in the background but can’t say I was paying enough attention to have scored it or be able to agree or disagree with the robbery talk. I will say though, that every time I did look at the screen, Pudilova looked well in control. From what I saw, she probably was unlucky to not get the decision.

Thought it was a cracking card all in all. 

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Really enjoyed that card, seemed to fly by. Even Ed Herman’s fight was enjoyable! 
 

Allen did well but just looked a step below Max. We are inevitably going to get Max v Volk 4 aren’t we…. Volk is one of my favourites but it might be better long term if he loses the belt to Yair and moved up to 155 permanently.  

 

Edited by Bruce85
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