IMO Gaethje is actually one of the more interesting challenges for Khabib, and I agree that Conor likely has a very good chance against him so for that reason I probably wouldn't want to see that fight.
I had Reyes winning 48-47 but I will have to rewatch it. I had Gustafsson beating Jones in their first fight watching live as well but then gave it to Jon after rewatching. Really great fight, Reyes is a beast.
I think the blueprint on how to beat Jones is out there now. His next fight is going to be interesting.
After lots of mishaps and false starts, Ferguson is now set to fight Justin Gaethje. I want to see this fight BUT I hate that it may eliminate one of them from fighting Khabib later. These were the two guys who represented Khabib's toughest matchups. To have them take each other out of the running feels bad.
Gaethje has the wrestling credentials to say Khabib won't throw him around like most others. We saw with Tibau, that other wrestlers can totally stuff Khabins offense. And Gaethje's striking seems well ahead of Khabib. Tony represents problems in other ways, with his scrambles and guard work. Stylistically, we need to see both against Khabib, regardless of who wins this match.
Has there ever been a more terrifying MMA fighter than Francis Ngannou?
Even though I saw Stipe Miocic grind him down and beat him the last time they fought, I STILL can't see how anyone can handle this guy. Not only does he hit hard but when you pay attention to just how fast his hands are when he's throwing combinations, it's so scary to watch.
Feel bad for Tony but Gaethje has really evolved into a truly elite fighter. Still think he gets handled by Khabib but good for him.
The mind boggling moment of the night for me was the Hardy/De Castro fight. All 3 judges had it 30-27 for Hardy but De Castro seemed to be landing more to me in round 1. He was chewing up Hardy's leg and had him limping back to his corner after round 1 and then just...... stopped fighting. It was so bizarre to watch. I'm not getting in there and fighting trained killers but it is always frustrating watching guys clearly winning fights and having their opponent on the back foot and then just letting off the gas and losing the decision. Jorge Masvidal used to do this ALL THE TIME.
Fun night of fights, though. Hopefully Jacare and his friends/family are able to have full recoveries.
^ Yeah, it was definitely an enjoyable night. I hope UFC continues to this trend tbh. Fewer fights so we can have ultra-stacked cards.
I feel like Rozenstruik didn't respond to that extended exchange anywhere near as well his credentials say he would. Then again, this is MMA striking. And Overeem was totally beating him too until he just checked out in the last 10 seconds. Francis is definitely scary as shit though. Can you imagine him pissed off at you?
I'm not sure how to feel about Cruz/Cejudo. Cejudo was definitely winning, but Dominick was standing up. I do understand the ref's reaction though, as it looked really bad with all the unanswered shots. It seemed like he'd already moved in to stop it right as Cruz rallied and was rising. Unfortunate situation either way.
As for Tony/Justin, this is why I didn't want this fight to happen. Justin might be Tony's worst matchup, and I still think Tony/Khabib would be crazy. That said, I actually called Justin as the dark horse a while back. I do have to disagree with you on one point though, Trocity.
Straight up, on paper? I think Gaethje beats Khabib. Gaethje is a wildly superior striker with tooooons of power. Additionally, he's a D1 All American wrestler. Considering Gleison Tibau stuffed every single takedown Khabib attempted, I still firmly believe Khabib has lucked out and missed all the actual wrestlers who could stop him. He's still incredible, but I feel like Gaethje has the credentials to stuff the takedowns and do work with his terrifying kickboxing. He's actually fighting smart nowadays, with head movement and footwork to back up he ferocity and power.
Granted, this is all on paper. Could go differently on the night. I understand siding with Khabib too.
I'm always watching.
Last edited by StyleTime on May 11th, 2020 at 05:11 AM
This card truly was like a love letter to those stacked mid 2000's cards before the UFC was oversaturated and putting on fights every other week.
On the Cruz/Cejudo thing: ultimately the ref probably got it right. I do think it was a weird stoppage though in that Cruz was being hit with unanswered shots for a bit and it could have been stopped... but then the shots started to miss and graze him and the ref decided to step in when it looked like he was getting back up. It was like a weird limbo stoppage where it was stopped too late almost and so the ref tried to compensate by "stopping it too early." It does suck though because Cruz wasn't out and so the argument that it could have gone on is legit. How many refs would have stopped Lesnar vs Carwin in round 1? Lesnar would have been robbed of that win. It's unfortunate.
I definitely agree since Gaethje is a way better striker and hits really hard and so he could certainly catch Khabib. I just don't put too much stock into the Gleison Tibau fight though because that dude was a giant lightweight literally cutting from like 200 pounds, and he's been popped multiple times for PEDs. I cut Khabib some slack on that one. I could see Gaethje winning for sure but I would be confident betting on Khabib.
Last edited by Trocity on May 11th, 2020 at 05:38 AM
Yeah. I understand this trend toward "fighter safety" in MMA, but I also think about all the insane comebacks we saw in the past. It was practically a whole style for certain fighters. For one, isn't "fighter safety" already an illusion? They're literally trying to maul each other. Maybe we should let the fighters decide when they want it stopped. Especially, with belts/money on the line. An early stoppage in a key fight could totally change a career's trajectory.
Fair point on Tibau. I've seen people bring up Khabib smashing Abel Trujillo too, but I don't feel like he's quite the wrestler Gaethje is. Abel was NAIA. It's not automatically a bad thing, but I think the skill is more variable than NCAA.
We'll probably have an answer soon enough though. The only person I could see jumping ahead of Gaethje is Conor wanting a rematch.
I'm always watching.
Last edited by StyleTime on May 12th, 2020 at 01:04 AM
Hell yeah. He was one of the the first legends I got to actually witness as it happened, rather than watching old videos of it. It's an interesting feeling when you know you're watching history be made.
I'm always watching.
Last edited by StyleTime on May 13th, 2020 at 12:30 AM
Nobody more deserving to be in the Hall of Fame than Rush. The definition of a martial artist, always a total professional. A guy who didn't even wrestle in high school throwing around college wrestlers. No outside of the octagon controversies, never popped for PEDs. A clean career.
He was even being scouted by the Canadian National Team, which is insane. It's partially why I don't buy that idea that MMA has too much ground to cover. GSP showed us that MMA is its own thing. I heard an Olympic wrestler claim GSP would lose in pure wrestling to many wrestlers, but his MMA abilities allowed him to outwrestle "superior" pure wrestlers in a fight. He mixed it together so well.
I actually explained a gif with him and Alves a loooong time ago here. Alves was sidestepping a jab feint from GSP, which set up the double leg that GSP followed up with. Just like Khabib's grappling threat let him knock Connor down, fighters were so pre-occupied with GSP's top notch striking that it enabled him set up stuff like that.
He and Mighty Mouse have really strong claims to number 1 p4p. Like you said, they were always clean and really captured what a fully realized MMA skillset should look like.
I'm always watching.
Last edited by StyleTime on May 14th, 2020 at 04:55 AM