Paid Members wandshogun09 Posted March 23 Paid Members Share Posted March 23 (edited) Kansas City with this lot… 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. 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. 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. 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. 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… 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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… 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. 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… 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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… 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. 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. 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. Edited March 29 by wandshogun09 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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