Bellator 216: Main Event Breakdown

This is widely considered the biggest grudge match in UK MMA history, between two of England’s best welterweights. We have long time welterweight staple who’s really fought everywhere in Paul “Semtex” Daley, versus the always dangerous and flashy Michael “Venom” Page. Both of these men are vicious knockout artists, I think it may be safe to predict that someone gets knocked out in this fight.

Both of these men got their start in kickboxing. Michael Page was a 10-time Kickboxing World Champion, as well as being crowned British Kickboxing Champion over 25 times. He is about as skilled of a point sparring fighter as you’ll ever see, and was scouted and offered a chance to train and qualify for the Olympics, but turned the offer down in order to pursue an MMA career. It is unknown what his official kickboxing record from all of those tournaments is, as he only holds a 1-0 record in full-contact professional kickboxing and 2-0 in professional boxing.

His kickboxing credentials include World Combat Games (2010 Silver Medalist), W.A.K.O. World Championships (2007 Gold, 2009 Silver), W.A.K.O. Irish Open (2008 Silver, 2009 Silver, 2011 Silver),  W.A.K.O. Austrian Classics World Cup (2008 Gold, 2x 2009 Gold), and WKA World Championships (2009 Bronze, 2009 Gold); all competitions either semi-contact or light-contact. I’d say those are quite the credentials, quite a long and impressive resume. Also 13-0 in professional MMA to go along with it, eight wins by knockout, three submissions, and two decisions. He also holds a 5th-degree black belt in Kickboxing. Many say Page hasn’t fought anyone, he’ll be exposed as soon as he fights a legit fighter; my argument is, Cyborg Santos is a legit fighter, David Rickels is a legit fighter, Nah-Shon Burrell is a legit fighter, they’re just not the elite of the elite, but they’re still very dangerous guys in their own right.

As for Paul Daley, he also has a kickboxing background and is 21-3 in full contact kickboxing with 14 knockouts. He has been around a long time and fought the who’s who of the best welterweights in the world, from fighting for both the Cage Warriors Welterweight Championship and the Cage Rage British Welterweight Championship in his eighth and ninth professional MMA fights, both ending in draws, to winning the Cage Rage British Welterweight Championship and defending it three times, to winning the FX3 Welterweight Championship, to challenging Jake Shields for the EliteXC Welterweight Championship, to fighting Josh Koscheck for the number one contender spot in the UFC’s welterweight division, to winning a fight scheduled for the BAMMA Welterweight Championship, but missed weight; to challenging Nick Diaz for the Strikeforce Welterweight Championship, to fighting others like Rory MacDonald, Douglas Lima, Jon Fitch, Tyron Woodley, picking up wins over Martin Kampmann, Lorenz Larkin, Jorge Masvidal, Duane Ludwig, Andre Santos, and many more.

Daley’s knockout ratio is insane, he’s 40-16-2, winning 32 of his 40 MMA wins via knockout, mostly KO’s, and eight decisions, zero submissions. It’s also notable to mention the only purely stand up fight he has ever lost was against Nick Diaz, and he almost won that fight by knockout. Both of these men also hold a Knockout of the Year award, Daley’s in 2010, and Page in 2016. Many speculate and wonder why the biggest grudge match in UK MMA history will be hosted in Connecticut, and it’s a fair question, but I suppose that’s how the bosses wanted it. I am so thankful this fight is five rounds, though it’s doubtful it’ll go that long.

As far as their attributes go, they’re built quite differently. While Semtex is one of the most vicious one-punch knockout artists ever in MMA, let alone the welterweight division, MVP is generally more crafty and creative with his finishes, without relying on brute power. This is the first real test for MVP, Daley has been there and done that throughout a massive number or promotions. Daley is 5′ 9” with a 74” reach, and Page is 6′ 3” with a 77” reach. Will Daley be able to get on the inside and uncork those bombs he has, will Page pick him apart from the outside until the knockout comes, or pick him apart from the outside for five rounds? I can’t wait to find out, this is definitely a fight worth watching!

 

Results: Bellator 215 Live

This weekend, Uncasville is the place to be to catch a double-hitter Bellator event. Tonight comes Bellator 215, kicking things off with a Main Event Heavyweight bout between Former Heavyweight Grand Prix contestant Matt Mitrione against Sergei Kharitonov. In the co-main, undefeated welterweight Logan Storley hopes to continue his streak against Romania’s Ion Pascu.

Main card starts at 9:00pmEST/6:00pmPST On Paramount Network and DAZN.

Prelims are DAZN exclusive and start at 6:30pmEST/3:30PST.

Main article written by @MrDantyMan.

MAIN CARD

Matt Mitrione vs. Sergei Kharitonov ended in a No Contest via groin kick early in round 1

Logan Storley def. Ion Pascu via Unanimous Decision

Eduardo Dantas def. Toby Misech via Unanimous Decision

John Douma def. Mike Kimbel via Submission (Triangle Choke) in round 1

Austin Vanderford def. Cody Jones via Submission (Arm-Triangle) in round 1

PRELIM CARD

Billy Goff def. Ryan Hardy via Unanimous Decision

Zarrukh Adashev def. Ronie Arana via Unanimous Decision

Matt Probin def. Ali Zebian via Split Decision

Pete Rogers def. Jason Rine via TKO (punches) in round 2

Steve Mowry def. Darion Abbey via Submission (Kimura) in round 1

Amanda Bell def. Amber Leibrock via KO (punches) in round 1

Lindsey VanZandt def. Tabatha Watkins via TKO (right hook) in round 2

Pat McCrohan def. Jason Markland via TKO (punches) in round 1

Analysis: Diving deep in to Adesanya vs. Silva

What a co-main event we have between two of the best strikers to ever step foot inside the Octagon – Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva (34-8) 1 NC vs ‘The Last Stylebender’ Israel Adesanya (15-0).

It has been said that the winner of this fight will be next in line to fight for the UFC Middleweight Championship. Some speculate on whether or not a win over Silva is worthy of a title shot for Stylebender, and others speculate if a win over Adesanya is worthy of a title shot for The Spider.

Anderson Silva is one of those guys that when he was at his peak, he was considered to be invincible. The way he would just tear through everyone, it was incredible. The list of guys he beat is also quite incredible: KO’d the iron-chinned Chris Leben in his UFC debut, landing 19 of 19 strikes to finish the fight in under a minute, he then KO’d champion Rich Franklin to capture the UFC Middleweight Crown, also in round one, and the rest is really history. He had ten UFC title defenses, and would’ve had 11 had Travis Lutter made weight in his first title defense. 16 straight wins inside the octagon, 14 finishes, he was an absolute ninja!

In addition to having ten title defenses at 185 lbs, he also went up to Light Heavyweight three times, and all three times he scored first-round knockouts, over James Irvin, former UFC Champion Forrest Griffin, and Stephan Bonnar. What many don’t realize, Anderson could have and would have been the first concurrent UFC Champion if he fought Forrest Griffin one fight beforehand, as Griffin had just lost his belt to TUF 2 Heavyweight winner Rashad Evans in the fight prior.

It’s the unreal opportunistic striking ability he possesses that made everyone believe he was unstoppable, and he still has that. Of course, he isn’t everything he used to be at almost 44 years of age, however, he does hone the same abilities he’s shown all of us before. The only difference I see is perhaps his chin isn’t as good anymore, which we were never really sure of because his head movement was so elite, and he doesn’t have much of a killer instinct anymore, as he hasn’t finished anyone since 2012 when he fought a juiced up Stephan Bonnar; and not too many people thought it was a great fight to take because it does nothing for him, but look at Bonnar’s record, the only people he’s ever lost to were current or former UFC Champions, and none of them could finish him.

In his last six fights, he’s gone 1-4 with 1 NC, I’ll just say 2-4 because Nick Diaz also failed the post-fight drug test at UFC 183. His only official win since then was a controversial decision over Derek Brunson (#8), but as I’ve stated before, his fight with Michael Bisping was also controversial for a couple reasons; reason number one is the fact that they fought in England and the judges clearly favoured the hometown guy, though I and many others thought Anderson should’ve won on the scorecards. Reason number two, a lot of people think it shouldn’t have even gone to the cards. Anderson could’ve easily gotten the stoppage when Bisping dropped at 4:58-4:59 of round 3 due to a flying knee, Bisping was still covering up when, and a couple seconds after the buzzer sounded. Regardless, Bisping got the nod on the scorecards and then proceeded to win the belt in his next fight. I just kept thinking, that could’ve been Anderson fighting Rockhold for the belt right now during the Rockhold/Bisping rematch, and still can’t help but wonder how it would’ve gone. I would have absolutely loved that match up!

As for Israel, I’m not sure we’ve ever had someone quite like him. We have some great strikers in the UFC like Edson Barboza who’s 25-3 in kickboxing, Stephen Thompson who’s 57-0 in kickboxing, Darren Till who’s 44-0 in kickboxing, but there seems to be an extra element of special with Israel Adesanya. On the night of UFC 234, he will have been with the UFC for two days shy of a year, and he’s already at this stage. 13 of his 15 wins are knockouts, and he’s already been five rounds, which is great for him. He is 32-0 in amateur kickboxing, 75-5-1 in professional kickboxing, and 5-1 in professional boxing, and he’s fighting a Muay Thai black prajied (belt/strap), and 5th-degree Taekwondo black belt. You could definitely say this is a matchup between two absolute assassins on the feet, the only difference in their skill sets is Anderson has a 3rd-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under the Nogueira brothers, while Israel has a blue belt under Andre Galvao.

Does the winner of this fight deserve a title shot? For both, I say yes, and here’s why:

Aside from Israel (#6), the next guys ranked above are Chris Weidman (#5), who’s had four knockout losses in his last five fights, Kelvin Gastelum (#4), who’s fighting for the belt moments after this fight takes place, Jacare Souza (#3), who is 2-2 in his last four fights and already fought both the champion and challenger, Luke Rockhold (#2), who’s coming off a KO loss and said he’s moving to 205 lbs, and Yoel Romero (#1), who stays at middleweight is also questionable and is 0-2 vs the champion. If Israel defeats Anderson and gets a title shot, whether he wins or loses the title fight, he will still have a bunch of middleweights to keep him busy. If he wins the belt, the division is full of potential contenders to challenge him; if he loses against Whittaker/Gastelum, he still has a bunch of guys he hasn’t fought to work his way back up and continue to grow. As for if Anderson wins, who wouldn’t want to see him fight for the belt again? Anything can happen in an Anderson Silva fight!

Analysis: A closer look at the co main event at UFC on ESPN+ 2

This Saturday on February 2nd, we have another clash between two Brazilians, most likely to determine the next title challenger.

Former WEC Featherweight Champion and former two-time UFC Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo (27-4) fighting against none other than the former Interim Jungle Fight Featherweight Champion, Renato Moicano.

Jose Aldo has been in the limelight for years and years now; he became known to many when he fought Urijah Faber in the WEC’s only ever PPV card at WEC 48, or when he made his UFC debut against Mark Hominick at UFC 129, or maybe when Conor McGregor drew more eyes to the sport when he was on the rise, or challenging Aldo. Regardless of how long you’ve known him, he’s been there and done that many times over, while Moicano is still looking for his chance to really break through as the top guy at 145 lbs.

Right after winning the Interim Jungle Fight Featherweight Championship, he made his UFC debut, winning via submission in round two, before picking up a pair of split decisions over Zuba Tukhugov, and Jeremy Stephens in his next two outings. He then had his close and competitive fight with Brian Ortega, up until the stoppage with 91 seconds left on the clock, then won via unanimous decision against Calvin Kattar, and dropped Cub Swanson early with a jab and finished him in the first round a few months later.

Many people were questioning why this isn’t the main event, and when Dana White answered that Aldo did not want a five round fight, many still questioned why that is. Well, for starters, if anyone remembers his WEC days, he went 5-0 in three round fights and won all by knockout. He stopped Mike Brown in his first title fight in round two, he went the distance with Urijah Faber, finished Manny Gamburyan in round two, and had since only had two finishes, one of which was a TKO to an injury, and the other with one second left in round one, where many people dispute whether he would’ve got the finish if he wasn’t grabbing the fence. Point being, he often times won decision after decision as champion, why?

When he has to prepare for a five-round fight, it wears on your body more than preparing for a three-round fight; and the fight itself, he doesn’t have to worry about getting tired. What happened in his first three round fight in nine years? He scored a first-round knockout over an incredibly tough Jeremy Stephens, who had never been finished like that before, ever. He knows he’s always done well in the first three rounds and starts to fade afterwards. If he only has three rounds, he can be more explosive and go for the finish more, and I love that. I miss the old Jose Aldo that’d just destroy everyone with beautifully reckless Muay Thai, during his title reign he stagnated, doing a similar thing that Georges St Pierre did, just beat everyone with the basics, which worked for a while. However, St Pierre used his ground game and striking to beat his opponents, Aldo has only ever really used his striking.

Both of these men have two black belts, Jose Aldo’s in Luta Livre and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Renato Moicano’s in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I think this will mainly be a stand-up fight, but who knows, this is MMA with two of the top featherweights on planet earth. Tune in and enjoy the scrap!

Analysis: A closer look at the main event at UFC on ESPN+ 2

This Saturday on February 2nd, the UFC touches down in Fortaleza, Brazil for its second ESPN + fight card. Headlining the card will be a bout between ultra talented and long time bantamweight staples, Raphael Assuncao (27-5) and Marlon Moraes (21-5-1).

This is a rematch of their 2017 fight at UFC 212 that ended in a razor-thin split decision. That fight, however, was only three rounds, they get an extra two this time around to see who the real #1 contender at bantamweight is.

Marlon Moraes made his UFC debut against Assuncao in a losing effort. He has since won his last three straight, his last two by KO in a combined 1:40, over #5 bantamweight Jimmie Rivera, and #7 bantamweight Aljamain Sterling, who had a combined record of 35-3 and had only lost split decisions. Marlon also held the WSOF Bantamweight Championship and would have six title defenses if he didn’t schedule a catchweight fight at 140 lbs right after winning the title, so he, therefore, has five defenses.

Marlon also had a little bit rougher of a start to his career than Assuncao did, going 5-4-1 in his first 10 fights, being finished in all four losses, and has gone 16-1 since. Raphael Assuncao went 9-0 before dropping a majority decision to then top contender Jeff Curran and has gone 18-4 since. However, three of those most recent losses of Assuncao’s were at 145 lbs.

Raphael Assuncao has been on the big stage for quite a while now, going 3-2 in the WEC at featherweight, losing his UFC debut, also at featherweight, then he dropped to bantamweight for his second UFC fight back in 2011, and has been there since. 135 lbs is definitely his home, as he’s gone 11-1 since dropping down, the only loss being to bantamweight king TJ Dillashaw, and also holds a win over him. He’s 1-1 against the champ, and 10-0 otherwise at bantamweight.

I think it’s also safe to say, if Raphael Assuncao wasn’t in the UFC the entire time, he would most likely be a multiple time world champion as well. Their reaches and heights are very similar, both have Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts, and Marlon has a Muay Thai black prajiad (strap/belt). Moraes is more of a proven finisher, with 15 finishes and 6 decisions; Raphael has 14 finishes and 13 decisions, that doesn’t necessarily mean Moraes is better, because Assuncao’s fight IQ is incredibly high.

This is a very interesting rematch and I believe it needed to happen, the winner gets a shot at the belt, according to Dana White.

Report: Rockhold talks about his move to light heavyweight

Luke Rockhold recently went on Submission Radio and discussed his plans for 2019 and it involves a move to the light heavyweight division. He talked about his most recent fight booking and cancellation, a rematch with Chris Weidman, stating he had a small ACL and PCL tear, and he is still rehabbing his knee until it is 100%, then said he is coming for the 205 lb division.

He expressed that he is unimpressed with the UFC light heavyweight division and called fellow contenders Thiago Santos and Anthony Smith “middleweight washouts that are sloppy in so many ways”. When asked about Anthony Smith getting the next title shot at 205lbs, he said he didn’t look good in his last fight and claimed he looked like a ‘bum’. I think it’s safe to say Luke won’t be making any friends at light heavyweight as of yet.

Rockhold also mentioned he would like one or two fights before a title shot as he wants to be comfortable in the division. He stated the move is long overdue and he is tired of compromising his body to make 185lbs as it gets hard towards the end and makes his body shut down so a move to light heavyweight may be refreshing.

Opinion: All four of Luke’s losses are via knockout, I don’t think they hit any softer at light heavyweight. However, perhaps the division isn’t as stacked as middleweight and as Luke said, he won’t be killing his body. Time will tell if this was the right move.

Live Results: UFC on Fox 31 – Lee vs. Iaquinta

Saturday 15th December 2018, Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin – the UFC touches down tonight in Wisconsin tonight for a rematch in the UFC lightweight division between surging lightweight, Kevin Lee and hard-nosed Long Island scrapper, Al Iaquinta.

We will have four fights on our main card with a feature co-main event between Brazilian striker Edson Barboza and Austrailian prospect, Dan Hooker.

Six exciting fights on the FS1 prelims, and two fights on Fight Pass. The Fight Pass prelims will start at 4pm, FS1 prelims at 5pm, and the main card on FOX at 8pm ET.

The card is as follows and the results along with play-by-play coverage will be covered over on the @MMA_Motion Twitter account:

Main Card:

  • Al Iaquinta (14-4-1) def. Kevin Lee (17-4) via UD (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)
  • Edson Barboza (20-6) def. Dan Hooker (17-8) via KO in round 3
  • Rob Font (16-4) def. Sergio Pettis (17-5) via UD (30-27 x3)
  • Charles Oliveira (25-8) 1 NC def. Jim Miller (29-13) 1 NC via Submission in round 1 (Rear Naked Choke)

Prelims: Fox Sports 1

  • Zak Ottow (17-6) def. Dwight Grant (8-2) via SD (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Drakkar Klose (10-1-1) def. Bobby Green (24-9-1) via UD (29-28 x3)
  • Joaquim Silva (11-2) def. Jared Gordon (14-3) via KO in round 3
  • Zak Cummings (22-6) def. Trevor Smith (15-9) via UD (29-28 x3)
  • Jack Hermansson (18-4) def. Gerald Meerschaert (28-10) via Submission in round 1 (Guillotine)
  • Dan Ige (10-2) def. Jordan Griffin (17-6) via UD (29-28 x3)

Early Prelims: Fight Pass

  • Mike Rodriguez (10-3) def. Adam Milstead (8-3) 1 NC via TKO in round 1
  • Juan Adams (5-0) def. Chris de la Rocha (5-3) via TKO in round 3

Confirmed: Diego Sanchez vs Mickey Gall booked for UFC 235

It looks like Mickey Gall will get his wish as he’s now slated to fight The Ultimate Fighter series one winner, Diego Sanchez at UFC 235 in Las Vegas.

After Gall’s last win over George Sullivan at UFC Fight Night 135, he called out “The Nightmare” for a good old-fashioned scrap, and it looks like the challenge has been accepted.

Gall has gathered himself a reputation for his post-fight callouts, with names such as Sage Northcutt and Dan Hardy, rolling off his tongue in some of his previous Octagon interviews.

The Jackson-Wink veteran, Sanchez is by far the most experienced fighter Mickey has ever fought with 41 fights to his record and an accumulation of 16 years of experience in the cage. However, in the last two years, his form has become questionable, ultimately going 3-3 since the start of 2016.

Gall has built a solid reputation in the UFC welterweight division since being discovered on the show “Dana White: Looking for a Fight”. He was drafted predominantly to face a debuting CM Punk. Gall subsequently dispatched Punk with ease in the first round and has since followed through with wins over notable names such as Sage Northcutt and George Sullivan.

Youth and ground technicals are definitely on his side, but experience may play a factor, who knows with this one?

Report: Aldo vs. Moicano scheduled for UFC on ESPN+2

 

Former two-time UFC featherweight champion, Jose Aldo (27-4) is set to square off next against fast-rising talent and fellow Brazilian, Renato Moicano (13-1-1) on February 2nd in Fortaleza, Brazil.

Headlining the card will be a rematch between top bantamweights Raphael Assuncao (27-5) and Marlon Moraes (21-5-1). Some may question why they get the spotlight over Aldo and Moicano, but I like this idea.

Firstly, the first fight between Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes ended in an incredibly close split decision over the course of three rounds. Now, in case it goes three close rounds again, they’ll have another two to really decide who the number one contender at 135.

Secondly, I like the idea of Jose Aldo in three round fights if he’s not fighting for a belt; dating back to his WEC debut when he was 10-1, he has a finish in every single three-round fight to this day. He hadn’t had a three-round fight scheduled in 8 1/2 years leading up to the Jeremy Stephens fight, and he finished it in just over four minutes. He knows when he’s scheduled for three rounds that he doesn’t have to worry about his cardio. His cardio is always good until after the first three, and he conserves himself almost the entire fight because five rounds have always been tough for him. He knows he can be explosive and go for it whenever he wants now, which makes for an even better, and more exciting Jose Aldo. He would just destroy everyone until they couldn’t take it with beautifully destructive Muay Thai, it was always violent.

Renato Moicano has some Muay Thai of his own, as he is a black belt in it, and is also longer than Aldo; he stands 4” taller and has a 2” reach advantage on him.

Both men are elite level black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but we see much more of a ground game from Moicano. We have seen him submit Tom Niinimaki in his UFC debut, a guy that multiple time world BJJ Champion Rani Yahya couldn’t do when he fought him. His next two bouts seen him take a pair of split decisions, one over highly touted Russian prospect Zuba Tukhugov, and longtime UFC vet Jeremy Stephens; before losing to last weekends featherweight title challenger Brian Ortega, and has since rebounded with a UD victory over Calvin Kattar, and first-round submission over Cub Swanson.

A note to take, Moicano has submitted six of his thirteen opponents, all by rear naked choke; Aldo does have one loss via rear naked choke, however that was over 13 years ago at this point. Aldo does have one submission win, it was via arm triangle but that was even longer ago than his submission loss. Sixteen of his wins are by (T)KO, both men are coming off first-round finishes in common opponents.

Until Aldo’s last win, he was in a real rough patch; losing three of his last four, all by knockout. Getting slept against McGregor, then taking a ton of damage in each Holloway fight, many of us thought Aldo would never be the same. To be KO’d, to have a great rematch with Edgar and make it easier the second time, then losing back-to-back poundings, a lot of us assumed his best days were behind him. Then to come out against Stephens like he did, getting hurt against a guy like that, not quitting and getting the stoppage shortly thereafter, it was the Aldo of old for sure.

This is a very interesting fight, and it’s looking like it’ll be a promising card I’m very excited for this one.

Analysis: The story behind the UFC 231 main event

 

On December 8th, in Toronto, Canada, the long-awaited Featherweight Championship match up between the ultra-talented Champion Max Holloway and BJJ expert Brian Ortega will finally happen.

The Champion was scheduled to defend his title against longtime top contender Frankie Edgar before being forced to pull out with a leg injury. Ortega then stepped in on short notice, only to shock the world and cement his spot as #1 contender. Most didn’t think it was the smartest idea for the young gun going up against a very experienced and elite fighter on three weeks notice.

We thought, if T-City wins this, it’s going to be a submission; Frankie is a BJJ black belt under Ricardo Almeida but it’s clear Brian’s BJJ is the elite of the elite, no one could see him outpointing Edgar, and didn’t expect him to submit him, we just were thinking that’s his only shot. He comes out and gets a KO late in round 1 with a series of vicious uppercuts.

After that, Max tried to step in on a week notice to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the Lightweight Championship when Tony Ferguson pulled out with a freak accident knee injury but was forced by the commission to withdraw from the bout because of the weight cut.

The pair was then supposed to meet at UFC 226 until Holloway was forced to withdraw due to concussion-like symptoms. The last three fights Max Holloway has been scheduled for, he hasn’t been able to show up, unfortunately.

Now we should finally be able to watch this high-level match up once and for all. Since each of them came to the UFC, we all expected big things from them. Each were world champions before joining the big show. Max Holloway won the X-1 lightweight championship over five rounds in his third pro fight, and T-City won both the RTC and RFA Featherweight titles in five-round fights and defended the RTC title once with a triangle choke victory.

Max came to the UFC in 2012 when he was 19 years old at 4-0 to fill in for Ricardo Lamas against Dustin Poirier; and though he lost that fight, by first-round submission at that, we seen very good striking, he looked like a very seasoned fighter, even as an adolescent. Each of his opponents had a wealth of experience over him before joining the UFC.

Ortega’s UFC debut was a little more anticipated. He was supposed to fight TUF 14 winner Diego Brandao in his debut, however, Diego withdrew, and Brian was also taken off the card due to how late the injury occurred. Two months later he came in and steamrolled Mike De La Torre and got a rear naked choke victory in under two minutes. It was soon overturned due to a failed drug test, he got a nine-month suspension and came back a little over ten months later to fight a long time veteran Thiago Tavares in a tough back and forth war before getting the finish late in round three by TKO.

His next three fights looked pretty similar, back and forth wars until he stops them, submitting two high-level black belts Diego Brandao, and Renato Moicano and KO’ing the very durable Clay Guida with a beautifully timed knee with only 20 seconds left on the clock.

After his four third-round finishes, he submits another BJJ black belt in Cub Swanson in round 2, then shocks the world with his first-round KO of the modern day MMA Rocky, Frankie Edgar, becoming the first man to ever stop him.

Max Holloway’s UFC career was a little rockier at the start, after losing his debut, he wins three in a row before his next loss. At 7-1 he goes in to fight TUF 14 finalist Dennis Bermudez, and loses a very tough split decision.

I for one didn’t understand how two judges gave that fight to Bermudez, and still don’t. Then he fought Conor McGregor and lost a unanimous decision in a fight both guys got injured in.

Since then, he hasn’t lost a fight and is on a 12 fight win streak with 9 finishes.

The fight that really let us know he’s a top level elite fighter was when he stepped in to fight Cub Swanson, most thought it was too early for a top guy like that; he passed with flying colours and dominated him up until the late submission win.

Three fights and three wins later, he fought former WEC and UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis for the interim featherweight championship and became the first person to ever finish him. He then unified the title with Jose Aldo, winning via TKO in round 3, then rematched him and had the same result. People talk about T-City’s third round finishes, but Max actually has more, he has six, Ortega has five, four in the UFC. Ortega has some of the most opportunistic and skilful BJJ any of us have ever seen, and an ever improving stand up game.

When asked about his cardio, his coach Rener Gracie said his cardio isn’t really the best, not that it’s bad but he does get tired, he just knows how long is left on the clock and knows what he needs to do to get the finish. I’d say aside from the Jose Aldo vs Chad Mendes fights, Aldo vs Conor, and Aldo vs Holloway, this is the highest level match up featherweight has ever had.

Both guys are so elite at what they do, it’s going to be a war! We just need to pray that these next few days go accordingly for Max.