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UFC Vegas: Strickland vs Magomedov - Jul 1 🇺🇸


wandshogun09

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Posted (edited)

Apex main events 🤝 Sean Strickland snoozers…

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ESPN MAIN CARD
Sean Strickland vs Abus Magomedov 

Damir Ismagulov vs Grant Dawson 

Max Griffin vs Michael Morales 

Ariane Lipski vs Melissa Gatto 

Benoit Saint-Denis vs Ismael Bonfim 

Nursulton Ruziboev vs Brunno Ferreira 

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS 
Kevin Lee vs Rinat Fakhretdinov 

Yana Santos vs Karol Rosa 

Joanderson Brito vs Westin Wilson

Guram Kutateladze vs Elves Brener

Ivana Petrovic vs Luana Carolina 

Alexandr Romanov vs Blagoy Ivanov   

 

Bit of a weird looking card really but whatever. By Apex standards it’s not that bad. Not sure what to make of that main event or their thinking behind it but there’s just enough on this card overall to make it worthwhile setting it to record.


 

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Sean Strickland vs Abus Magomedov tops the bill. Really odd main event this. Like it or not (and I think I’ve made it quite clear I fucking don’t) Strickland has become Fight Night main event level. He’s arse to watch in the cage and even worse out of it but 4 out of his last 5 fights were Apex main events so that’s that now. He’s Apex Boy from here on out. Whenever the UFC finally moves on from holding shows at that soulless dump, if they ever do, I’ll always look back on this period of time and associate boring, lifeless Strickland 5 rounders with it more than anything. He’s synonymous with the Apex now. The first face I see when I think of the WWF’s ‘Attitude Era’ is Stone Cold Steve Austin. The first face I’ll see when I remember the UFC’s ‘Apex Era’ will always be this shithead…

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Can’t even be arsed to go into all the shite again about why I think he’s an insufferable twat. It’s all common knowledge to the handful of you who will read this anyway. But yeah, there are zero redeeming qualities to Strickland for me. He’s not a terrible fighter, in that he’s capable enough of beating a lot of guys to a certain point. He’s fairly effective at what he does. But he’s never gonna go any higher than he is now really. And purely as a viewer, he’s generally rotten to watch. I think the fact he’s even had the bit of success he’s had is largely because the Middleweight division isn’t that deep on talent these days. He’s managed to string together a 26-5 record but yeah, he’s Mr Apex. Like I said 4 of his last 5 were Apex headliners, the only one that was in front of a crowd was when Alex Pereira sparked him at UFC 276 last July. Since then he’s been back at the Apex where he belongs. He lost a split decision in a snoozer against Jared Cannonier in December, then won a lacklustre decision over Nassourdine Imavov in January. He’s actually brought in an old pal to help him train for this one…

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Yep. Pereira’s been sparring him. What’s that old saying, “if you can’t beat them, suck up to them and try to make friends so you never have to fight them again”? Something like that. In theory it’s a good move. If you can put aside a bruised ego, someone who beat you before could be a big help in terms of recognising your flaws and tightening up your weaknesses etc. And no doubt a striker the calibre of Pereira is always gonna be someone you can learn from. But depending how training goes, it could also have the opposite effect. I know sparring is different than full on fighting (unless you’re Chute Boxe) but if Pereira’s in there every day just outclassing Strickland and basically just softening him up, that could fuck with him physically and mentally. Hope Pereira drops the association soon though because I like him and him hanging around with Strickland really isn’t a good look.

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Abus Magomedov is a bit of a mystery. He’s the reason I said it was a strange choice of main event. Not a knock on him. I haven’t seen enough of him to form an opinion, good or bad. And that’s kind of my point. He’s just got in the door. We’ve barely seen him. He’s fought once in the UFC so far, almost a year ago, and it lasted seconds. So for them to just throw him into a main event now seems quite weird. He’s Dagestani/German, 32 years old and has a record of 25-4-1 with 20 finishes. Fought a bit in PFL and KSW. He actually got signed by the UFC a while back but his debut kept getting delayed due to Visa issues. He finally made it to the Octagon on the Paris card last September and…

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Obliterated poor Dustin Stoltzfus in just 19 seconds. He really couldn’t have dreamed of a better way to debut. Not much to go on there in terms of predicting this fight with Strickland. But he made quite a first impression. These days there’s so many shows and the roster is such a revolving door that it’s hard to stand out. So a debut like that is ideal. And it’s landed him a big opportunity here in just his second fight in the UFC. For all my criticism of Strickland, he’s got a bit of a name now and a following (for some reason) so if Magomedov can get a win out of this, and especially if he stops Strickland, it puts him in a very strong position early into his run. As I type this, Strickland’s currently ranked #7 at Middleweight and Magomedov isn’t even ranked yet. So a win here would shoot him straight into the rankings and probably the Top 10. I hope he does it as well. That 19 second debut was more enjoyable than any of Strickland’s wins that I’ve seen. I’d love to see this guy flatten Strickland and send him on a downward spiral back down the ladder. More than anything though, I just hope he can make it watchable. Last thing we need is another typical 5 rounds of ‘Psycho Sean’ lightly sparring like he doesn’t wanna do harm to anyone.

 

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Damir Ismagulov vs Grant Dawson is alright. Not in love with it but it’ll do. I was a bit surprised when I saw this was announced, to be honest. Ismagulov actually retired after his last fight. He lost a decision against Arman Tsarukyan in December and said he was done after that. Then shortly after, this fight got made. Apparently, he’s since said he has one more fight on his UFC contract and wanted to honour it before officially calling it a day. Fair enough. This is that fight.

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Bit sad to see him go really. For a while he was just another name on a bloated roster to me and I didn’t take that much notice when his fights came and went. His fight with Guram Kutateladze last year changed that though. I loved that one. One of the best, overlooked fights of 2022 for me, easy. If you didn’t watch it and you’ve got Fight Pass, get on it. Banger. Then came the Tsarukyan loss and now this is his retirement fight. I just start to become a fan and he’s off. Only 32 as well. Shame but if his heart isn’t in it then it’s probably for the best. Think he’s had a few health problems as well so that’ll be a factor. Hopefully he can go out in another good fight here. I’d like to see him finish up on a win but Dawson could be an awkward fight. He’s gone under the radar a bit and I don’t see him going much further than he is now but he’s put together a solid 19-1-1 record and hasn’t lost since 2016. He’s submitted Jared Gordon and Mark Madsen in his last couple of outings. Not bad. I remember he called out what’s left of Tony Ferguson after his last win though and that’s never a good look these days. Between that and it being Ismagulov’s swansong, it’s an easy choice to make. Team Damir!

 

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Max Griffin vs Michael Morales is gonna be worth a look. Griffin’s never been a world beater and, at 37, he’s not about to go on some late run at UFC gold. But he’s a tough guy, has experience, has wins over Carlos Condit and Tim Means and has been in with the likes of Neil Magny, Thiago Alves and Colby Covington. He’s 19-9 now and probably on the closing stretch of his career but he’s no mug. He’s at the point now where he’s a bit of a journeyman and a decent test for the up and comers. And that’s what we’ve got here…

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Morales turns 23 the week before this fight. He’s from Ecuador and has a perfect record of 14-0 with 12 inside the distance. He turned some heads on DWCS in 2021, put Trevin Giles away in his UFC debut and stopped Adam Fugitt in his next fight. He’s been out a year now, which isn’t ideal. But you always hear that young fighters like this improve at such a fast rate and between fights is when you’re more likely to make those gains because you’re not tailoring your training to a specific camp. He’s looked good so far but I do recall some getting a bit carried away. Not downplaying him, he’s definitely got potential. But he did get clipped by Giles at one point and Giles is nothing special. Morales is still a bit raw and sometimes reckless but that’s to be expected of a 22/23 year old. We’ll see. At the very least he’s gonna be exciting to watch. I like this matchup.

 

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Ariane Lipski vs Melissa Gatto is a curious choice for the main card. I don’t even hate the fight but it screams ‘prelims’, doesn’t it? Lipski’s 15-8 and a former KSW champion. I vaguely remember reading that there were some fairly high hopes and expectations when the UFC signed her but it hasn’t panned out. She’s gone 4-5 in the UFC overall and, basically, any time she’s fought anyone half decent she’s lost. She’s coming into this fight off a points win over JJ Aldrich in March but it’s going nowhere. Gatto’s 27 years old with a record of 8-1-2. My only real memory of her is when she stopped Sijara Eubanks with a nasty body kick. She dropped a decision to Tracy Cortez last time out. That was her first loss and she’ll have been inactive for over a year by the time she steps into the cage here. Nothing much to this one.

 

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Benoit Saint-Denis vs Ismael Bonfim is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** here. Slim pickings on this card but I’m looking forward to this. Nothing to do with Saint-Denis though. Nothing against him either but he’s definitely not the reason I’m into this. He’s decent enough from my hazy recollection of him. He’s 27 years old with a 10-1-0-1 record. Lost to Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos in his UFC debut but has since rallied back with back-to-back finishes over Niklas Stolze and Gabriel Miranda. Bonfim’s the A-side though.

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What a debut that was! He fought Terrance McKinney at UFC 283 in Brazil and…did that. Definitely gonna be in the conversation for Knockout Of The Year by the time December rolls around. Just a crazy highlight reel finish. And McKinney’s became known as a dangerous knockout artist himself. Bonfim wasn’t playing. To make his UFC debut the same night as his brother (Gabriel), in Brazil, and both getting not only wins but impressive finishes, must’ve been a huge adrenaline rush for both. He’s 19-3 now with 13 finishes. So he came in with some experience already behind him. Time will tell how much he can build on it but he’s certainly got some real momentum coming off that KO.

 

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Nursulton Ruziboev vs Brunno Ferreira is a patch up job. Was meant to be Ferreira against Abdul Razak Alhassan, which sounded like a full-on bombfest on paper. Bit gutted that one’s off, to be honest, but this Ruziboev chap sounds like an interesting signing. He’s from Uzbekistan, 29 years old and has a good amount of experience at 35-8-2-1. He’s also apparently a strong finisher, 33 of his 35 wins came inside the distance. He’s currently on an 8 fight winning streak, all finishes. Looking down his record, none of the names he’s beat ring a bell. So I’m not sure how good the level of his opposition has been. But still, he’s coming in with 46 pro fights under his belt. Which you don’t often see from a UFC debutant these days. As for Ferreira, I’ve only seen him fight once but…

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He knocked out UKFF favourite Gregory Rodrigues in the first round of their fight on the Brazil PPV in January. The bastard. With the benefit of hindsight, it was always a risky one for Greg. Ferreira has stepped in on short notice but I remember looking at his record and seeing he was undefeated with a 100% finish rate and instantly feeling like he might be bad news. And sure enough, he waffled Rodrigues in a round. I don’t recall him looking like a particularly good striker but obviously when he connects, you’re in deep shit. He’s 10-0 now with 10 finishes and now finds himself in a similar scenario to his debut against Rodrigues, only with the roles reversed. This time it’s Ferreira being faced with a dangerous late replacement.

 

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Kevin Lee vs Rinat Fakhretdinov then. Surprised to see this on the prelims myself. On an Apex show, you’d think a name like Kevin Lee making his UFC return would be a cert for the main card but here we are. Maybe they’ll reshuffle. I know I’ve been vocal about not rating Lee as highly as many do but, believe it or not I don’t hate him 😂 I know that’s probably how it’s came across at times but it’s genuinely not the case. I’ve just always felt like he’s not as good as a chunk of the MMA fanbase think he is or want him to be. We haven’t seen him in the UFC for a couple of years now. He had a dodgy run of results there for a while, left, beat Diego Sanchez on an Eagle FC show last year and he’s back in the fold. Probably had something to do with him coming to Dana’s defence on social media after he slapped his wife about on New Year’s Eve.

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It worked.

Lee definitely warrants a spot on the roster. Again though, I don’t see his luck being any better than last time. He’s always gonna keep hitting that ceiling when he comes up against a certain level of competition. And anyone who saw that fight with Diego in Eagle, let’s be honest it wasn’t the best. Lee was injured early in the fight but regardless, Diego’s absolutely washed. If Lee was half the fighter he’s cracked up to be he’d have forced a finish. Not sure about this Fakhretdinov chap. Haven’t seen much of him but from what I do remember, he could be a really tough night’s work for Lee his first night back. He’s 20-1 with 16 finishes, trains at American Top Team and beat Bryan Battle on points in his last fight. If my memory is correct, it wasn’t very entertaining to watch but Fakhretdinov looked like he might be a bit of a problem for anyone he can get his grappling going against. They’re definitely not doing Lee any favours here.

 

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Yana Santos vs Karol Rosa. Welcome to the post-Nunes era of the Bantamweight division. You know a weight class is in the toilet when these two are in the Top 10. These two could actually be a win or two away from a title shot. That’s where we’re at with women’s 135 now. And to think some fans were counting the days until Nunes would retire. As if we had something better to look forward to when she got out of the way! This is the dregs. And I don’t mind Santos. She seems nice enough and I’ve always been a fan of her husband Thiago. But there’s no getting away from it, there’s nothing there once the cage door shuts. She’s 33 now, 14-7-0-1 record and coming off a decision loss in an abysmal fight against Holly Holm in March. She was supposed to fight Macy Chiasson here but Chiasson’s out and in steps Rosa. Not a worse fight, not an improvement, just…nothing. Apathy. She’s 28, Brazilian and has a 16-5 record. She’s coming off a points defeat to Norma Dumont in April. I watch pretty much everything and I can tell you right now there’s no way I’m sitting through this cack.

 

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Joanderson Brito vs Westin Wilson is a bit of an odd one. Seen a little bit of a stir online when this was announced. It was originally meant to be Brito against Khusein Askhabov, Askhabov withdrew and Wilson got announced as the replacement. It drew some criticism 1) because he’s 34 years old and 16-7. Which doesn’t scream ‘top signing’. And 2) there was some talk that his manager Jason House’s Mrs is best friends with matchmaker Sean Shelby’s Mrs. Fuck knows and I’d never heard of Westin but I saw nothing but negativity when news of his signing broke. Regardless, if he does have links to the matchmakers, they’re not exactly doing him any favours with this matchup. Brito’s 14-3-1 with 12 inside the distance and is coming off back-to-back quick first round finishes over Andre Fili and Lucas Alexander. If Westin is a fraud, he’s gonna be found out soon enough.

 

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Guram Kutateladze vs Elves Brener just got added. Brener was supposed to fight Jordan Leavitt on this card. Leavitt dropped out and now he gets Kutateladze? Bad luck Elves. Hopefully Kutateladze actually makes it to the cage this time though. Because fucking hell.

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I really rate Kutateladze but it’s been so frustrating following his career so far. It’s been so stop-start. He was all set to fight Jamie Mullarkey recently but was pulled out last minute due to Visa issues. Before that he’d had a bunch of setbacks and layoffs with injuries. Just can’t seem to stay active and build up any kind of momentum. Hopefully he can crack on now. The ‘Georgian Viking’ is 31 years old and currently holds a record of 12-3 with 8 finishes. Might not jump off the page as particularly impressive at first glance but if you’ve watched him fight you’ll know he’s legit. He won a split decision against Mateusz Gamrot in his UFC debut in late 2020 but was out for over 18 months after. He finally came back in June last year but lost another narrow split against Damir Ismagulov. But that was such a good fight it didn’t really harm his stock. Not saying he’ll ever be champ or anything but I’ve got a good feeling about him. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet. People forget but he took the Gamrot fight on short notice. And the Ismagulov fight was after a massive layoff. If he looked that good under those circumstances, it makes me wonder what he could be capable of if he could just stay injury free and get regular fights in. He’s already had 2 fights fall through this year. Third time lucky here, I hope. If he’s healthy then I think this is a bad break for Brener. He’s 14-3 and debuted in February on the Makhachev vs Volkanovski undercard and won a split decision over Zubaira Tukhugov that I know I watched but barely remember.

 

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Ivana Petrovic vs Luana Carolina might be worth checking out to see Petrovic’s debut. Never seen her before but from what I can find she’s Croatian, 29 years old and undefeated at 6-0 with 5 finishes. She became the Ares Flyweight champion last September and successfully defended it in April this year with a 4th round submission victory.

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Doesn’t sound like the worst signing. Relatively early days and time will tell but she’s off to a good start and she’s probably gonna get a bit of a push because she’s a looker. She’ll be a decent addition to fill up the European cards. They’re trying to give her a showcase debut here as well because Carolina really isn’t much good. She’s 8-4 now and coming off a couple of losses. Says it all about the kind of level she’s on that she got sparked out cold by the spinning elbow of Molly McCann last year. If you’re making the ‘Meatball’ look like a knockout artist there’s something wrong. Like I said, never seen Petrovic fight but if she’s got anything about her, anything about her, she should be winning this.

 

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Alexandr Romanov vs Blagoy Ivanov on the Fight Pass stream. What a fall for Romanov. He was co-main against Volkov last time out. I’ve had a soft spot for the big lump for a while now but I can’t even argue this. He looked fucking terrible in that Volkov fight. He’d dropped a load of weight in his previous fight and looked like he’d put some serious graft in. Then he came in for the Volkov fight fatter than ever and like he hadn’t trained at all. It showed as well. The fight started, he just looked like he couldn’t be arsed and Volkov made short and easy work of him. He needs to redeem himself here but Ivanov’s not an easy rebound fight at all. He’s no fun to watch but he’s just a granite tough great big unit of a man. If Romanov’s ever gonna get back on track he needs to be beating a guy like Ivanov. But after that pitiful showing last time, I’m not convinced.

 

Another Apex/Strickland combo then.

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Edited by wandshogun09
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"There a UFC card this weekend?"

"Yeah, Sean is main eventing."

"O'Malley?"

"Nah, the other boyo"

"Brady and Maddellena is bumped to five? Nice."

"Not him, whattya call yer man, the one with the double S initials and without the ink."

"Easy up fella, Sherk's a bit long in the tooth now"

"Ya know the cunt. Bisping rims him on commentary all the time". 

"Stric . . .fuck off will ye". 

Awkward The Simpsons GIF

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I’ve gone with Magomedov in the poll but it’s really a complete shot in the dark and a whole lot of wishful thinking. Not a clue how good he actually is so fuck knows? I hope he chins Apex Boy though. 

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Yeah, no thoughts on tonight plays out. When was the last time someone was thrust into a main event as fast as Magomedov though? Real odd move considering I dont really recall him coming into the UFC with any real buzz.

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