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UFC 289: Nunes vs Aldana - Jun 10 🇨🇦


wandshogun09

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We’re off to Vancouver, Canada with this lot…

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PPV MAIN CARD
Amanda Nunes©️vs Irene Aldana - Bantamweight Title 

Charles Oliveira vs Beneil Dariush

Mike Malott vs Adam Fugitt 

Dan Ige vs Nate Landwehr

Eryk Anders vs Marc-Andre Barriault 

ESPN PRELIMS 
Nassourdine Imavov vs Chris Curtis

Jasmine Jasudavicius vs Miranda Maverick

Aiemann Zahabi vs Aoriqileng

Blake Bilder vs Kyle Nelson

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
David Dvorak vs Stephen Erceg

Diana Belbita vs Maria Oliveira 

 

First card in Canada since 2019! Mad really when you remember how much they loved the place a few years ago. Just hasn’t been the same since GSP retired. I’ve actually got family in Vancouver. I probably could’ve lined up a trip to see them with attending this show. But who’s risking that these days? The way things go now, chances are half the card falls apart before you even get off the plane. Again, not a mega stacked PPV or anything. Take off the top two fights and it’s Apex stuff. Hopefully those fights stay intact. The bout order is correct as I type this but I’ll edit as and when.

 

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Amanda Nunes vs Irene Aldana tops this one. Not a main event that’s gonna set the world on fire but it’s better than what we were gonna get, in my opinion. It was supposed to be Nunes vs Pena 3 but Pena’s pulled out. And that doesn’t upset me one bit. I got why they were doing that rubber match. There’s not much else to work with in either the women’s Bantamweight or Featherweight divisions so I can see why they went with the trilogy decider. But it just felt dead on arrival after the way the last fight went.

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Nunes battered Pena in their rematch back in July. It went the full 5 rounds and it was a complete and utter mauling. Nunes must’ve knocked her down 4 or 5 times in the first couple of rounds, there were 10-8 rounds in there, lots of blood, a total shutout on the scorecards. The only thing she didn’t do was get the finish. She claimed after that she deliberately carried Pena the 25 minute distance to prove a point and teach her a lesson but I’m not having that. As much as I can’t stand Pena, I’ll at least give her the credit for being tough enough to survive that beating. It must’ve been sweet, sweet redemption for Nunes though. After the craziness of Pena beating her the first time, then all the yapping she did between then and the rematch. It was satisfying as fuck for me just watching it so I can only imagine how it felt for Nunes to right that wrong and get that gold back.

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The most dominant champion in women’s MMA history. Crushed Miesha Tate at UFC 200 to win the belt, destroyed Ronda Rousey and ran her out of the sport, stood and traded bombs with Cyborg and knocked her out, was the first to knock out Holly Holm in MMA, beat Valentina Shevchenko twice, it’s been quite a ride. The one blip was that first Pena fight, and I still can’t wrap my head around how she managed to lose that one in such embarrassingly spectacular fashion. But she’s corrected that as well now. There’s really not much left for her to do. There’s been talk for a while that she’s probably retiring soon. Even before that loss to Pena those rumours were rumbling. I can’t see her fighting too much longer. I read recently that her and Nina are expecting a second baby as well so I reckon she’ll step away soon. She’s seemed a little bit disinterested for a while now and she definitely appears to have lost a step. Now with a second kid on the way, her focus is gonna be more and more on the home life and not hanging around sweaty gyms and trading punches. I’m guessing realistically, we’ll probably get a couple more fights tops out of her. And while there aren’t many opponents to get excited about now, I actually don’t mind this one at all.

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Of course, Irene Aldana was all set to headline the Apex card on May 20th in a rematch against Raquel Pennington. A fight no sod was clamouring for but it was most likely gonna be a #1 contenders fight so, if nothing else, there were at least some stakes to the matchup. But with Pena dropping off this card, it’s forced a reshuffle and here we are. Aldana’s no world beater and she has her flaws, but in a division as poor as women’s 135, she stands out a bit as an entertaining fighter. She’s 14-6 with 11 finishes and, like most Mexican fighters, she’s always game for a proper scrap. My first time seeing her was her UFC debut in 2016. She lost to Leslie Smith on points but it was a wild FOTN and she instantly made a fan out of me. Since then she’s armbarred Bethe Correia and put Ketlen Vieira and Yana Santos away with strikes. The Vieira KO was a nasty left hook that was about as good a one punch finish as I’ve seen in a women’s fight. Then in her last fight against Macy Chiasson in September, she went and did this…

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A fucking upkick to the liver of all things! Somewhere, Bas Rutten was looking on with a sadistic smile on his face. Chiasson was absolutely bollocksed after that. Done. Just brutal. She hasn’t had the strongest run of wins in terms of competition but she’s very rarely dull. And that goes a long way in that division. I like her. She has missed weight in the past though. I hope that’s not an issue here. The whole thing’s already been enough of a shitshow with the lack of depth at 135, then Pena pulling out. Hopefully it’s all straightforward from here.

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“I’m definitely very excited, I’m fighting the greatest of all time! I respect Amanda a lot, I’m grateful for the opportunity and we’re ready.” - Irene Aldana

I really like this fight, to be fair. Putting aside that it’s weak as a PPV main event for a second, which doesn’t effect us anyway because it’s not PPV in the UK. And OK it’s a weird fit for a Canada headliner. Purely as a fight, a pairing of styles, I think there’s legit potential fireworks here. Aldana comes to finish and we know how Nunes usually responds to that. You’ve got to favour Nunes but with retirement looming, a second baby coming, plus just some of the mad results we’ve seen particularly in the women’s title fights lately, I don’t know. I’m at the point where I don’t think I’d be massively shocked if Aldana pulled it off like her fellow Mexican buddy Alexa Grasso did against Shevchenko. Stranger things have happened. Fuck, stranger upsets have happened to Nunes herself! I read the other day that Raquel Pennington will be the official backup for this one, which makes sense as she’s really the only option right now. But yeah, people are gonna be down on it topping a PPV but I think this’ll be fun for as long as it lasts.

 

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Charles Oliveira vs Beneil Dariush is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** and the real main event for me. I’d usually try to highlight something lower down the card but this is the one as far as I’m concerned. One of those great fights where as long as this stays intact, I’m happy and the card is worthwhile. I don’t know yet if this is scheduled for 5 rounds or 3 but I hope it’s a 5 rounder. It just feels like it should be, doesn’t it? There’s actually some history here as well. Not in terms of bad blood or anything but they’ve been matched up together twice now but it hasn’t got over the line. October 2020 was when they were originally supposed to meet. That was just a Fight Night and I’m sure it was set to play second fiddle to Holm vs Aldana! Ridiculous. Then obviously, they were announced for UFC 288 in May. Both times Oliveira pulled out. Hopefully third time’s a charm here because this is such an interesting fight.

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Oliveira’s looking for some redemption here. The last time we saw him was October, getting dropped and submitted by Islam Makhachev in their big title fight in Abu Dhabi. It was a crushing defeat not just for the loss itself, but the way it happened. Makhachev beat him everywhere.

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Before that, Oliveira had put together a short but stupidly exciting run as champion which saw him finish Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje in consecutive bangers. That Makhachev loss snapped a strong 11 fight winning streak but Oliveira is a made man now regardless. That run to the title saw him finally get the respect he’s deserved for years. He’s become one of the most popular fighters on the roster and he deserves every bit of it. He’s been great to watch since he got in the door of the UFC all those years ago as a wet behind the ears 19/20 year old kid or whatever he was. And he seems like a lovely bloke as well. Always see stuff about him doing charity work in Brazil and he just always comes across as if he’s loving life. I’ll be honest though, as rebound fights go, this isn’t gonna be an easy one.

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Dariush is no joke. He’s been one of the more under-appreciated guys in the 155 division for a few years, in my opinion. It’s changed a little bit recently and he finally seems to making some headway. But he doesn’t quite get his due for me. Oliveira went through a very similar thing on his climb. I’d say Dariush now is about where Oliveira was when he got his big chance against Tony Ferguson. This is that fight for Dariush that could finally catapult him into an undeniable position in the title picture. He’s 34 years old now and looks like he’s in, or coming into, his prime. He’s a BJJ black-belt, 22-4-1 in MMA and on an 8 fight winning streak. Won a couple of fantastic fights against Carlos Diego Ferreira, has his own win over Ferguson etc. The only thing that’s really stifled his progress since has been injuries. He was supposed to fight Makhachev last year but suffered a leg injury. Shit like that. He did return in October though and looked great in his win over Mateusz Gamrot.

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That was on the undercard of the big Oliveira vs Makhachev clash and I remember going in, seeing a lot of fans dismissing Dariush. It seemed like either people were just underestimating him or the layoff made everyone forget. But the way he handled Gamrot was a bit of an eye opener and a real statement from Benny that he was still a force in the Lightweight ranks. Considering he’d been out well over a year going into that one, I thought he looked fantastic.

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Awesome fight this. Again, I hope they get 5 rounds. They might not need it but just incase. It feels like one of those fights that could be great over 3 rounds but fucking incredible over 5. And the last thing we want here is them having a mega competitive 15 minute fight that ends at a bit of a stalemate and really needs the extra 2 rounds. It’s a brilliant fight. I’m sure the vast majority will be predicting Charles by murder etc. I love him but some of the more recent bandwagon Oliveira fans are a bit much with that. He’s a tremendous fighter and he’s definitely levelled up over the last few years but he has his flaws like any fighter and he’s certainly not unbeatable. And looking at that loss to Makhachev, I can’t help thinking Dariush has the kind of grappling to also potentially give Charles issues. And people sleep on his striking as well. He could be a very tricky fight for Oliveira. I think I’m favouring Charles slightly, maybe, but it’s a risky one.

 

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Mike Malott vs Adam Fugitt looks well out of place on a PPV main card. Not sure this would even make the main card on most Fight Nights but there’s a good reason for it here. Malott’s Canadian. And to be fair, he looks decent from the little I’ve seen of him. If you recall, he scored a brutal first round faceplant KO against Mickey Gall in his UFC debut last year. He followed that up with a first round submission over Yohan Lainesse in February this year. So far, so good. He’s 9-1-1 overall now with all his wins coming inside the distance. Fugitt’s 9-3 with 8 finishes and got stopped by Michael Morales in his debut last summer. He rebounded with a TKO win over Yusaku Kinoshita early this year. Can’t say I remember a great deal about Fugitt but I suspect they’ve set this up, and especially looking at the card placement, to give the Canadian fans something to cheer about in the midcard of the PPV. For what it’s worth, I’ve seen both guys UFC fights and Malott’s are the ones that stuck in my memory. So there’s that.

 

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Dan Ige vs Nate Landwehr is essential viewing. I think anyone who’s seen anything of Nate The Train knows by now, when he’s on the card, you tune in. I like Ige as the opponent here as well though. He’s coming off a sweet knockout win over Damon Jackson in January. It was a result and finish that he badly needed coming off 3 straight losses. He’s a good fighter, has a win over Barboza, went 5 rounds with Kattar etc. But he’s hit a few roadblocks along the way. For now he’s back on track but…there’s a ‘Train’ joke in there somewhere.

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“I got a highlight reel like Evel Knievel, I got swagger like Elvis Presley, and I’ll be damned if I ain’t handsome.” - Nate Landwehr

Nate’s been a blast to watch so far in the UFC. He’s never gonna be champion or anything but he’s been one of the best additions to the roster in years for me. Non-stop entertainment, win or lose, and what a character! He’s 17-4 now, has won his last 3 in a row and got either FOTN or POTN bonuses for all 3 fights. His fight with David Onama last August was bonkers. Genuinely one of my favourite fights of 2022. Easy Top 10 for the year. Then he submitted Austin Lingo in March this year. He’s had his ups and downs but he’s building a bit of momentum now. I don’t expect it to last long but I hope they keep him around forever. Fuck the win/loss ratio. Give him an Alex Caceres run and just keep him around forever. This should be another fun one as well. It’s hard to think who they could throw Nate in with and not get something good out of it. Ige should make for an exciting matchup with him.

 

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Eryk Anders vs Marc-Andre Barriault is currently set to kick off the PPV. Again, seems a bit of a weird choice until you realise Barriault is Canadian. Not sure what to think about this fight. Anders does nothing for me these days. There was a time when I thought he might have some potential but we’re going back years. Back when he lost that decision against Lyoto Machida that many thought he won. He’s 36 now with a record of 15-7-0-1. He’s coming off a TKO win over Kyle Daukaus in December but, I don’t know, he’s just a name I see on a card now and kind of groan. Probably being a tad harsh but I just don’t really get why he’s still on the roster. Barriault’s the opposite. He’s a guy who came in and had a few dull fights and I just wrote him off as a boring bastard. But I’ve kind of done a 180 on him recently. Win or lose, he’s been much better to watch over his last few fights and he absolutely battered Julian Marquez in his last fight in March. Hoping Barriault sends Anders packing, to be honest.

 

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Nassourdine Imavov vs Chris Curtis feels like it should be higher up the card than this but whatever. Imavov let me down big time in his last fight, dropping a decision to fucking Sean Strickland in their Apex main event in January. We’ll never stop getting those Strickland 5 rounders when berks like Imavov are losing to him. Imavov did beat Joaquin Buckley in an enjoyable fight on the Paris card before that. And he stopped Edmen Shahbazyan and Ian Heinisch before that. He’s 12-4 now, not a bad fighter but not particularly good either from what I’ve seen. I expect him to settle in around the middle of the pack at 185, with the occasional unsuccessful step up in levels now and then. Curtis is 30-10 and coming off a points loss in a cracking fight against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 287 in April. That was a loaded card and they still got FOTN. He knocked Joaquin Buckley out prior to that and also has UFC wins over Brendan Allen and Rodolfo Vieira. Decent fight.

 

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Jasmine Jasudavicius vs Miranda Maverick isn’t doing much for me. But Jasudavicius is Canadian so maybe the crowd will be into it more and that will give the fight a little boost? She hasn’t looked great in the fights I’ve seen so far. She’s 34 years old, 8-2 with only 3 finishes and she’s beat Kay Hansen and Gabriella Fernandes so far in the UFC. She also got absolutely schooled by Natalia Silva in between those wins. I rate Silva so no shame there but Jasmine got seriously outclassed in that one. Almost embarrassingly so. Maverick’s a weird one for me. Results-wise she hasn’t done the best but watching her fights I’ve felt like there’s potential there. Little flashes of potential. She beat Shanna Young and Sabina Mazo in her last two, which is whatever. She also beat Gillian Robertson a couple of years ago, which is decent. Lost a split decision against Maycee Barber that I remember most, including me, had Maverick winning. And she went the distance with Erin Blanchfield, which isn’t ageing too badly. I don’t see her ever becoming a title threat but she’s still only 25 so she’s got some time to improve. If she can’t beat someone like Jasudavicius though, that’s obviously all bollocks.

 

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Aiemann Zahabi vs Aoriqileng should be worth a look. Zahabi will have the crowd support being Canadian, obviously. He’s had a very up and down run in the UFC. He came in with some interest around him, mostly because he’s the brother of MMA coach to the stars Firas Zahab, most known for his work with GSP. Aiemann was unbeaten when he made his UFC debut but it didn’t stay that way for long. His first loss came via spinning elbow KO of all things back in 2017. He’s 9-2 now and coming off wins over Drako Rodriguez and Ricky Turcios. So he’s clawed it back a bit. But at 35 years old now, he’s not going on some big run in a division as loaded as Bantamweight.

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The ‘Mongolian Murderer’ AKA Aoriqileng. Always got time for his fights. I don’t even know if I’m spelling his name right. Some places have it Aoriqileng, others have it Aori Qileng. Fuck knows? What I do know is he’s been fucking great to watch pretty much every time out since signing with the UFC. He’s 24-9 overall with 9 finishes. So he’s not some knockout or submission machine. But it’s definitely not for lack of trying. He stopped Cameron Else with a nasty body shot a couple of fights ago. And I bring it up every time he fights but if you never saw Aoriqileng vs Jeff Molina from UFC 261 in April 2021, get on Fight Pass immediately and give it a watch. I think that was my first time seeing either fighter, went in with zero expectations and it was such a great fight that both instantly became ‘must see’ TV for me.

 

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Blake Bilder vs Kyle Nelson is whatever. Not particularly arsed. Bilder didn’t really impress that much in his UFC debut from what I remember. He beat Shane Young on points on the Makhachev vs Volkanovski undercard in February and I just recall it being one of the only dull things on an otherwise excellent show. Maybe there’s better to come, to be fair. He’s undefeated at 8-0-1. But my first impression wasn’t the best. Nelson’s 13-5-1 and coming off a draw against the Korean Superboy in February. He’s gone a shitty 1-4-1 in the UFC since signing. Bit of a strange piece of matchmaking really because it’s clear they’re setting this up as a squash match but Nelson is Canadian. Why use him as a jobber in his own backyard?

 

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David Dvorak vs Stephen Erceg is one of those fights I’m pretty much going in blind on. It was supposed to be Dvorak vs Matt Schnell but that went tits up. Can’t remember much of Dvorak at all. I know I’ve seen him fight before but nothing is jumping out in the memory. He’s Czech, 20-5 and coming off back-to-back decision losses to Matheus Nicolau and Manel Kape. He was on a 16 fight win streak prior to that though and won his first 3 UFC fights. Erceg is making his debut here. Never seen him before but my first impression seeing his picture there is he looks like the love child of Kenny Florian and Ryan Hall. He’s 27 years old, Australian and has a 9-1 record with 7 finishes.

 

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Diana Belbita vs Maria Oliveira is nothing happening prelim fodder. I think I’ve seen all of their UFC fights and I don’t recall being impressed with either. Belbita is 26 years old, Romanian, with a record of 14-7 and 10 finishes. In the UFC she’s gone 1-4 so far with the only win being over Hannah Goldy, who’s cack. She lost a decision to Gloria De Paula in her last fight and that was February last year. So well over a year on the sidelines for her coming into this fight. Oliveira’s also 26, Brazilian and has a 13-6 record with 8 inside the distance. She’s gone 1-2 in the UFC and the win was a split decision over De Paula. She then lost her last fight against Vanessa Demopoulos in November. Man, I got bored even typing this. I’d say it’s probably a ‘loser leaves’ thing but it won’t be. Gotta keep them Apex cards stocked up!

 

289, eh? 

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Edited by wandshogun09
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  • wandshogun09 changed the title to UFC 289: Nunes vs Aldana - Jun 10 🇨🇦
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Absolutely zero buzz for this then 🤣 Remember the days when UFC PPV threads used to go 4 or 5 pages of just pre-fight talk before the show even took place? Even relatively thin cards like this used to get 2 or 3 pages. Not gonna deny or pretend this isn’t a fairly weak card overall. Could’ve done with one or two more quality main card fights and it’d have been fine but, looking at the full card now 24 hours out, it really is Oliveira vs Dariush doing all the heavy lifting here. With a little help from Ige vs Landwehr.

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The real main event. I still don’t know if this is 3 or 5 rounds but I think it’s 3. It’s probably been mentioned somewhere but I’ve missed it. My days of consuming every bit of buildup going into these things are long gone. I know the likelihood is they wouldn’t need 5 rounds anyway but that’s besides the point. It’s a fight that deserves 5 rounds and it’s always nice to have those 2 extra rounds there if they are needed. Oh well. 

Now we’re here, and they’ve had their face-off and weighed in, I’m feeling a bit more excited. Oliveira looks like he’s had a good weight cut for this, which obviously hasn’t always been the case. He came in at 154lbs and was smiling on the scales. Whatever he did this time seems to have worked for him. He looked good. Should be a fucking tremendous fight. Right up to the eve of the fight, I’m about 50/50 on who I actually think will win. 

Saw Dana was asked this week whether the winner would definitely be next in line for a title shot and, while he said “it would make sense”, he was still not committing and said “we’ll see how the fight goes”. I might be wrong but reading between the lines there, I reckon he basically means if Charles wins, he’ll get the title shot. But if Benny wins, they’re gonna give it to the winner of Poirier vs Gaethje 2. Just a gut feeling. We already know they wanted to do Makhachev vs Oliveira 2 as soon as January on the Brazil PPV but Oliveira wanted some time off. So they want that rematch. And I’m not sure they fancy having to try and sell a PPV with Makhachev and Dariush, who are great fighters but dry as toast personality-wise. It’s bollocks though. If anything, and I’m a bigger fan of Charles than Benny, I’d rather see Makhachev vs Dariush as the next title fight over Makhachev vs Oliveira 2 just yet.

As for the rest of the card tomorrow night, yeah it’s a bit bare bones. Ige vs Landwehr is the standout from the undercard. That should be a fun one. And I’m actually not as down on the main event as most seem to be. It feels weak as piss on top of a PPV but as a matchup of styles I can’t see it being boring. I think if it stays on the feet it’s gonna end violently and I’d actually give Aldana a decent chance. If Nunes plays it safe and goes the grappling route I think she probably gets the sub because Aldana’s lacking there.

So yeah not the best card. I’m basically looking at it as a Fight Night but with the added bonus of Charlie Olives vs Benny D and a title fight slapped on top. And to be fair, the card being in Canada should at least mean the crowd is hot. They’ve been starved of UFC cards for 4 years now. 

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Yeah Oliveira/Dariush is 3 rounds, should be 5 but I don't see it going 3 anyways.

I'm all in on it wand. Its a weak PPV offering but its still solid across the board. 

I've listened to a few previews and it seems a lot of peopl are siding with Aldana to pull off the upset in the main event. Decent price to be found on her too.

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Well, that was the oddest attempt ever at a retirement speech. "Fuck, guys, hide the scissors quick, she's trying to make a break for it with the belts."

"Damn it. She's done it. Shut the whole thing down, anything above 125 is a waste of time". 

I hope this sticks for Nunes. There's no better way to go out than at the top, similar to Georges & Khabib. Nice to see some of these fighters finish on top. 

Charles Oliveira is back to his best, or better. He looked fantastic out there. Physically and technically. The best shape I think he has ever been in. Dariush is as stiff a task as you can get and whilst Beneil was ahead and doing nothing wrong at the start of this one, Chucky Olives found another way. I can imagine after that performance that it's Oliveira/Islam part II up next. 

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Like a shite commentator once…or actually always said, “it is all over”…

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I know Amanda Nunes is a bit of a marmite fighter amongst the MMA fanbase but she’s undoubtedly the GOAT of the women’s side of the sport. I know that’s not as impressive as the men’s because it doesn’t have the depth of talent etc but she’s still had quite a run. And even the ‘marmite’ thing I’ve mentioned there, I think it’s bollocks myself. If you dislike her for her skillset then fine. She’s not a technical marvel. Personal taste etc. Whatever floats your boat. Personally I’ve enjoyed most of her run and, although she’s had some lacklustre title defences and that one shocking howler of a loss to Pena, she’s also given us some great moments. The destruction of Ronda Rousey was a massive moment in the history of women’s MMA, the one round shootout with Cyborg was insane, the rematch with Pena was hilarious etc. She doesn’t have the stellar resume of other fighters in the GOAT convo because she can’t. There isn’t the talent there to rack up a series of those type of wins. But she’s beat pretty much everyone who’s been available to her. I’ll be honest, I think the main reasons she even has haters at all is because 1) she’s gay and 2) she doesn’t look like Paige VanZant. Not saying that’s everyone who’s not a fan of her. She just might not be your cup of tea to watch for whatever reason. But I think the underlying main reasons are that she’s gay and doesn’t have the PVZ face and the big tits and arse bouncing all over her social media. Some of the hateful comments you see aimed at her are beyond just not being a fan of her fighting style. And it’s not like she comes across as an arsehole either. She’s not the most likeable fighter on the roster but she’s always seemed nice enough to me. Seeing her, Nina and their little girl dancing in the cage last night was a genuinely lovely moment.

Can’t hate on that. Hopefully she enjoys retirement. It’s been coming for a while. Think the rumours started around about the time she beat Megan Anderson. So we’re going back at least 2 years. Could’ve been sooner than that. Even before the Pena rematch last summer, she said something like “I can’t retire with Pena as champ” which told you she was already wanting out but felt like she had to hang around to avenge that loss. And even last night, yeah she won and she won handily. Aldana never won a round and there were a couple of 10-8s in there. But still, this and the Pena fight last time, these are fights she’d have likely ended within 2 rounds tops a few years ago. I think she’s been slowly declining physically for a while and I don’t think the desire to keep training and fighting is there like it used to be. With a young daughter and another baby on the way, I think her priorities have understandably changed and she’s not as committed to this stuff anymore. It’s nice that she’s recognised that and in a position to step away on her own terms. As we know, the vast majority of fighters either don’t get to do that or don’t seem to ever want to.

The negative to all this is that we’re now left with the absolute dregs of the women’s 135 division. Sounds like the 145 division is finally getting binned though. Dana was asked by the media post-fight and basically said ‘yeah, probably’. Still, the future is looking bleak for women’s Bantamweight.

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State of this. And some are actually lapping this up and acting like Nunes is running 🤣 from a woman she completely schooled not even a year ago. And let’s not forget, Nunes singed to fight Pena a third time on this card. It’s Pena who pulled out. But now she’s gonna use Nunes retiring as her whole gimmick. Fucking cringe. Pena’s shite. I saw all sorts of shit before and after last night with people hoping Nunes would retire, and then being happy when she did. Well, now you get what you wish for. A title picture consisting of Pena, Holm and Pennington. Party time! As half arsed as Nunes has looked at times towards the end of her career, it was still better than what we’ve got ahead. It’s not even like Pena’s ramblings are gonna make me wanna see her get beat up. I’ve already seen that. I just want her to shut up and piss off. I don’t think I’ve ever skipped a UFC title fight but that day is coming soon if we’ve got rotters like Pena vs Holm and Pena vs Pennington to look forward to. Apex shite dressed up as PPV title fights.

Charles Oliveira had about as perfect a bounce back off the Makhachev loss as he could’ve dreamed of. Feel a bit foolish now for banging on about wishing they got 5 rounds. Done in one…

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There was always the chance it might go like this just because Charles is such a finisher. But I really didn’t see it playing out like this at all. Thought it would be a mega competitive fight and I felt like Dariush might’ve been a really tricky rebound fight for Oliveira. And Dariush was doing alright early on. Oliveira finishing him in a round wasn’t what I expected though. Got to say, it was nice to see Charles get a win without having to walk through fire to get there for a change. Usually he gets dropped or badly rocked at least once. Seeing him come out basically without a scratch on him was quite refreshing. Finish was sweet as well. I think Dariush has enough about his ground game where he would’ve probably been able to tie up a lot of opponents and recover but Charles did a fantastic job of not allowing himself to get tangled up and just kept on the attack.

Bittersweet really. Like I said going in, I’m definitely more of a fan of Oliveira than Dariush so the result doesn’t upset me one bit. But I really liked the idea of Makhachev vs Dariush. I was buzzing for it when it was signed early last year before it fell apart and I’d have been well up for it if he’d beat Charles last night. I still think it’d be an interesting matchup just because of the styles but the loss last night, and even more the way he lost, has well scuppered that for the foreseeable now. And at 34, I’m not even sure Benny can work his way back now. In theory he can. He was ranked #4 going into this one, he’s still gonna be Top 5 or just outside it when they update the rankings. But he’s not the type who’s gonna be back in the mix with one win like Charles here. It’s taken him long enough to get to this point, he’s gonna be several steps back now. Can see him just being used in the Magny role to test the up and comers the big names at 155 don’t fancy fighting. Which is a shame really but I can see that being how the rest of his career plays out. Already seen Arman Tsarukyan angling for a fight with him. If/when he squashes Joaquim Silva next week I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that’s the next move.

5 hours ago, WeeAl said:

I can imagine after that performance that it's Oliveira/Islam part II up next. 

Yeah, Dana’s already said that’s the plan. The talk is that it’ll go down in Abu Dhabi in October. So exactly a year after the first fight, in the same place. If Oliveira can go back and avenge that loss it’ll be some story. But I don’t see it myself. I’m seeing all kinds of takes on it today, people acting like last night’s win proves Charles wasn’t right against Makhachev. But I’m not sure I buy it. He did seem to have great preparation for this one and clearly had a good weight cut this time but the main difference between this fight and his previous fight is he was fighting Dariush here and not Makhachev. He can beat Makhachev. I do believe that. But I don’t think it’s the most likely outcome. It might not be as one sided next time but I think we’ll see the same end result. Maybe I’m wrong and that’ll be even better. If Charles goes and beats Islam next time, then it’s 1-1 and we get the get the trilogy decider. But I can’t see it myself.

I think Charles loses the Islam rematch and pretty much settles into the ‘fun fights’ phase of his career. Not that he’s not always fun to watch but you know what I mean. I just hope we get to see him fight Volkanovski at some point, while they’re both on top form. And I still really wanna see Oliveira vs Holloway 2 as well. It’s kind of weird that the 2 fights I wanna see him in most are against Featherweights but there you go. I wouldn’t be a bit offended at seeing him smack McGregor about before it’s all said and done either. Plus it’d be nice to see Olives get that payday.

I’m kind of liking the look of Mike Malott so far. That’s 3-0 in the UFC with 3 finishes now. None of them high level but so far, so good and he’s beating the lower level opposition the way a prospect should. Although he’s 31 now so the prospect tag seems a bit weird. Regardless, he’s doing alright for himself.

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Nice. I think it’s time for a bit of a step up now though. Not a major jump in competition but something a bit tougher. He’s breezing through this ham and egger level.

This during his entrance was mad though…

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Christ 😬 Malott must’ve had some serious tunnel vision to just casually stroll past that and barely blink. What a crazy situation that could’ve been if they fell on Malott, injured him and he had to be pulled from the fight. During his walkout! Thankfully they said nobody got hurt.

Dan Ige had one of his better overall performances in some time. Just a shame it came at the expense of Nate The Train. Solid fight though. Nate definitely had his moments but there was no doubt Ige was the winner when it was all said and done. He was just landing the cleaner, more hurtful shots more consistently, had the knockdown etc. Nate was game as ever and showed a lot of toughness but still Ige just looked a bit too sharp for him here.

Barriault vs Anders was actually quite an enjoyable PPV opener. Whether it was the Canadian crowd elevating it because they were all in for their guy or what, it surpassed my expectations. Barriault has become decent to watch, to be fair, after a couple of snoozers early in his UFC stint. He dragged Anders to maybe the best fight of his career here. Wasn’t a classic or anything. I’ll probably forget it even happened by about Wednesday. But it was better than I expected. They got FOTN, which sounded off to me at first but, really, there weren’t any other great fights on this card. Happy to see Barriault get the bonus though.

Imavov vs Curtis ending was unfortunate. Was a so-so fight up until the head clash but seemed like it was just starting to warm up when they cracked heads. Might as well just do the rematch when they’re both healthy again. There’s not really another obvious fight for either right now and this one was unsettled. Definitely the right call by the ref to stop it. Live to fight another day and just rebook it when they’re both good to go again. Curtis begging the ref not to stop the fight was all well and good but as soon as you say you can’t see you’re really giving the ref no option but to pull the plug.

Jasmine Jasudavicius had her moment in front of the home Canadian crowd. I’ve said a few times that I think there’s some potential there in Miranda Maverick but, having watched this fight, I take it back. She’s never gonna amount to anything. She’s not the worst fighter in the division, nowhere near, but Jasudavicius really isn’t that good yet Maverick made her look like a fringe contender here. Nice moment for Jasmine and I liked seeing her happiness and energy post-fight but I think this is about as good as it’s getting for her. When she eventually gets released with a 50/50 record this night will probably have been her peak.

Gutted with the Aiemann Zahabi KO. Nothing even against Helwani’s doppelgänger but I was sad to see Aoriqileng get put away in seconds like that.

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😞 Been a fan since that killer fight with Jeff Molina a couple of years back but he’s had a mixed run of results since signing with the UFC. He finally put a couple of wins together and Zahabi’s gone and fucked it all up for him. Fair play to Zahabi though. Seems a decent enough guy and he’s rebounded nicely from those couple of losses early in his UFC run.

Kyle Nelson scored a crowd pleasing bit of an upset against unbeaten Blake Bilder. Not a bad fight, to be fair. And certainly better to watch than Bilder’s dishwater dull debut. Not gonna pretend I was particularly arsed about this fight but it was nice to see Nelson get that win on Canadian soil.

If you skipped the Fight Pass prelims, Stephen Erceg’s debut is worth a look. UFC debut, on short notice and beats the #10 ranked guy in the division in Dvorak. Good going. Thought the 30-27 was off but the right man won regardless. Only problem is, beating a Top 10 opponent your first night in means you’re gonna be matched tough from here on in. We’ll soon find out if he’s ready, I guess.


Not the best show but between Nunes retiring and Oliveira’s resurgence it was fairly eventful. Good night for the Canadians as well. Think they said they went 6-0 in the end. All in all though, it was lacking something. Similar with 288 last month. The two PPVs in July should be a big time return to form though. Both 290 and 291 look incredible.

Edited by wandshogun09
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Surely we'll see Valentina have another crack at the Bantamweight title now? Has her rematch with my girl Alexa Grasso being booked yet? 

I'm cool with Nate The Train (Baby!) hovering around the rankings and just having fun fights. 

Edited by Panhead
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1 hour ago, Panhead said:

Surely we'll see Valentina have another crack at the Bantamweight title now? Has her rematch with my girl Alexa Grasso being booked yet? 

Not officially but I did see this the other day.

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That seems like the likely destination for Grasso vs Shev 2 to me.

Can’t help thinking they’ve dropped the ball with this though. Years ago the talk was always that they were desperate to have a Mexican champion and properly blow up in that market. They had Cain for a bit but he was about to fall to bits physically. Now they’re at a point where they’ve got two Mexican champions in Grasso and Moreno. And not just that, both are extremely likeable, both are exciting to watch and both were unlikely champions and great success stories. Not to mention at the same time they’ve got Yair as interim champ at 145, although he’s about to catch a beating off Volk in a few weeks. Now seems like the time they should be trying to hold a card in Mexico but instead they’ve booked Moreno and Yair on 290 and Grasso is probably gonna rematch Shevchenko on this September card in Vegas. 

Feels like they’re repeating the same missed opportunity they had of potentially holding a card somewhere in Africa when they had all 3 of Ngannou, Adesanya and Usman holding UFC gold. There was a window of time there when they could’ve held an absolutely mega card. I know the logistics of it all mightn’t be ideal but they just don’t seem to give a shit anymore about creating special events or really doing anything other than staying in Vegas, scattering a few cards in other US cities and charging extortionate prices at the O2 in London twice a year. They never went to Hawaii during BJ Penn’s or Max Holloway’s respective reigns. Never capitalised on the Ngannou, Izzy, Usman thing. Now the same with the Mexicans. They’ll shuffle shit around when it’s a UK fighter like Leon Edwards becoming champ because it’s easy. But if anything requires a bit more effort or creativity, they don’t seem arsed these days. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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On 6/11/2023 at 10:01 PM, wandshogun09 said:

Feels like they’re repeating the same missed opportunity they had of potentially holding a card somewhere in Africa when they had all 3 of Ngannou, Adesanya and Usman holding UFC gold. There was a window of time there when they could’ve held an absolutely mega card. I know the logistics of it all mightn’t be ideal but they just don’t seem to give a shit anymore about creating special events or really doing anything other than staying in Vegas, scattering a few cards in other US cities and charging extortionate prices at the O2 in London twice a year. They never went to Hawaii during BJ Penn’s or Max Holloway’s respective reigns. Never capitalised on the Ngannou, Izzy, Usman thing. Now the same with the Mexicans. They’ll shuffle shit around when it’s a UK fighter like Leon Edwards becoming champ because it’s easy. But if anything requires a bit more effort or creativity, they don’t seem arsed these days. 

This stuff is really frustrating. Sad as it is, there's not many things I enjoy more in life than when UFC is at its absolute best, with a star in front of a home town/country crowd that are going crazy. It just hasn't happened anywhere near as often as it could have done.

As discussed in the Apex thread, even a local fighter that's not ranked fighting at "home" makes such a difference to my personal enjoyment of the fight, and I know I'm not alone in this. 

Maybe I'm just being a bit entitled, but Dana likes to bang on about giving the fans what they want, do it then you high blood pressure bastard! 

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Just looked at the Nunes wiki to see the run of wins she had, and seeing it on paper makes it look really impressive. The early stage had her absolutley mauling her opponents...Baszler, McMann, Ronda, Tate, Pennington and Cyborg. In between all this she beats Valentina twice. Theres even a Holly Holm KO on the record which I dont reallt remember, but still very impressive. There was a couple of stinkers after this, but then she made mince meat of Megan Anderson. Then the Pena fights. Shes definately slowed down over the years, but during that main run she was phenominal, and definately had an invincible aura about her, something very few fighters have ever had.

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Valentina/Pena for the vacant belt?

Pena has been chirping on line that Nunes is running scared etc. which obviously is bollocks but Pena is probably the smarter 'worker' in the women's game, she knows what she's doing. She has to be a shoe-in the vacant belt fight.

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