Eye vs. Calvillo Recap & Blaydes vs. Volkov Preview
By Clint MacLean (@DieHardMMAPod)
So can we all start by admitting we were wrong about Eye vs. Calvillo?? Even I talked some shit about how bad the card was leading up to it. Especially after all the fighter dropouts and short notice replacements, I thought we were in for an absolute shit show… It turns out this was an incredibly fun night of fights!! The only critique I have is that with all the fast finishes, there was a lot of downtime, but that’s not the UFC’s fault. The prelim fighters came out the gates blazing, and the first three fights had a combined 1 minute and 53 seconds of cage time. For a match that was stamped “Worst UFC Card EVER” by most fans, we had some fireworks to kick things off, and several young stand-outs demanded to have the spotlight on them. It’s too bad we lost Griffin vs. Minner because even though I expected that fight to be over relatively quickly as well, it would’ve filled some of that air time that was hanging before the main card started.
Speaking of the main card, that was fun too! It wasn’t as fast and furious as the undercard was, but the 3 round battles we had showcased the fighters who fought tooth and nail to prove their worth on this card. Espinosa was able to use his athletic advantage to dismantle Mark De La Rosa. Andre Fili was able to get by my favorite underdog on the card in Charles Jourdain, but only barely and that fight deserved fight of the night, in my opinion. I’m FLOORED that those boys didn’t get a bonus. The co-main event lived up to the hype, and Vettori finally got his revenge on Roberson for missing weight and pulling out of their last fight via the first-round submission and cashed a bunch of our tickets on the under at +180!!
The main event was highly entertaining, and Calvillo was able to show that she belonged at 125. On top of that, I have to say it was REALLY fun to watch Eye get dismantled after she was so abrasive about the weight thing. She is on record roasting fighters who miss weight, and this week she missed by 0.25 pounds, but the report is that she was over by more like 4 pounds. Fellow fighter JoJo Calderwood called her out on social media for using the hoop to help her get away with nearly making weight even though she was nowhere near the 126 allowance and Eye came AFTER JoJo for it. The guilty party lashing out when she was called on her cheating is pretty despicable, in my opinion. If you’re going to cheat to try to make weight and save your fight purse, okay, I get it! But own it if you get caught. Don’t try to trash the fighters who call you on it when they are 100% right to do so. Not to mention I had a bet on Calvillo, so it was a great night and main event for me overall.
Enough about the fights that already happened! Let’s talk about this week. HEAVYWEIGHTS!!! Who doesn’t love the big boys? Curtis “Razor” Blaydes is renewing his assault on the heavyweight division, and the UFC matchmakers are giving him a very worthy opponent in Alexander “Drago” Volkov.
Can I just say…. I love that Volkov goes by “Drago”? I grew up watching the Rocky series, and they were my favorite movies as a kid. Some of you may be too young to get this reference, but I about wore the VHS tapes out. I watched them so many times, and by far, the best of the series is Rocky 4 when Rocky heads to Russia to take on Ivan Drago!! The soundtrack to that movie is incredible, and I use it to this day whenever I hit the treadmill. I like to imagine I am training in a montage to take on Drago and climbing a snowy mountain in frozen Russia to this day.
Volkov is a great striker who has been able to out-point his opponents so far at the UFC level. He has a bunch of KOs on his record but hasn’t been able to show that power off much in the UFC. He did KO Stephan Struve, but let’s be honest…. Struve isn’t a quality opponent these days and gets KOd a lot. Volkov was impressive against former champion Fabricio Werdum and was able to wear the BJJ artist out by dragging him into deep waters, but again I can poke holes in that win. Werdum is getting old and seems to have lost his touch.
On top of that, the only reason he gave in during that fight was he simply had no gas left in the tank in round 4. Most recently, we saw Volkov take on the UFC’s best-protected prospect in Greg Hardy, and he was able to easily outwork the green fighter for 15 minutes and coast his way to a decision win. That was a big step up for Hardy and a fight that Volkov was supposed to win. The one blemish on Volkov’s UFC career was his last-second dramatic loss to Derrick The Black Beast Lewis. He again out-pointed his opponent for three rounds but let his guard down in the final seconds of round 3 and against a fighter with the punching power of Lewis he paid for it. It was one of my favorite fights in the last few years because I had a big bet on Derrick Lewis and was pouring myself a consolation drink when Lewis landed the bomb, and it turned into a celebratory drink in a hurry!!
I am a true believer of Curtis Blaydes, and I honestly think that if it weren’t for Francis Ngannou, he would have his hands on the title already. Blaydes only has two losses, and both are by KO to Frankie Murder. You have to possess an incredible death touch to do any damage to Blaydes, and if you don’t, he is an unrelenting force that will put you on your back and beat your face into the canvas. Blaydes is one of those fighters that flips a switch, and once that cage door shuts, he is out for blood, and there are few humans capable of stopping him. I know Volkov has excellent takedown defense, but he hasn’t faced an offensive wrestler the caliber of Blaydes. I am all team Blaydes here, and I think he wins by brutal TKO. If you are a gambler such as myself, I fully condone putting Blaydes in a parlay with whoever else you like on the card. The man is a money machine, and even at -300, he’s the way to go here. I wouldn’t mind taking him by TKO when those props come out later in the week as well, because he has a nasty habit of leaving his opponents in a pool of their blood.
As MMA fans, we are predisposed to cheering for violence, and Razor is the kind of fighter that gives it to us every time he gets in that cage. I expect to see Blaydes vs. Francis 3 at some point, but until then, I don’t know that there is another heavyweight out there who can stop this man. I am all Team Blaydes!