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UFC Vegas: Pavlovich vs Blaydes - Apr 22 🇺🇸


wandshogun09

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Posted (edited)

Just when you thought it was safe, we’re back at the fucking Apex with this lot…

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ESPN MAIN CARD
Sergei Pavlovich vs Curtis Blaydes 

Brad Tavares vs Bruno Silva 

Bobby Green vs Jared Gordon 

Iasmin Lucindo vs Brogan Walker 

Jeremiah Wells vs Matthew Semelsberger 

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Ricky Glenn vs Christos Giagos 

Rani Yahya vs Montel Jackson 

Karol Rosa vs Norma Dumont 

Mohammed Usman vs Junior Tafa 

Francis Marshall vs William Gomis 

Batgerel Danaa vs Brady Hiestand 

 

Not a terrible card but it’s not setting the world alight either. Some interesting fights there, a couple of potential corkers, a couple dragging it down as well. The bastard Apex again though 😡 I really thought we’d seen the last of it. Hopefully the fights deliver. As always, I’ll update this post with any changes but that’s the bout order as it stands at the moment.


 

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Sergei Pavlovich vs Curtis Blaydes tops the bill this time. The big lads are gonna collide. Very interesting fight this. Might not be the most entertaining to watch but we’ll see. If nothing else, it’s the litmus test we’ve been waiting for when it comes to Pavlovich so I’m into it.

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I actually predicted Big Sergei would be the UFC Heavyweight champion by the end of 2023 in that ‘MMA Champions’ thread somewhere on here. It was a bit of a shot in the dark, a bit of a wildcard pick, but it was one I could see happening when I made that prediction. A lot has changed since then though. Ngannou leaving and Jones returning has turned the division upside down so fuck knows at this point. And we still don’t know all that much about Sergei. Other than he hits like a truck. He’s 17-1 now with 14 knockouts. All 14 came in the first round. The only loss was his UFC debut in 2018, when Alistair Overeem stopped him. No shame there. He’s bounced back with 5 straight quick KO wins and in his last 2 fights he’s put both Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa away in under a minute! He doesn’t fuck about and he doesn’t work overtime. Still a lot of questions and unknowns there though. He actually went to a couple of decisions in his pre-UFC days over in Russia. One of them went 5 rounds. I might have to try and track that one down because he just hasn’t had enough cage time in the UFC to get a proper read on him. Regardless, he’s unquestionably a dangerous big lump. If anyone is gonna put him to the test though…

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Curtis Blaydes might just be the man for the job. He’s kind of become the boogeyman of the Heavyweight division at this point. And I don’t mean he eats worms. He’s not without flaws and he’s certainly beatable but he’s one of those guys who the top Heavyweights probably look at as just not worth the risk. He’s lost to Ngannou twice, been brutally knocked out by Lewis etc. But he has a skillset that I can’t imagine many fancying dealing with if they don’t have to. He’s a huge unit of a man, strong as fuck, has really good wrestling and has shown legitimate knockout power in his hands. Over the years he’s beat Alistair Overeem, Mark Hunt, Junior Dos Santos, Alexander Volkov, Alexey Oleynik, Jairzinho Rozenstruik etc. He’s a handful. We last saw him on the London card last July, ‘winning’ that weird fight with Tom Aspinall which ended in 15 seconds when Tom blew his knee out. Really unfortunate ending. I felt nearly as bad for Blaydes as I did for Aspinall, to be honest. Took a fight in Aspinall’s backyard and flew over for that anti-climax?

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It’s on. Don’t know what the fuck to think about this. I think you almost have to favour Blaydes based on what we’ve seen but Pavlovich is lethal and one mistake can be all it takes. Although that said, the same is true in reverse. Blaydes has enough of a dig on him that Pavlovich can’t get careless in there. If he overcommits and misses then he could just as easily eat a big right hand as he could be taken down. On paper I just think Blaydes has shown to have more tools. And you’d assume he’ll be looking to wrestle more in this one and test Pav’s takedown defence. If it’s not up to snuff then this could actually turn out to be a fairly straightforward fight for Blaydes. We’ll see. I like it though. Like I say, don’t go in expecting a barnburner. I think in general your best bet when it comes to the Heavyweights is to not have very high expectations. But it’s definitely an interesting one and the winner should be up there in the title mix. I don’t think they’ll actually get a title shot anytime soon. It’s looking like Jones vs Stipe is next. But in theory, the winner of this should be next in line after that. As I type this, Pavlovich is ranked #3 and Blaydes is ranked #4. Neither one of them is gonna be seen as particularly appealing challengers for Jones or an ageing Stipe, but it’s gonna be hard to deny them soon. Especially if this ends with a bang.

 

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Brad Tavares vs Bruno Silva could be a bit of a fireworks display. Tavares has fallen into a bit of a journeyman role at 185 but he’s shown over the years that he can definitely hold up his end of a wild slobberknocker. He’s been on the roster since 2010 now. He was on the season of TUF that had Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz as coaches. That’s how long he’s been around! Still only mid 30s but he’s had very mixed results over the years. It’s mad looking back over his record and seeing wins over Nate Marquardt, Tom Watson and fucking Phil Baroni scattered about. Tough sod as well, Tavares. He’s gone the distance with Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero and in recent years beat Shoeface and Omari Akhmedov, who both went on to do alright for themselves in the PFL. He comes into this fight off a decision loss in a barmy slugfest against Dricus Du Plessis in July.

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Sloppy as shite but a stupidly entertaining fight to watch. If you missed it and you’ve got Fight Pass, get it fired up. There’s worse ways to spend 15 minutes. Silva’s the type who’s gonna meet him head on as well. He’s 22-8 with 19 knockouts on the record. He’s heavy handed and aggressive. He’s got some nasty ground and pound as we saw in his win over Wellington Turman. And he’s durable and doesn’t go away easy. We saw that when he faced Alex Pereira last year. To date, Silva is the only man who’s lasted the distance against Pereira in MMA. Our Gerald submitted him last time out though. So he’s coming in off back-to-back losses and with something to prove here. Should be good. Both like a scrap and both can take it and dish it out. Probably has a decent shot at getting FOTN, I reckon.

 

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Bobby Green vs Jared Gordon is an OK fight. Could be better than OK but I’m not expecting anything special. Green’s become popular over the last few years and he has had some good fights, win or lose, against the likes of Dober, Raging Al, Fiziev and Lando. But there has been times when he’s been very frustrating to watch. He seems the type who needs the right dance partner to make a fun fight and I’m not sure Gordon is that guy. Still, it’s worth a watch. More people are gonna be paying attention to Gordon here than they ever have throughout his career. And it’s all because of his last fight.

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He took on Paddy Pimblett at UFC 282 in December. With how the UFC have been wrapping Paddy in cotton wool and feeding him relatively soft fights, I think it was clear the powers that be saw this as another favourable matchup for him. Gordon wasn’t a bum. He’d gone 19-5 prior to that fight but had done nothing particularly memorable over the course of his 5 year stint in the UFC, wasn’t much of a finisher, was known as a bit of a grinder and, what probably made him most appealing to the matchmakers, he hadn’t shown much in the way of punching power. Considering Paddy had been clipped a bunch of times even at the rock bottom level in the UFC, they clearly didn’t want him near hitters. So this was likely seen as a bit of a safe fight for him. Gordon wasn’t having it. We all said our piece back in December, I can’t be arsed to go into it all again. That decision was bollocks though. I try to avoid using the word ‘robbery’ when it comes to dodgy judging because I think that word gets thrown around way too much, basically any time there’s a close fight. This was a bad one though. There’s just no case for Pimblett winning, in my opinion. Gordon was campaigning for a rematch but Paddy was injured and he was also acting like he won clearly and there was no need to do it again. Then rumours started about Pimblett fighting Drew Dober and all of a sudden he’s calling for the Gordon rematch now. Clown 😂 I’d like to see Gordon win this fight, to be honest. First time I’ve ever gave much of a shite about him. Just feel bad about how that whole thing played out in December. Plus, Green’s gone right down in my estimation lately. Used to quite like him until he joined the sad bastard Andrew Tate worshippers club. Team Gordon. I’d love to see him win this and get that Pimblett rematch on the next UK card and beat him on enemy soil. Would be a hilarious way for the Paddy hype to get properly derailed.

 

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Iasmin Lucindo vs Brogan Walker isn’t anything to write home about but I’ll give it a look for Lucindo. She won me over with that tremendous fight against Yazmin Jauregui back in August. That was both of their Octagon debuts and I remember people questioning why it was put on the main card but it soon became apparent why it got such high billing. If it wasn’t for the fact that Landwehr vs Onama was on the same card, it would’ve easily been the FOTN. Seriously, if you missed it, go back and give it a watch. Brilliant fight. Especially considering it was two women making their debuts at such a young age. Lucindo lost on points but at just 21 years old, there’s time to bounce back. She’s 13-5 with 10 finishes and she showed a ton of toughness and heart in that Jauregui fight. Looking forward to seeing her back in there. Walker is nothing special. 34 years old with a 7-3 record. Managed to make the TUF finals last summer but got dominated by Juliana Miller at the Finale.

 

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Jeremiah Wells vs Matthew Semelsberger is likely ending violently. Both like to throw and both have some quick finishes on their records. Wells is 11-2-1 with 9 finishes. Brutally sparked Warlley Alves in his UFC debut and decked Court McGee in about 90 seconds last time out. He also has a couple of knockouts in less than a minute under his belt as well. Semelsberger is similar. He’s 11-4 with 7 finishes. Beat up Jake Matthews en route to a points win back in December but had previously knocked out Martin Sano Jr and Jason Witt in 15 and 16 seconds respectively. Heavy hands will fly. If this one doesn’t end by KO, it won’t be for lack of trying.

 

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Ricky Glenn vs Christos Giagos isn’t doing much for me but it’s not a bad little fight. Glenn’s 22-6-2 and 2-2-1 in his last 5. Giagos is 19-10 and coming off a couple of first round losses to Tsarukyan and Moises in his last 2 fights. Not the best. They’ve both had their moments though. If you’re bored before this show and want to familiarise yourself with what some of the undercard fighters are capable of, you could do worse than watching Glenn vs Kevin Aguilar from 2018 and Giagos vs Drakkar Klose from 2019. A couple of real hidden gems that nobody ever talks about but I remember really enjoying them.

 

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Rani Yahya vs Montel Jackson is alright. Not counting the days or anything but it’s a decent enough fight. I’ve always liked Yahya for some reason. There’s nothing flashy about him but he’s been knocking around for years and I’ve always felt like he’s a little bit under-appreciated. He’s 28-10-1-1 now, made his debut all the way back in 2002. To put that in perspective, Iasmin Lucindo who’s also on this card was less than a year old when Yahya was making his MMA debut! You look back over his career as well and you see names on his record like JZ Cavalcante, Mark Hominick and Yoshiro Maeda. Real blasts from the past. He’s also fought the likes of KID Yamamoto, Joseph Benavidez and Chad Mendes. He’s been around. A proper journeyman but a tough little sod and a really good grappler. He’s a bit of a throwback to the ‘one style’ days of MMA. One of the last of a dying breed. He’s got no real striking to speak of, in 40 pro fights he doesn’t have one finish via KO/TKO. Which is why I suspect the UFC tried to do him against Cody Garbrandt recently. But he’s still won 5 of his last 7. Hasn’t fought since 2021 now though. And at 38 years old, I’m not sure how much longer he’s planning to do this. Jackson’s 12-2 with 7 finishes, 6 by knockout. Hasn’t been blowing anyone away but he’s got some OK wins over guys like Julio Arce, JP Buys and Brian Kelleher. He’s 8 years younger than Yahya and if he can keep it on the feet, he likely wins this one. But I’d like to see Yahya out-crafty him and snatch up another submission win.

 

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Karol Rosa vs Norma Dumont isn’t gonna be much fun to watch. To be honest, I can’t believe the UFC are still persisting with women’s 145. It’s a complete wasteland. Even on the UFC’s own website, when you go to the rankings page, women’s Featherweight is the only one you can’t view. And that’s because there’s no fucker in the division! There’s about 4 women and a couple of them should probably be at 135. It’s a joke. Either actually put the effort in and find more talent, or get rid of the division. To think Dana was ready to bin men’s Flyweight a couple of years ago. Yet they keep this shite around. Anyway, Rosa’s 16-4, 1-1 in her last 2 and coming off a majority decision win over 41 year old Lina Lansberg. And Dumont’s 8-2, also 1-1 in her last 2 and she’s missed weight twice in her last 5 fights. At both Bantamweight and Featherweight! I mean, Jesus wept. She’s also had some awful fights recently. The Aspen Ladd main event in 2021 was a crime against humanity and I’ll never let it drop. But the Macy Chiasson and Danyelle Wolf fights weren’t much better. A big bum only takes you so far. She’s awful. Funny thing is, the winner of this probably gets a title shot. Womens Featherweight is that shite.

 

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Mohammed Usman vs Junior Tafa is kind of intriguing to me but not because of Usman. It was cool to see Big Mo win TUF last year but I’m really not convinced by him. I didn’t see any of the season of TUF he was on but just based on the fight in the finals and a few other bits and pieces, I don’t see him having a particularly successful run as a UFC Heavyweight. Even in the TUF final against Zac Pauga, he ended it in style…

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But I remember thinking he didn’t look good at all before that and was losing fairly clearly. He got subbed in PFL just before going on TUF as well. I just don’t see it working out for him long term. Never seen Tafa at all but he’s where my interest lies in this one. He’s the younger brother of Justin Tafa and this’ll be his UFC debut. He’s only 26, so a baby for Heavyweight, and he’s currently 4-0 with 4 knockouts in MMA but he’s also fought in GLORY and he’s had some Boxing fights. He’s talking as well.

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“I’ll bet $100 you can’t name one person he fought. Obviously, if you’re signed to the UFC you have to be dangerous. You’ve got to have something. And Usman, he is good. But when it comes to combat, I have him covered, man. I signed to GLORY when I was 20 years old, fighting Dutch monsters, Moroccan giants. So he can have his TUF win, I’ve got more experience. This is my time, and I’ll be looking to take his head.” - Junior Tafa

I like it. Obviously a lot of questions for him to answer and hurdles for him to jump. I think he’s coming up in weight for this, I’m sure he’s usually at 205. I actually hope he drops back down after this regardless of the result. He’s gonna be undersized at Heavyweight and 205 needs more depth anyway.

 

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Francis Marshall vs William Gomis should be worth checking out. Both came in with that prospect tag on them last year. Marshall delivered in his debut back in December, knocking out Marcelo Rojo in the second round to retain his undefeated status. He’s 7-0 now with 5 finishes and just turned 24 years old. Looks good. I remember thinking you could tell he was a bit green in that Rojo fight but it’s to be expected and he’ll only improve with time. I wasn’t as impressed with my first look at Gomis though. He’s French and debuted on the Paris card in September against Jarno Errens. He won a majority decision and I don’t remember much about it at all other than not particularly enjoying the fight. Maybe there’s better to come though. He’s 25 years old with a record of 11-2 and 7 finishes.

 

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Batgerel Danaa vs Brady Hiestand. Don’t know. I’m hazy on Danaa and haven’t seen much of Hiestand. Just a card filler. Might be better than I’m giving it credit for but I’ve just got zero investment in it. Danaa’s Mongolian, 33 years old and has a record of 12-4 with 10 finishes. He’s coming into this fight off the back of a couple of losses. Looking at his record, the only thing I actually remember seeing was him getting wiped out by the spinning backfist of Chris Gutierrez last March. Brady was on TUF in 2021, made it to the finals but lost to Ricky Turcios. I do vaguely recall that being a lot of fun actually. He rebounded with a points win over Fernie Garcia in November. He’s 6-2 now and only 23 years old.

 

See you at the Apex then. 

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Edited by wandshogun09
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My ‘one to watch’ of Song Yadong vs Ricky Simon has been moved back a week to the April 29th card. It’s gonna headline that one now because the original Tsarukyan vs Moicano main event fell apart. This card could’ve really done without losing that fight. Here’s how the bout order’s looking a few days out. 

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It is now my hope that Song Yadong vs. Ricky Simon gets moved to an Abu Dhabi card where Yadong impresses all the emirs and sheikhs in attendance so much, they make him an honorary noble, and he will henceforth be forever known as...

 

😎

 

 

Sheikh Yadong.

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Sergei made a big statement in that victory. Your prediction of him being champ at the end of 23 seems a lot more realistic after this performance. If things work out timing wise, he could definitely be having a crack at it this year. Super impressive victory, he looked unstoppable. Would Bones Jones risk facing Sergei? I get the feeling the risk is far greater than the reward against a fairly unknown but super dangerous fighter like Sergei. The business side of Jones would rather vacate the title and have some super fights, rather than face this monster.

Tavares/Silva was definitely an early stoppage, in my opinion. Was a decent scrap up until that point. The Green and Wells fights were pretty fun too

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2 hours ago, Dai said:

Sergei made a big statement in that victory. Your prediction of him being champ at the end of 23 seems a lot more realistic after this performance. If things work out timing wise, he could definitely be having a crack at it this year. Super impressive victory, he looked unstoppable. Would Bones Jones risk facing Sergei? I get the feeling the risk is far greater than the reward against a fairly unknown but super dangerous fighter like Sergei. The business side of Jones would rather vacate the title and have some super fights, rather than face this monster.

I dunno. Whilst I don't subscribe to MMAths, I think Jones might have got over any uncertainty he might have had about heavyweights when he beat Cormier and Gane. Alright, Gane oddly gifted him the victory quickly, but it really showcased just how intelligent a fighter he is when he neutralised almost everything Cormier did.

Would love it if he did choose to face Pavlovich and get his head taken off, but I don't think it's such a certainty now that Jon Jones loses against heavyweights. I'd have particularly loved it he'd fought Ngannou and got smashed into nothingness, but he's demonstrated the kind of fight IQ that has me thinking he'd have figured out a way to shut down Big Fran's nukes. Probably by using that fucking reach and poking him in the eyes or something.

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It may not matter a jot anyway. This Jones/Stipe thing seems to be stalling big time. Who's to say it even happens this year now, never mind July. Sergei will have to fight at least once more is my gut on it. Against whatever old sack of spuds they can find hanging about. 

UFC maybe negotiate Jones/Stipe back on the table when they figure out McGregor won't actually fight this year. Should Stipe beat Jones, they will run it back in an automatic rematch. That is, If Stipe doesn't retire right after.

 

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2 hours ago, WeeAl said:

It may not matter a jot anyway. This Jones/Stipe thing seems to be stalling big time. Who's to say it even happens this year now, never mind July. Sergei will have to fight at least once more is my gut on it. Against whatever old sack of spuds they can find hanging about. 

UFC maybe negotiate Jones/Stipe back on the table when they figure out McGregor won't actually fight this year. Should Stipe beat Jones, they will run it back in an automatic rematch. That is, If Stipe doesn't retire right after.

 

Wait what's going on with the Jones vs stipe fight I thought it was set in july

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