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 276 Main Card Preview

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This weekend the UFC presents UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier from Las Vegas’ T Mobile Arena. It will be a sound card for Australian and New Zealand MMA fans to watch as four oceanic fighters are taking part.

I am diving back into the world of MMA blogging/journalism. Before I became a journalist, MMA blogging was where I started, so I’m happy to devote some time to it again and watch some fights.

Let’s have a look at the Main Card:

Pedro ‘The Young Punisher’ Munhoz vs ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley

This should be an exciting fight, as the smaller weight divisions usually are. Munhoz is on a two-fight skid and needs a win if he wants to climb the Bantamweight ladder. Both fighters’ last fight was on the same card, UFC 269. On that night, Munhoz lost to former Bantamweight Champ Dominick Cruz. In that fight, Munhoz Dropped Cruz twice in the first round but would go on to lose the battle via unanimous decision. O’Malley would do much better, defeating Raukian Paiva via TKO. Pavia found success with calf kicks during the first round but was knocked down by a right hand. O’Malley finished him off for the win.

O’Malley fights similar to Munhoz’s last opponent Dominick Cruz. He moves around a lot, switches stances, and is taller than Cruz, which will trouble Munhoz. O’Malley will need to watch the leg kicks; that was where Munhoz had some success early. O’Malley’s reach will worry Munhoz, so he will have to eat a punch to try and close the distance and land his big punches. A good fight to start the card.

Betting Odds on Neds: Sean O’Malley $1.33 Pedro Munhoz $3.25.

‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler vs Bryan ‘Bam Bam’ Barberena

This fight is going to be a slobberknocker. Anyone who has followed Lawler’s career knows precisely what he brings to the table. He loves to throw down with anyone willing to trade blows with him. I haven’t seen many of Barberena’s fights, but the one I have seen was just a downright brawl against Matt Brown.

I could say that Lawler needs to use his wrestling or that Barberena needs to mix up his striking, which he didn’t against Brown, but I think I will enjoy these two going hammer and tong for 15 minutes.

Betting Odds on Neds: Robbie Lawler $1.83 Bryan Barberena $1.98

Sean Strickland vs Alex ‘Poatan’ Pereira

Whether you like him or not, Sean Strickland can fight. He does carry on a bit outside the Octagon, but you will watch him win or get knocked out; either way, you’re watching him. Strickland’s last start was a split decision win against Jack Hemansson in the main event in February. He has won six fights in a row and, going off the 276 press conference, the champ firmly in his sights.

Alex Pereira is the man who beat Israel Adesanya in Kickboxing. He has a lengthy record in that sport and was a champion. In MMA, Pereira is 5-1, losing his first fight, and his last fight was a unanimous decision win against Bruno Silva.

Though he is a decorated striker, Pereira is very early in his career, and this fight will make him, but it may not necessarily break him. A dominant win will see him possibly moving closer to facing an old foe. Strickland will need to take it up gear from his last fight if he is to emerge as a title contender and dominating the man who beat the champ will get him closer to that fight.

Betting Odds on Neds: Sean Strickland $1.80 Alex Pereira $$2.02.

Alexander ‘The Great’ Volkanovski vs Max ‘Blessed’ Halloway

If Halloway’s mood at the press conference is anything to go by, he is ready to regain the Featherweight title he feels he never lost. This fight was inevitable; everyone from UFC president Dana White to fans felt like Halloway won the second fight. Volkanovski will want to put those naysayers in their place. He is the reigning and defending champion.

Since that last win against Halloway, Volkanovski has beaten Brian Ortega and ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung and looked great in getting the TKO win. Like the Aussie, Halloway has looked good in his last two fights, which were unanimous decision wins over Calvin Kattar and Yahir Rodriguez.

If Halloway wins this, we might have to go to a best of five series for the first time, but I don’t think Volkanovski will let that title go. He will make the proper adjustments from the last fight and be sure he is not in a position to lose. Halloway will undoubtedly bring it and believes he didn’t lose those two fights. This fight should be fireworks.

Betting Odds on Neds: Alexander Volkanovski $1.50 Max Halloway $2.55.

Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya vs Jared ‘Tha Killa Gorilla’ Cannonier. 

Adesanya is on his way to cleaning out the Middleweight division. Other than the unfortunate move up to Light Heavyweight, he has beat everyone put in front of him. His striking is on another level. Sometimes he likes to play with his opponents, which has led to strange fights, but his talent was never questioned.

Cannonier has looked good since moving down to Middleweight. He was once fighting in the Heavyweight division, knocking people out. He only has one loss at that weight class, and that is to the second-best Middleweight in the world, Robert Whittaker. If he can put a good shot on the champ’s chin, it may be ‘Good Night Irene’, but that’s easier said than done.

Cannonier looked great against Derek Brunson, knocking him out with vicious elbows. To beat Adesanya, he will have to get him down and do the same, and Adesanya needs to use distance and pinpoint accuracy to get the job done and retain his title.

Betting Odds on Neds: Israel Adesanya $1.22 Jared Cannonier $4.20.

Enjoy the fights on Sunday.

UFC 276 Fight Card

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It’s fight week again, with UFC 276 in Las Vegas this weekend. There are two title fights on the card, with Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ defending his Middleweight title against Jared ‘The Killa Gorilla’ Cannonier.

The Second title fight will see Featherweight champion Alex ‘The Great’ Volkonovski taking on Max ‘Blessed’ Halloway. This is the third meeting between the pair, with most people saying that Halloway won the last match.

Also, Sean Strickland steps into the Octagon to face Alex ‘Poatan’ Pereira, and ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley looks to move closer to a Bantamweight title shot as he fights Pedro ‘The Young Punisher’ Munhoz.

Lauren Murphy is out of her fight with Meisha Tate due to an undisclosed reason. The preliminary card starts in Australia at 8 a.m. AEST on ESPN or UFC Fight Pass. The main card begins at noon; if you watch it on Pay TV or Kayo, you must change it to Main Event. If you’ve ordered it on Fight Pass, you can watch it.

UFC 276

Main Card

Israel Adesanya vs Jared Cannonier

Alex Volkanovski vs Max Halloway

Sean Strickland vs Alex Pereira

Pedro Munhoz vs Sean O’Malley

Preliminary Card

Brad Riddell vs Jalin Turner

Robbie Lawler vs Bryan Barberena

Ian Garry vs Gabriel Green

Jim Miller vs Donald Cerrone

Uriah Hall vs Andre Muniz

Jessica Eye vs Maycee Barber

Brad Tavares vs Dricus Du Plessis

Jessica-Rose Clark vs Julija Stoliarenko