Paid Members wandshogun09 Posted May 1 Paid Members Share Posted May 1 (edited) We’re back at David’s favourite venue, the Apex, for this one. Try to contain your excitement. ESPN MAIN CARD Mackenzie Dern vs Angela Hill Edmen Shahbazyan vs Anthony Hernandez Emily Ducote vs Loopy Godinez Andre Fialho vs Joaquin Buckley Michael Johnson vs Carlos Diego Ferreira ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS Maheshate Hayisaer vs Viacheslav Borshchev Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs Vanessa Demopoulos Orion Cosce vs Gilbert Urbina Ilir Latifi vs Rodrigo Nascimento Chase Hooper vs Nick Fiore Victoria Leonardo vs Natalia Silva Takashi Sato vs Themba Gorimbo Reeks of Apex this. Couple of half decent fights on there but it’s really not doing much for me as an overall card. I actually get the thinking behind this main event but, still, it doesn’t make this one very appealing. Hilarious that they’re usually so lazy and repetitive with the poster designs yet when they finally do a decent one, it’s for this fight. Mackenzie Dern vs Angela Hill is the new main event. Don’t know if it’s 5 rounds now, still 3 or what? Who really gives a shite? It’s just been moved back a week from the Charlotte card because they needed Aldana for the title fight at 289. As a matchup itself it’s nothing to write home about but I don’t hate it. Dern’s on the rebound here after losing a close decision to Yan Xiaonan in their main event back in October. I think I had that one scored a draw but it went down as a win for Yan so that’s that. Dern dropped to 1-2 in her last 3 with that result so she’s got her work cut out now to try and get back in the title race. She’s got undeniable skills, obviously a stellar grappling base and she’s marketable. A couple of strong performances and wins and she’ll be right back on track. Even in that loss to Yan, I thought she held up better in the later rounds than she did in her 5 rounder against Marina Rodriguez a year earlier. But she needs to be making a statement here. Hill had one of her better showings in a long time in her last fight, outstriking Emily Ducote to a decision win. She beat Loopy Godinez before that as well. At 38 years old though, and with a shitty 15-12 record, she’s on borrowed time. Can’t see her fighting too much longer. I’d expect Dern to be winning this one. If she can’t get the takedown it’s gonna be rough for her but I’d be a bit surprised if she doesn’t end this one by submission. Edmen Shahbazyan vs Anthony Hernandez is a good fight and one I quite like the sound of. I like the timing of it as well. Shahbazyan finally snapped that awful 3 fight losing streak in his last fight in December. He got the TKO over Dalcha Lungiambula and banked a POTN cheque for his efforts. He really needed that win. He’d genuinely looked like a serious prospect at one time, going 11-0 with 10 finishes at the start of his career and still in his very early 20s. He looked really promising. But it went tits up when he ran into Derek Brunson, Jack Hermansson and Nassourdine Imavov in consecutive fights in 2020/21. His grappling and cardio issues got exposed big time in those defeats but he finally clawed that win back in December so we’ll see what he can do from here. He’s still only 25. Hardly on the scrapheap, is he? But the shine has definitely come off. And Hernandez is no joke. If Shahbazyan still has the stamina issues and has problems with guys who push the pace, Hernandez could give him another rude awakening here. He put in probably the best overall performance of his career in his last fight in September. He schooled Marc-Andre Barriault in pretty much every aspect of the fight and just overwhelmed him. That slam was fucking brutal as well. Actually put a dent in the Octagon floor, for fuck’s sake! He also had that shock submission over BJJ beast Rodolfo Vieira a couple of fights ago as well. He’s had his share of setbacks himself but he’s been looking on point recently. He’ll be well up for this so we’ll see how Edmen responds. Interesting one. I do think there’s better to come from Edmen and maybe now he doesn’t have the pressure of being ‘the undefeated prospect’ it’ll free him up to grow as a fighter. But he’s got to be beating these tough scrappers like Hernandez if he’s gonna get properly back on track. Emily Ducote vs Loopy Godinez isn’t much of a fight but it’s far from the worst on this card. Although that probably says more about how shallow the card is than anything else. It was supposed to be Ducote vs Polyana Viana but Viana’s off the card now. Ducote is 12-7 and a former Invicta Strawweight champion. She beat Jessica Penne on points in her UFC debut last July but dropped a decision to Angela Hill in her last fight in December. Loopy steps in on a few weeks notice. She’s jumped in a few times now for this short notice fights and I’m sure she’s in the matchmakers good books as a result. But that’s short term goodwill. Long term, I really think it’s hindered her. She’s shown flashes of real potential and in certain fights she’s looked like a real prospect. But the thing holding her back is her inconsistency. And I can’t help but think that her willingness to hop in as a replacement has played a big part in that inconsistency. She’s 9-3 now and coming off a split decision over Cynthia Calvillo at UFC 287 in May. Andre Fialho vs Joaquin Buckley is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. Obviously there isn’t much to choose from but this should be pure violence. I’ve really enjoyed watching these two pretty much every time I’ve seen them so I’m all for this piece of matchmaking. Fialho had a busy 2022. He was mega active, fighting 4 times in the first 6 months of the year. He had 3 fights in about an 8 week spell at one point. I think it was kind of counterproductive though. He did score a couple of brutal knockouts over Miguel Baeza and Cameron VanCamp, and got POTN bonuses for both. So I get why he wanted to keep the momentum rolling. But he ended up getting stopped by Jake Matthews and Muslim Salikhov after that. And the Salikhov loss was especially rough. He took a bit of a hiding in that one. Exciting fighter to watch and a tough fucker but I think he’s already pretty much found his level. Buckley’s coming off a couple of losses himself and got knocked out by Chris Curtis last time out in December. Like Fialho though, he brings it and he’s dangerous. Obviously that mad enziguri kick KO will always be the thing most remember him for from here on out. You score a knockout like that, it’s pretty much your calling card for life. Not sure how this goes but it should be a bit of a bombfest however long it lasts. Looking forward to it. Michael Johnson vs Carlos Diego Ferreira is a weird one. The Lightweight division seems to have passed these two by at this point. But there’s something about this fight I like. Johnson must have one of the strangest records in UFC history. He’s 21-18 but you look at some of the names on his resume and you’ll see wins over Tony Ferguson, Dustin Poirier, Edson Barboza and Joe Lauzon. But then you look at the losses and you see the likes of Darren Elkins, Stevie Ray, Thiago Moises and Jamie Mullarkey have beaten him. Make it make sense. No rhyme or reason. On his good nights he’s genuinely looked like a legitimate contender. But then there’s those ‘off’ nights. Even in some of his losses he’s shown flashes of what he’s capable of. He gave Justin Gaethje a hell of a scrap in Gaethje’s UFC debut years ago. He’s got the skills. But for whatever reason, it just hasn’t panned out and he’s been unable to find any real consistency or build momentum. And Ferreira’s a guy I’ve always had a soft spot for. He’s had some decent wins, the standout being his submission over Anthony Pettis in 2020. And he had a couple of belting fights against Beneil Dariush. But he’s found himself in a slump recently. He’s lost 3 in a row coming into this one. All tough opponents but he really needs to make something happen here. They’re both late 30s and both on a dodgy run of form. Not quite sure what we’re getting out of this but, yeah, it’s a pairing I like the sound of for some reason. Maheshate Hayisaer vs Viacheslav Borshchev then. Fuck knows at this point? China’s Maheshate is 23 years old with a 9-2 record. He made his Octagon debut at UFC 275 in Singapore last June and really couldn’t have wished for a much better intro to the big stage. He sparked Steve Garcia out cold just over a minute into the fight and completely faceplanted him. Shades of Paul Daley’s KO against Scott Smith in Strikeforce way back. But he followed that up with a points loss against Rafa Garcia in a total bloodbath in December. Slava Claus is back. Really like him but, after a solid start, his UFC stint has really gone down the shitter. He knocked out Chris Duncan on DWCS and then stopped Dakota Bush with a nasty body shot in his UFC debut. And it’s been downhill ever since. Marc Diakiese exposed his lack of wrestling in their fight last March and completely shut him down en route to an easy decision win. Then Mike Davis pretty much did the same in October. There’s still fun to be had if they can find an opponent who will stand and trade with Slav, and maybe Maheshate is that guy. But his lack of anything resembling grappling has been made so apparent that the blueprint is out there now and anyone with even a half decent double leg and a basic understanding of top control would be a fool not to exploit that. I like Slav a lot. It’s just a shame he’s not…well, good. Like I say though, maybe Maheshate is a better style matchup for him. Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs Vanessa Demopoulos is just there really but I like Kowalkiewicz so I hope she wins. It’s been nice to see her bit of a mini career resurgence lately. She had that horrible stretch a while back where she lost 5 in a row, took a lot of damage and seemed to take the slump really hard. She took some time out and returned last year and beat Felice Herrig and Silvana Gomez Juarez. OK, not outstanding wins but it’s been cool to see her get back in the win column. She’s 37 now and the Strawweight division has kind of left her behind. It’s all diminishing returns but hopefully she can finish up her career on a bit of a positive note. Demopoulos is another fight I think she can win but we’ll see. She’s 9-4 and coming off 3 wins but she’s nothing special. The fact she was taken to a split decision by last legs Jinh Yu Frey a couple of fights ago speaks volumes. She’s had a couple of fairly entertaining fights at a low level in the UFC and she had a 5 round scrap with Loopy Godinez in LFA that I’ve been meaning to check out. So this could be better than you’d think. But I’m not expecting much really. Hopefully Kowalkiewicz can keep the little win streak going a bit longer. Orion Cosce vs Gilbert Urbina. Might be alright, not particularly fussed. Cosce came in undefeated off DWCS along with his brother but got stopped by Phil Rowe in his UFC debut. He came back in July after a year layoff and beat Mike ‘Blood Diamond’ Mathetha on points in a fun fight. Cosce’s 8-1 now with 7 finishes. Urbina’s 6-2 and was on TUF in 2021. He made it to the finals but got submitted by Bryan Battle. Not sure what to make of him. He turned pro all the way back in 2014 but hasn’t been very active at all. From 2015 on, he hasn’t fought more than once in a year. And there’s been a few 2 year layoffs in there. Like here. He hasn’t fought since the loss to Battle in 2021. Don’t know what he’s playing at. Only 27 years old but he never fights. Bit surprised they’ve even kept him on the roster, to be honest. Ilir Latifi vs Rodrigo Nascimento is OK, I guess. Can’t say I’m particularly looking forward to it but we’ll see how it plays out. We’ve had worse Heavyweight fights on recent cards. A lot worse. I thought Latifi retired after his last fight though? He beat Alexey Oleynik on points in October and strongly hinted that he was done after and seemed quite emotional. Yet here we are. He turns 40 in July and, although he’s coming off a couple of wins, it’s going nowhere really. There’s been a lot of talk of the UFC doing a Sweden card this summer though so my guess is he’s holding on to do his swansong properly there. Makes sense. Good old ‘Some Fucker’. A UKFF favourite. Nascimento is only 30, which is practically a kid by HW standards. He’s 9-1-0-1 with 8 finishes and is more of a grappler/submission specialist. Hasn’t done anything of real note yet. His best wins are a submission over Don’Tale Mayes and a split decision over Tanner Boser. So he hasn’t exactly got the Top 5 trembling. I actually think this is another one that old man Latifi can win. Like with the Oleynik fight, I just don’t see how submission artists can tackle Latifi. How do you choke someone with no neck? Or armbar someone with T-Rex arms? He’s just a funny shape. Chase Hooper vs Nick Fiore. Sigh. I know I sound like I’m being harsh but I was hoping they’d cut Hooper loose after his last fight. I don’t dislike him at all but it’s felt for a long time like the UFC move came too soon for him and it’s doing him more harm than good. He’s 11-3-1 now and has lost 2 of his last 3. Just got battered in about 90 seconds by Steve Garcia in October. Poor get. I know he’s still only 23 and there’s time for him to improve and develop but, I’ve said it before, I just don’t think he’s gonna be able to do that while he’s actually in the UFC. I get that it’s probably really cool being in the UFC when you’re 23 years old but long term I think it’s probably counterproductive and stifling his progress. I don’t know, maybe he’s just never gonna be that good. But I feel like if he’s gonna maximise his chances to do well, he could probably do with going away and gaining experience on smaller shows and then trying to make a comeback later. Whatever. Fiore’s 25 years old and 6-1 with all his wins coming inside the distance. He lost a decision in his UFC debut against Mateusz Rebecki in January. From what I recall it was a shitty boring fight where Rebecki just outwrestled him to the scorecards so we never got to see much of Fiore’s game. Victoria Leonardo vs Natalia Silva has my attention and it’s got fuck all to do with Leonardo. She’s looked very average so far. 9-4 record and her best win is her decision over Mandy Bohm last time out. Every time she’s stepped up against an Erin Blanchfield or Manon Fiorot or even a Melissa Gatto or Miranda Maverick, she’s not only lost she’s been finished. I don’t think this is ending well for her either. The last time we saw Natalia Silva, that happened. Just wrecked Tereza Bleda with that spinning kick to the mush. There was some luck there. I think it’s pretty clear that Silva was throwing it to the body and Bleda made the terrible mistake of ducking right into it. But what a finish. She utterly schooled Jasmine Jasudavicius in her UFC debut before this as well. She’d been inactive since 2019 prior to that so I didn’t know what to expect but she’s looked great so far. Granted it’s been at a low level, it remains to be seen how she does as she steps up. But so far, so good. Still only 25 as well. One to keep an eye on in the Flyweight division. The addition of her and Yazmin Jauregui to the roster last year has kind of restored a little bit of my faith in women’s MMA. Takashi Sato vs Themba Gorimbo should be entertaining prelim filler. Sato’s 15-6 with 13 finishes. He’s a hard hitter and aggressive but results really haven’t gone his way in the UFC. He’s 2-4 since signing and he’s lost his last 3 in a row. I’d say this is a must win for him but with all these Apex cards they have to fill now, he’ll probably get another shot regardless. There’s a bunch of dull no hopers I’d sack before him anyway. I’m a bit less familiar with Gorimbo but he’s 10-4 with 7 finishes and got subbed by AJ Fletcher in his UFC debut a few months ago. That’ll do. Edited May 16 by wandshogun09 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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