UFC Fight Night: Vera vs Cruz

Photo Credit: ESPN

The UFC invades San Diego this weekend as a former Bantamweight champion looks to get back to the top of the mountain. Standing in his way is a hungry fighter looking for his title shot.

The co-main event is a match-up in the Featherweight division, with Nate Landwehr taking on David Onama. Originally, Landwehr was meant to fight Zubaira Tukhugov, but Tukhugov had to be replaced due to visa issues.

And the fight between two women with the best nicknames, Ariane Lipski and Priscila Cachoeira, finally takes place after it was taken off last week’s card.

UFC Fight Night: Vera vs Cruz

Main Card

Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera vs Dominick ‘The Dominator’ Cruz

Nate ‘The Train’ Landwehr vs David Onama

Yazmin Jauregui vs Iasmin Lucindo

Devin ‘Brown Bear’ Clark vs Azamat ‘The Professional’ Murzakanov

Priscilia ‘Zombie Girl’ Cachoeira vs Ariane ‘Queen of Violence’ Lipski

Bruno ‘Blindado’ Silva vs Gerald ‘GM3’ Meerschaert

Preliminary Card

Angela ‘Overkill’ Hill vs Loopy Godinez

Martin  ‘Badys’ Buday vs Lukasz ‘The Bull’ Brzeski

Cynthia Calvillo vs Nina Nunes

Gabriel ‘Moggly’ Benitez vs Charlie ‘The American Bad Boy’ Ontiveros

Ode’ ‘The Jamaican Sensation’ Osbourne vs Tyson Nam

Jason ‘The Vanilla Gorilla’ Watt vs Josh ‘Bushido’ Quinlan

Youssef ‘The Morrocan Devil’ Zalal vs Da’mon Blackshear

Unhealthy Habits

I’ve recently read two Substack Newsletters by two men I respect greatly. Both of them, like me, have struggled with food, and it’s funny how it can become an addiction.

Let’s start at the beginning. When I was young, I loved food, and nothing much has changed, except for me not eating correctly; amongst other things, I have Diverticula Disease.

Anyway, I took any chance that I could to eat. I always wanted takeaway food, like McDonald’s, KFC or the good old fish and chips. And any pocket money I got went, I was straight to the shops to buy any lollies or chocolate. I also drank so many soft drinks.

I was a very chubby kid for most of primary school and was made fun of due to my weight. In year six (1996), I went away with mum on a trip to Perth. I just happened to get my growth spurt while I was away. When this happened, I couldn’t believe it. I was no longer the chubby kid. I could eat what I wanted and get away with it.

After spending my teenage years eating junk and playing footy (rugby league), I thought I would always stay in shape as long as I exercised. It wasn’t until I left school that things went downhill.

My first job out of high school was as an apprentice butcher. Butchery isn’t a bad job; where I worked was a different story. It was a very toxic place, where I got bullied a lot. And the only way I could make myself feel better was with food. Most days, I would go through Maccas drive-thru if I didn’t have football training. Or I would buy packets of Doritos and chocolate and locked myself in my room. I also gave myself a nickname, Fatty McMercer.

One day, I decided to tell one of my colleagues, who at the time had become a friend, that I would eat my feelings after a rough day. I was hoping that someone would understand what I was doing. Instead, he told me that was a ‘bitch’ thing to do. After that response, I would only tell people who I trusted anything personal.

Fast forward to today, and I still have my battles with food. Thanks to Brent and Ben, I know I’m not the only one struggling with food. And that it also gets better when you work on your passions.

 

After The Fights: UFC Santos vs Hill

What a night of fights! Out of all the fights, main card and prelims, not one went to the judges.

A new contender emerged in the Heavyweight division, and the winners of season 30 of The Ultimate Fighter were crowned.

Two fights did not go ahead. Jason Witt vs Josh Quinlan was cancelled; there has been no word if that fight will happen at a later date. Ariane Lipski vs Priscila Cachoeira was moved to next weekend’s San Deigo card.

Jamahal Hill def Thiago Santos

A new challenger in the heavyweight division has arrived, and his name is Jamahal Hill. ‘Sweet Dreams Stadium’ (better known as the Apex) is a happy hunting ground for the Chicago native. Hill was taken into the championship rounds for the first time in his career and handled it well.

Santos proved that he still has some fight left in him. He did fight smart, mixing his stand-up with some good takedowns. It’s hard to know what Santos should do. He has only won one fight out of his last seven, so maybe taking time to see where he is at will be a good thing.

Fantasy Matchmaker: It’s a no-brainer; Hill needs to fight someone in the top 10. Even though he already has a fight, Volkan Oezdemir would be a good fight for Hill. Like Santos, Oezdemir is a former title challenger and made a triumphant return against Paul Craig. It will most likely depend on if he beats Nikita Krylov.

As for Santos, a match-up against Scotsman Craig mentioned would be a good fight.

Geoff Neal def Vicente Luque

Neal put forward an impressive performance to Beat Luque. ‘Handz of Steal’ not only won, but he stopped the durable Brazilian.

After a one-sided first round, Luque was able to make a comeback and make it a fascinating final round. However, Neal came out as he did in round 1, making sure it didn’t go to the judge’s scorecards.

Luque is now on a two-fight skid and will need to return to the gym and assess a few things.

Fantasy Matchmaker:  Neal called out Gilbert Burns after the win. It’s quite the step up in competition, but it’s a good call out. Burns seems to be a little preoccupied with Jorge Masvidal. Anyone in the top 10 would be suitable for Neal; maybe avenging his loss to ‘Wonderboy’ is on the cards.

As for Luque, he could have a trilogy fight with Belal Muhammed, but that may not be something the fans would like to see just yet. Sean Brady would be a good fight for him.

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Mohammed Usman def Zac Pauga 

Mohammed Usman is the Heavyweight winner of TUF season 30. The brother of Kamaru Usman pulled off an impressive knock-out over Zac Pauga.

Pauga won the first round, landed the crisper strikes, and controlled the Octagon. The second round was different, as Usman put Pauga to sleep with a nice left.

Fantasy Matchmaker: It will be exciting to see how the younger Usman goes in the promotion. He has heavy hands and good wrestling, maybe taking on UFC newcomer Hammy Abdelwahab.

Usually, those that make the finale get signed to the UFC, so Pauga may get a contract even with a loss. Maybe William Knight can welcome Pauga to the promotion.

Julianna Miller def Brogan Walker

There was a lot of bad blood in this fight. ‘Killer’ Miller was far too strong, imposing her will on Walker. If someone new were watching the fights, they wouldn’t have thought that Miller had the least experienced of the two.

Walker tried hard, but it just wasn’t her night. She may still get a UFC contract. As for Miller, she has a very bright future ahead of her.

Fantasy Matchmaker: The matchmakers will not want to throw Miller in the deep end. Mandy Boehm or Hannah Goldy will be the best ones to welcome her. As for Walker, Victoria Leonardo would be good as her first opponent.

Serghei Spivac def Augusto Sakai

It was a must-win fight for Sakai; he had lost three fights in a row. Unfortunately, Spivac made it four.

He survived into the second round, but the Brazilian was thoroughly out-classed by the Sambo practitioner. Spivac tool Sakai down at will, landing the cleaner strikes on the feet and ending the fight with a TKO.

Fantasy Matchmaker: The ‘Polar Bear’ will surely be a ranked fighter now, and his next fight should be against Blagoy Ivanov. As for Sakai, he should still get a fight but will need to win to keep his job. He should take on Jared Vanderaa.

Terrance McKinney def Erick Gonzalez

This fight was promoted to the main card due to the Lipski/Cachoeira postponement.

‘T-Wrecks’  made short work of his opponent again. McKinney got the first-round submission via rear-naked choke. He looked good doing it as well.

Fans have to tip their hat off to Erick Gonzalez; in his UFC debut, he took on veteran Jim Miller on short notice. He put a couple of good shots on McKinney but came up against a fighter on the rise.

Fantasy Matchmaker: McKinney called out Paddy Pimblett after his win, which is 100% the fight to make next for both Lightweights. As for Gonzalez, going up against a veteran like Clay Guida would be an exciting battle.

 

UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Hill Preview

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It’s fight night at the Apex again (or, as it’s sometimes known, ‘Sweet Dreams Stadium) as two Light Heavyweights look to move up the rankings. Ultimate Fighter Alum Thiago Santos takes on a man who came up through the Contender Series, Jamahal Hill.

Champions of season 30 of The Ultimate Fighter will be crowned. In the Heavyweight division, Kamaru Usman’s brother Mohammed will take centre stage, taking on Zac Pauga. In the Bantamweight division. Brogan Walker takes on Julianna Miller.

UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Hill

Thiago ‘Murreta’ Santos vs Jamahal ‘Sweet Dreams’ Hill

This should be a cracking fight. A victory here for Jamahal Hill will get him one step closer to a title shot in a crowded division. Hill is ranked fifth, and a win over a former title challenger will help that cause.

Santos has been there before; he’s challenged for the title. The Brazilian will do anything to get back there, and Hill is standing in his way. Santos also sorely needs a win here; he has won only one fight in his last five. If ‘ Murreta’ is to make a charge for the title, a win is a must.

Both men have knock-out power, and the winner may come down to who strikes first.

Betting Odds on Neds: Thiago Santos $3.60 Jamahal Hill $1.30

Vicente ‘The Silent Assasin’  Luque vs Geoff ‘Handz of Steel’ Neale

Luque will be looking to get back in the title hunt after coming off a loss to Belal Muhammed. ‘The Silent Assasin’ is a quality fighter who can put on a show on his day. He is very experienced and has been in the Octagon with the division’s best.

Neale will want to crack the top 10 at Welterweight, and both fighters share a couple of opponents. Beating Luque convincingly is what Neale should aim for; anything less is a disappointment.

Like the main event, this is also an ‘Ultimate Fighter’ vs ‘Contender Series’ fight; maybe we will see which is the better reality show at the end.

Betting Odds on Neds: Vicente Luque $1.52 Geoff Neale $2.55

Augusto Sakai vs Serghei ‘The Polar Bear’ Spivac

Like it has been said in this blog before, there is nothing like a Heavyweight fight.

Sakai’s back is against the wall; he must win this fight. Losing his last three fights, even if they were against top-tier competition, won’t help him. A veteran of MMA, before making it to the UFC via the Contender Series, Sakai fought in Bellator. His only loss came to former UFC fighter Cheick Kongo (he also had a draw).

Like his opponent, Spivac has also fought some of the best of the division and has even beaten them. It’s unusual to see someone with his fight experience not be ranked; maybe it’s because of a couple of losses to key opponents. Beating Sakai here should get him ranked.

Betting Odds on Neds: Augusto Sakai $3.45 Serghei Spivac $1.32

Ariane ‘Queen of Violence’ Lipski vs Priscila ‘Zombie Girl’ Cachoeira

The main card starts with a fight between two women who probably have the best nicknames in all of MMA. Fans should be treated to a knock-down drag-out fight.

The fight will be at a catch-weight; Lipski failed to make the Flyweight limit and has been fined 20% of her purse.

Both women are coming off a win; they want to keep their momentum going to make it two in a row. Lipski likes to come forward and is known as a striker, but she does have a few submissions on her record. Could this be the way to victory for the Brazilian?

Cachoeira, like Lipski is a striker. If there is one area where she is uncomfortable, it’s off her back. Cachoeira will want to keep the standing; Lipski has the better ground game.

Betting Odds on Neds: Ariane Lipski $1.53 Priscila Cachoeira $2.55

Note: The author hasn’t watched enough of the Ultimate Fighter to comment on the finalist’s journey.

 

 

 

UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Hill

Photo Credit: Sherdog.com

It’s fight night at the Apex again, as the UFC returns to Las Vegas for UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Hill.

This fight night also acts as The Ultimate Fighter Season 30 Finale. The main event sees Jamahal Hill take on former Title challenger Thiago Santos.

In the co-main event it’s a showdown in the Welterweight division. New Jersey’s own Vicente Luque will face Geoff Neal.

In the TUF finale fight, Mohammed Usman meets Zac Pauga and Brogan Walker squares off against Julianna Miller.

UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Hill

Main Card

Thiago ‘Marreta’ Santos vs Jamahal ‘Sweet Dreams’ Hill

Vicente ‘The Silent Assasin’ Luuque vs Geoff ‘Handz of Steel’ Neale

Mohammed ‘The Motor’ Usman vs Zac ‘The Ripper’ Pauga

Brogan ‘Brogie The Bear’ Walker vs Julianna ‘Killer’ Miller

Augusto Sakai vs Serghei ‘Polar Bear’ Spivac

Ariane ‘Queen of Violence’ Lipski vs Priscila ‘Zombie Girl’ Cachoeira

Preliminary Card

‘Smile’n’ Sam Alvey vs Michal ‘Hussar’ Oleksiejczuk

Terrance ‘T-Wrecks’ McKinney vs Erick ‘The Ghost Pepper’ Gonzalez

Bryan ‘Pooh Bear’ Battle vs Takashi ‘Ten’ Sato

Jason ‘The Vanilla Gorilla’ Witt vs Josh ‘Bushido’ Quinlan

Cory ‘Poppins’ McKenna vs Miranda ‘Danger’ Granger

Mayra ‘Sheeta’Bueno Silva vs Stephanie Egger

After The Fights: UFC 277

It was a great day (or night, depending on what part of the world you’re in) of fights. Two new Champions have been crowned, a premature stoppage, and just some excellent fights.

Here is what happened:

Amanda Nunes def Julianna Peña

Amanda Nunes regained the Bantamweight title, battering Peña for five rounds. It was a case of Peña being too tough for her own good, as she was knocked down, cut open, and outclassed.

Nunes made the proper adjustments; she was sharp in the stand-up and controlled things on the ground. There was one moment when it looked like Peña had an armbar, but Nunes could escape the submission.

What will be next for both of these fighters? For Nunes, it’s hard to say where she goes next. There isn’t a Featherweight division, so to speak. Maybe another Fight with Shevchenko (even if that’s pushing it) is on the cards. As for Peña, besides recovering and recouping, perhaps a fight between Holly Holm or Ketlan Vieira.

Brendon Moreno def Kai Kara-France

‘The Assasin Baby’ can once again call himself a champion. It was a beautiful liver kick and followed barrage that sealed the win.

It was a close fight early, and it seemed that Kara-France had done just enough to edge ahead in the third round, but as people say, anything can happen in MMA. People love these two fighters, so seeing one of them lose sucked.

Moreno now has a date with Deiveson Figueiredo for the undisputed Flyweight championship. For Kara-France, he will be hoping that Figueiredo will be able to unseat Moreno so he can get a shot at the title. In the meantime, avenging his loss to Brendon Royval should be next.

Sergi Pavlovich def Derrick Lewis

Pavlovich scored a big win; however, many in the MMA community believe that the stoppage was premature.

Lewis is getting to a stage of his fight career where he can’t just stand and trade anymore. His chin is starting to go, but he still has power.

Pavlovich looks like a good prospect, and he took the booing crowd well. What’s next? Honestly, these two must run it back due to that ordinary stoppage.

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Alexandre Pantoja def Alex Perez

Pantoja said he wanted to make a statement, which is what he did. He picked up the win and looked to have secured another title shot.

Like only the Flyweights can do, the fight started at a breakneck pace. Pantoja stung Perez early, with Perez going for a takedown. The Brazilian took his opponent’s back and sank in the fight-ending rear-naked choke (it was more of a neck crank).

Pantoja will no doubt get the winner of Figueiredo/Moreno. A fighter doesn’t follow a loss by fighting a higher-ranked opponent, but a fight between Perez and Kara-France could be fun.

Magomed Ankalaev def Anthony Smith

Ankalaev won his ninth fight in a row, but an injury to Anthony Smith saw an unusual ending to the battle.

After a close first round, when Smith returned to his corner, he was limping. It obviously hampered him, as it wasn’t done at pace when he shot for a takedown. Smith tried to pull guard, and that’s where ‘Lionheart’ found trouble. Ankalaev is a good wrestler, so he could stay out of Smith’s guard and not get swept by him. Ankalaev finished him off with some heavy punches for the win.

Unlike the other injuries that happened over the last couple of weeks, there is no need for a rematch here. Ankalaev looked very good, and should Aleksander Raakić. For Smith, besides recovering, a fight with Scotsmen Paul Craig would be suitable for his return.

Hopefully, everyone enjoyed the fights.

UFC 277 Main Card Preview

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Two of the baddest women in MMA will fight for the second time when Julianna Peña defends her Bantamweight title against the former champion Amanda Nunes in the main event.

The co-main event sees Kiwi Kai Kara-France looking to add a Flyweight title to City Kickboxing’s trophy cabinet when he takes on Brendon Moreno. Moreno is one of only two fighters who have beaten Kara-France.

Let’s have a look at the main card:

Julianna ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ Peña vs Amanda ‘The Lioness’ Nunes

Hopefully, this fight lives up to the original. Though Nunes knocked her down a couple of times, Peña weathered the storm, and she tested Nunes like she hadn’t been tested before. She wasn’t afraid to take damage and stand and trade with the ‘Lioness’.

While Nunes was patient early in the last fight, she will need to do it again. I’m sure she would have worked on her conditioning and be ready to go into the ‘championship’ rounds, as she may be unable to put Peña away.

Peña needs to do what she did last time and make the fight a brawl, and she must be prepared to get down and dirty again and make the fight ugly.

It has been long believed that you are not a true champion in MMA until you defend for the first time. Peña will be desperate not to join that club (though it does include fighters like Matt Serra and Rashad Evans).

Regardless, both women have shown they are true competitors and worthy champions.

 

Betting Odds on Neds:  Amanda Nunes $1.36 Julianna Peña $3.20

Brendon ‘The Assasin Baby’ Moreno vs Kai ‘Don’t Blink’ Kara-France

Like the main event, the co-main is also a rematch. The last time that Moreno and Kara-France, ‘The Assasin Baby’ was victorious.

Flyweights fight at an unbelievable pace; sometimes, combinations are like blurs. This fight will be no different, especially with the interim title on the line.

Kara-France has shown that he has power; he picked up the only KO on season 24 of The Ultimate Fighter. The only other person to beat the Kiwi, Brendon Royval, once said that Kara-France’s stand-up was ‘basic’. It may not be flashy like Royval’s stand-up in that fight was, but it certainly isn’t basic.

While both men have much to fight for, Moreno would like to settle the score with Flyweight Champion Deiveson Figueiredo. They have fought three times; however, the first was scored a draw, sitting at one a piece.

Can Moreno again call himself the champ, or is it Kara-France’s time? The world will find out tomorrow.

Betting Odds on Neds Brendon Moreno $1.46 Kai Kara-France $2.70

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Derrick ‘The Black Beast’ Lewis vs Sergei Pavlovich

Before we see the Flyweight’s throwdown, which will be at a breakneck pace, We get to see a Heavyweight slobberknocker.

There is nothing better than seeing two Heavyweight fighters slug it out. And these two men have numerous KOs on their records. So, fans should not expect anything less than two big meaty men trading leather.

Lewis is coming off a loss to Aussie Tai Tuivasa, and while it’s not panic stations yet for Lewis, a loss here won’t help. He still has destructive power in his fists, and the beauty of MMA is that anything can happen.

Pavlovich is currently running a three-fight win streak, and they have all been first-round stoppages. A win over Lewis will catapult him up the rankings, especially now that Tom Aspinall may be out for a little while; the Russian may find himself near the top of some more fight cards.

Betting Odds on Neds: Derrick Lewis $2.25 Sergei Pavlovich $1.64

Alexandre ‘The Cannibal” Pantoja vs Alex Perez

Before the co-main event, fans will be treated to another Flyweight spectacle between two very experienced fighters.

Pantoja holds a win over Brendon Moreno and the man that beat Kai Kara-France, Brendon Royval. He has faced Flyweight king Deiveson Figueiredo and lost. And a win over Perez may see him get a rematch, depending on how the title picture pans out.

Perez is also a former title challenger, so it’s undeniable that he wants another shot at the gold. A win will see him take a step closer to facing Figueifedo, but it may be some time due to an interim title being on the card.

Betting Odds on Neds: Alexandre Pantoja $1.52 Alex Perez $2.55

Magomed Ankalaev vs Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith

Kicking off the main card is a Light Heavyweight bout between a former title challenger and a hungry Russian.

Anthony Smith has been there before and fought the best in the division. He wants to get back to the top and win the gold. After a two-fight skid, he is working himself back up the ladder. A win here, and by doing so dominantly, the man known as ‘Lionheart’ can get back there.

Beating Ankalaev is easier said than done, though. The Russian is riding an eight-fight win streak, and he only started his pro career in 2014 and has racked up quite a record. His only loss came in his UFC debut against submission specialist Paul Craig (yes, it was by triangle choke). A win against Smith in the opening bout will see him move into the division’s upper echelon.

Betting Odds on Neds: Magomed Ankalaev $1.16 Anthony Smith $5.40

For Australia Viewers, the card starts at 8 am AEST. The preliminary card will be shown on UFC Fight Pass; ESPN will only show the prelims from Klose vs Garcia. The main card can be purchased on Main Event through Foxtel or Kayo. Or you can also buy it on Fight Pass.

Enjoy the fights!

 

UFC 277 Fight Card

Picture Credit: Magpies Waitara

Another weekend, another fight week! This week UFC 277 takes place in the Lone Star state, Dallas, Texas.

In the main event, former women’s Bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes takes on the woman that took the title from her, Julianna Peña.

In the co-main event, Kiwi fighter Kai Kara-France looks to avenge his loss to former Flyweight champion Brend0n Moreno.

Here is the fight card:

UFC 277

Main Card

Julianna ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ Peña vs Amanda ‘The Lioness’ Nunes

Brendon ‘The Assasin Baby’ Moreno vs Kai ‘Don’t Blink’ Kara-France

Derrick ‘The Black Beast’ Lewis vs Sergi Pavlovich

Alexandre ‘The Cannibal’ Pantoja vs Alex Perez

Magomed Ankalaev vs Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith

Preliminary Card

Alex ‘The Great White’ Morono vs Matthew ‘Semi The Jedi’ Semelsberger

Drew Dober vs Rafael ‘The Turn’ Alves

Don’tale ‘King Kong’ Mayes vs Hamdy ‘The Hammer’ Abdelwahab

Drakkar Klose vs Rafa ‘Gifted’ Garcia

Michael Morales vs Adam Fugitt

Joselyn ‘El Pantera’ Edwards vs Ji Yeon ‘Firefist’ Kim

Nicolae Negumereanu vs Ihor The Duelist’ Potieria

Orion ‘Galaxy’ Cosce vs Mike ‘Blood’ Diamond

The preliminary card starts at 7:30 am ASET.

 

 

 

After The Fights: UFC London

Here is what happened on the main card at UFC London.

Curtis Blaydes vs Tom Aspinall

For the second week in a row, the main event ended with an injury. After throwing a leg kick, Tom Aspinall fell back in pain when he put his foot down. It’s a shame that it ended this way. The packed O2 Arena was in for what would have been an exciting fight.

What happens now? Well. Aspinall will have to rest and recoup. After talking to one of the doctors, Michael Bisping said that the Manchester native may have injured his MCL. That is what was said on the broadcast and not the official diagnosis.

Running the fight back is the obvious choice. However, it depends on how long Aspinall is out. If it is a long layoff, then Blaydes should take on the winner of Tuivasa/Gane.

Jack Hermansson vs Chris Curtis

Both fighters threw an insult or two each other’s way, with Hermasson calling Curtis a not very nice name and Curtis flipping the ‘Joker’ the bird. Curtis also imitated his opponent, claiming he was running.

In reality, Hermansson used a good game plan when coming up against a late replacement. Curtis should have pressed a bit more and used level changes and takedowns. Hermansson looked good and got a win back over Xtreme Couture (he lost to Curtis’s teammate Sean Strickland in his last fight).

Post-fight antics aside, Hermansson will likely face Darren Till, his original opponent, next. I’m not sure off is next for Curtis, but it will be good to see him bounce back.

Paddy Pimblett vs Jordan Leavitt

The atmosphere looked electric in the O2 Arena when ‘The Baddy’ made the walk to the Octagon.

The man from Liverpool was put in a few bad spots doing the first round, Leavitt using his grappling to get the fight down. He controlled the first round and won it. Anyone who thought that Pimblett’s ground game wasn’t legit should look at this fight. He was able to land a big knee, take the back and sink in the fight-ending rear-naked choke.

Pimblett will no doubt get a ranked opponent. Next, an exciting match-up would be Jalin Turner. Both fighters are on the up, and it would be a good test to see if Pimblett can take the next level.

Nikita Krylov vs Alexander Gustafsson

It is always sad to see a former top contender reduced to a shadow of their former selves. That is precisely what has happened to former title challenger Alexander Gustafsson.

Krylov swarmed ‘The Mauler’ from the opening bell and made him look ordinary. Fans knew that Krylov had some heavy hands; they were reminded about it in this fight.

Dana White no doubt heard who Krylov wants next. In his post-fight interview with Bisping, he called out Volkan Oezdemir. As for Gustafsson, it may be time to hang up the gloves.

Molly McCann vs Hannah Goldy

Like Pimblett’s walkout, to be in the crowd when McCann made the walk would have been fantastic. English fight fans are something else (in a good way, of course).

This fight ended in the first round, and McCann threw a spinning elbow knocking ’24K’ out. It was a good performance for the Liverpudlian, and she has now won three fights in a row. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Goldy’s night, it was a tough ask to go over there and win, but she would have taken plenty out of the fight.

As for what’s next for either woman, it’s hard to say. A good fight for McCann would be Michelle Waterson-Gomez; it would be a fun fight, and it would be interesting to hear people boo if the fight was to take place in the UK.

Paul Craig vs Volkan Oezdemir

The opening bout was a little bit lacklustre. It was very much a classic striker vs grappler fight, and it went exactly that way.

Ozdemir didn’t look comfortable until the final round. He seemed very gun shy early, but that would have been because he didn’t want to get caught in a submission. It was hard to believe that this was the same guy that once fought Daniel Cormier, but a win is a win.

Craig did have some good moments on the feet, tagging Oezdemir a few times. The fans knew exactly what he was going to do, and if he didn’t catch the submission early, it would have been more arduous as the fight went on.

As for what’s next for both fighters? Krylov called out Oezdemir, which is the fight to make next for him. Dominic Reyes would be a good fight for the Scotsman, and it would be good to see him work on his stand-up, as it looked ok in this fight.

 

 

UFC London Preview

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The UFC makes its way to O2 Arena in London for UFC on ESPN: Aspinall vs Blaydes. In the main event, hometown hero Tom Aspinall looks to take a step closer to challenging the Heavyweight title, but Curtis Blaydes stands in his way.

It’s a who’s who of European fighters on the card, with Jack Hermansson in the co-main event. Liverpudlian ‘s Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett and Molly ‘Meatball’ McCann are also back in the Octagon. Both fighters are highly entertaining in and out of the Octagon, and people will be happy to see them back in action.

Main Card

Curtis ‘Razor’ Blaydes vs Tom Aspinall

There is nothing like watching two Heavyweights slug it out, whether it’s boxing or MMA. This fight is between two good martial artists, so it shouldn’t disappoint.

Blaydes made a statement in his last fight. Instead of taking Chris Daukaus down, he stood and traded with him. Blaydes did not attempt one takedown. Having a collegiate wrestling background, he has gone to that well plenty of times in the past, but it was good to see him end the fight standing up.

Tom Aspinall looks like a complete martial artist. Against Alexander Volkov, Aspinall stung him on the feet and took him down with ease. The Brit’s ground game is sublime, getting the victory via a straight armbar from the side mount. He hasn’t lost since 2016 and is riding a five-fight win streak in the UFC.

This is a hard fight to pick. Both looked good in their last fight. If you are going on big fight experience, then Blaydes has the edge. Aspinall, however, is like a true warrior. The British Heavyweight is just so calm and composed in the Octagon.

For Blaydes to win this, he will have to wrestle, but he will have to watch out for Aspinall going for submissions. The winner of this fight will no doubt get to fight a more prominent name next.

Betting Odds on Neds: Curtis Blaydes $2.15 Tom Aspinall $1.70.

Jack ‘Joker’ Hermansson vs Chris ‘Action-Man’ Curtis

Both fighters have a wealth of experience, with 66 fights between them. Hermansson is coming off a split decision loss to Sean Strickland in his last fight. The Norweigan was unlucky in a good fight; it didn’t go his way.

Curtis has won all three of his UFC fights. The ‘Action-Man’ trains out of the same gym as Hermansson’s last opponent Sean Strickland, so he will be ready for him. In his fight against Brendan Allen, Curtis showed that he has the power to finish a fight; also, the Xtreme Couture fighter doesn’t like being called a journeyman, so call him one at your peril.

A win here for either fighter should move them up the rankings, And who knows, an impressive performance could get them a title shot since the Champ is looking for new challengers (even though Alex Pereira has the next shot).

The loser here may be a gatekeeper moving forward, a dependable fighter that gets fed to the next superstar.

Betting Odds on Neds: Jack Hermansson $1.90 Chris Curtis $1.90

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Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett vs ‘The Monkey King’ Jordan Leavitt

An exciting fight between two up-and-coming Lightweights. ‘The Baddy’ is an exciting English prospect. He has good stand-up and an even better ground game (eight wins by submission). He will have the entire arena chanting his name, and no doubt his best friend Molly McCann will be watching after her fight like last time.

Leavitt has also very well versed on the ground as well. Coming through the Contender Series, he also has several submission wins and only one loss in the Octagon. He will be keen to continue rising through the Lightweight ranks, and what better way to do it than by beating Pimblett and silencing a vocal crowd.

Pimblett has the better stand-up out of the two fighters, and Leavitt shades him on the ground. There is no doubt that the Liverpudlian will keep it standing in the hopes of getting a knockout on home soil.

Betting Odds on Neds: Paddy Pimblett $1.38 Jordan Leavitt $3.10

Nikita ‘The Miner’ Krylov vs Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson

Krylov and Gustafsson need a win here; otherwise, they might be cut from the promotion.

Gustafsson is returning to Light-Heavyweight after a short stint in the Heavyweight division. Fans of the UFC know what ‘The Mauler’ is capable of and hope he shows shades of his former self.

Krylov has been out of the UFC before and returned, so he may not be afraid of being cut. It will be a nice notch on the belt to have a win over the Swede. Does he have the tools to get the win and stay in the world’s premier MMA promotion? We will find out.

Betting Odds on Neds: Nikita Krylov $1.45 Alexander Gustafsson $2.80

Molly ‘Meatball’ McCann vs Hammah ’24K’ Goldy

There is no doubt that McCann will want to put on a show as she did in her last fight at UFC. London. ‘Meatball’s’ spinning back elbow KO was something to behold, giving her two wins in a row.

Like McCann, Goldy broke a two-fight losing streak, beating Emily Whitmire via a first-round armbar. It looked like Whitmire was winning the fight, but ’24K’ pulled the victory out.

Goldy is the less experienced of the two, and she has not fought in an arena that will have such an atmosphere on Saturday (Sunday in Australia). She has the tools to win this fight, and she may even catch McCann if ‘Meatball’ starts this fight like her last one.

McCann must be careful; if she goes ‘balls to the wall’, it will be over in a flash. She needs to stick to the game plan and worry about the crowd second; a win is what is most important here.

Betting Odds on Neds: Molly McCann $1.22 Hannah Goldy $4.50

Paul ‘BearJew’ Craig vs Volkan ‘No Time’ Oezdemir

There is no better way to start the main card than with a classic striker vs. grappler bout, which will be a throwback of sorts to a by-gone era. Although, that might be dramatising it.

Craig is currently on a four-fight win streak. The ‘BearJew’ looked in all sorts of trouble in his last fight, but then again, the Jiu-Jitsu expert knows what he is doing and always works to his strengths. The ‘BearJew’ takes a licking and keeps ticking until he gets the tap.

Oezdemir is on a two-fight skid and needs to win this fight to get back on track. The man known as ‘No Time’ once fought for the title, so he has a bit more ‘big fight’ experience. He will need to call upon that to win here, but he must also not fall into Craig’s trap. Avoiding the ground is a must if he is to get back in the winner’s column.

Betting Odds on Neds: Paul Craig $2.20 Volkan ezdemir $1.67

Remember, Aussie fans, the preliminary card starts at 2 am AEST, with the main card beginning at 5 am on UFC Fight Pass and ESPN.