Clint’s Corner: Fight Island Double-Header Sneaky Good Fights
By: Clint MacLean (@DieHardMMAPod)
Not only are we coming off of an absolute banger for UFC 251, but we are being treated to multiple fight cards in a single week. Things can’t get much better for MMA fans right now. UFC 251 delivered on the entertainment, and only the main event didn’t live up to the hype, but it was a Kamaru Usman fight, so what did you expect? We had early finishes, back and forth wars, dominant showcases, drama, robberies, and I believe we might have set the record for crotch shots in a single event. I was on the wrong side of a few bounces, and if it weren’t for my losing a bit of cash, I would be way more satisfied with my UFC 251 experience.
OUT COLD 🥶
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 11, 2020
The beautiful thing is that my walk of shame won’t be lasting too long. This week we get a small glorious taste of what the other major sports get on a daily basis with multiple events. The only issue is for people like myself who cover and especially bet the sport we have twice as much work and half the time to do it all. What we are going to do is spotlight some of the fights on both Wednesday’s and Saturday’s cards that you may not be aware of! Fights with hot prospects or excellent matchups with names you don’t recognize because there will be a lot of them!
The first thing you need to know about Wednesday’s UFC fight night is that it has some low-level competition. These cards can range from strange events and stinker fights to being the most exciting cards you can find. When you have younger fighters, who are looking to break into the public mainstream and make a name for themselves, they can fight harder than the established vets. So even though you might scoff at the idea of this card after getting to watch Justin Gaethje, Jorge Masvidal, and Jose Aldo fight, but the fact is it’s a free card, don’t complain too much.
The first fight you need to set your sights on is Jared Gordon vs. Chris Fishgold. Jared Gordon has one of the most amazing stories in MMA. He took his life from being a hardcore drug addict to turning it all around and now competing in the hardest sport on the planet at the highest level. Gordon has fallen on tough times though having lost 3 of his last four by knockout, and he is dropping back down to 145 from 155 where he has recently been competing, and some might think that will help his chances, but all I hear is that more water is getting sucked out of his head. Chris Fishgold might be known primarily as a grappler, but he has severely underrated striking power, and honestly, at this point, I think that Gordon is damaged goods. He has lived a hard life, and that will take its toll on your durability at some point. I don’t know how you trust a chinny fighter in this spot at this point in his career. I am going to take the shot on Chris Fishgold to give Gordon his walking papers.
— MMA Gone Wild 🅙 (@mmagonewild) November 17, 2019
The Next fight you need to know about for Wednesday’s card is John Philips vs. Khamzat Chimaev. I had every intention of betting John Phillips as an underdog against his previous opponent, but this Khamzat Chimaev is a whole different monster. This kid is LEGIT! Khamzat trains with former UFC 205 title challenger Alexander The Mauler Gustafsson and is UFC ready after just six fights. I know that he hasn’t fought UFC competition, and I don’t usually like to look at fighters making their UFC debut, especially on short notice, but you can’t help it here. Phillips is a heavy-handed brawler who can KO just about anybody but struggles with the ground game. Chimaev is a chain grappler with an intense top pressure game and serious submission offense. I honestly can’t see Philips getting out of the first round in this one.
For Saturday’s card, there will be several more recognizable names for you to follow, but several great spots. Most of you may not be familiar with Brett Johns, but he is an exceptionally well-rounded fighter who the UFC fans forgot. Johns fought Pedro Muhoz and Aljo Sterling a few years ago and put up a hell of a fight, but dropped both matches. He took two years off to work on his game and has become extremely solid as a fighter, and I am extremely excited about his newest UFC run. I honestly believe that Johns will be a problem for a lot of people in the division, but he is facing a physical monster in Montel Jackson this Saturday. Johns has the skills to beat Jackson, but at a certain point, size matters, and I am afraid that Johns will find himself too small against Jackson. Jackson does have a tendency to slow down in his fights, and Johns is dangerous until the final bell, though, so he will make this fight interesting, especially in round 3.
ICYMI: Brett Johns gave us one of the most rare submissions in UFC history on Friday night. Then he had awesome words to go with it. pic.twitter.com/ji0DG2zH7Y
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) December 2, 2017
The last fight I want to spotlight is Roman Dolidze vs. Khadis Ibragimov. Roman is an undefeated prospect making his UFC debut and is facing a young Khadis who is likely fighting for his job. Khadis was undefeated prior to entering the UFC and has simply been disappointing ever since. He seems to have all the right pieces, but isn’t putting it all together at the top level and has one last opportunity in front of him. It seems like the UFC may have figured out that Khadis doesn’t belong, though, because they are bringing in the hammer Roman Dolidze to get his career started. Roman is a physical beast and has fast hands and big power. I am thinking that poor Khadis goes 0-3 in the UFC and more than likely takes a canvas nap this weekend.
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