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UFC on Fox 29: Poirier vs. Gaethje (4/14/2018) - Glendale, AZ (Gila River Arena)

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6 hours ago, TheVileOne said:

Carlos Condit mentally checked out of MMA since the Lawler fight, and he never came back. He's just fighting for the paycheck to help with his side businesses selling micro-brew coffee and medical equipment.

I think Condit's fighting style lends to him being in fights that are tougher than they should be. If you remember, he was not doing good in that Alves fight before he broke Thiago's nose. Then the fight before that, he looked anything but good against Woodley. People expecting him to magically turn it on and he never did. His style is predicated on him landed that magical series of strikes and if he can't do that, he is going to get grinded on after being taken down or get outlanded. He fought with more urgency last night, but IMO, it was Oliveira who fought more disadvantaged than Condit with the short notice because he felt he need sell out so his cardio wouldn't fail him. Instead of pressuring Oliveira and getting him more tired, he was waiting on an opportunity to snatch a submission and it didn't come. Why are you initiating scrambles with someone who will be huffing and puffing by the time round 3 comes? All Oliveira had to do was fight on instinct because Condit was giving him avenues to win by without exerting much energy.

I also wanted to say last night that while Adesanya's current gym is the reason his striking is so awesome, it's apparent he has to leave New Zealand to make it to the next level. I'm not saying him leaving is going to be the same as Jon Jones leaving Bombsquad to go to Jackson's, but he has a ton of options as to who to go to as to not sacrifice his level of striking. I mean between the co-main and main event, I saw Brandon Gibson and Trevor Wittman cornering people. They can maintain Adesanya at his current level and also improve his technique. They wouldn't have leaning back so much. Plus, he would have a great chance to improve his grappling as they aren't a ton of options to do that where he currently is unless he wants to go train with Robert Whittaker or Alexander Volkanovski.

Vettori was running on reserves early on and Adesanya had a chance to march forward and decimate six or seven minutes in. His initial attempts to stop Vettori's trips were great (Vettori also has rudimental setups as DC pointed out so there is that), but off his back, Israel just waits for it to get stood back up. That's not going to work as he continues to climb. He can't do that against a Cara do Sapato he would slice his half guard open and mount him quickly. He was disappointed by his performance as he should be because he could've stopped Vettori as he landed that elbow which dazed Vettori to the point Marvin thought it was an eyepoke. Vettori is decent but he is a Fight Pass prelim guy Adesanya should be able to style on and put down within ten minutes. It's interesting how he responds to this because he probably has the same relationship with his trainer, who I have seen cornering him in Glory and his past MMA fights, like Ngannou has with Fernand Lopez. It's much tougher for fighters to leave trainers who they have been with forever and brought them up. You have to admire that type of loyalty. However, at the same time, someone like Adesanya doesn't have the leverage of a Ngannou who shares the same ability to end a fight at any given time but won't have to face the same number of good grapplers that Adesanya does. Maybe Israel can do what Francis did and go train stateside and bring his trainer with him. At some point though, we're going to reach that fork in the road no matter how many guys he can knock out impressively and probably sooner rather than later.

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Condit's entire career has been him emptying his arsenal against physically more gifted fighters.  He was young, tough, and skilled enough to pull off wins that he physically shouldn't have been able to compete in, but those days are over.  He's not that young, his toughness has taken its toll, and the skill level of his competition continues to increase.  He's one of my favorite fighters of all time, but he is on the downside of his career, and they need to put him in fun fights against other vets on the way down or he needs to hang up the gloves.  He's not going to be able to compete against top 10-15 level Welterweights going forward.

Justin Gaethje is going to have a very short UFC career.  Honestly, I don't know if I've ever seen anyone take the kind of damage he has in his first 3 UFC fights.  He knocked out Michael Johnson, but only after Johnson hit him square in the head with a bunch of shots that would have dropped anyone else.  The fights with Alvarez and Poirier were just him absorbing punishment to his head while trying to go tit for tat trading head shots for leg kicks.  He's tough as nails and his fights are thrilling, but that shit is not going to work against the kind of competition he's fighting. 

Dustin Poirier is one of those fighters who I'll never understand how his career hasn't been better.  He seems to have all of the talent in the world, he has a really diverse striking game, good power, and good grappling, but he also seems to get cracked every now and then and has to go back to the drawing board.  My favorite thing he did in that fight is vary the rhythm and power on his combinations.  He'd throw jab, jab, power cross, hard hook, a pregnant pause, followed by a softer jab, a pawing cross, and another hard hook.  Gaethje is just standing there trying to cover up, but those tempo changes lulled him into a false sense of security and Poirier was able to land another hard shot or two.  That is really high level striking, especially against a fighter like Gaethje who stays in the pocket and is available to be hit.  Gaethje's defense is not bad as a whole, but when someone is throwing combinations he just shells up and tries to weather the storm.  Shelling up like that makes it hard to see what your opponent is doing, and a really skilled, accurate striker like Poirier is going to eventually land something that is going to hurt.  

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Only thing I disagree with is the Gaethje defense comment. It is very bad and exactly for the reasons you went on to describe. Guy turtles up in the pocket and takes way too much damage. And this is how he fought in WSOF too. His fights there were just as crazy as the three in the UFC and he made guys who predominantly relied on their grappling or wrestling look like world class strikers because he's a stationary target with his hands up right there to be hit. The only thing that's different between then and now is the quality of competition isn't going to wilt as easily and will punish him more severely for being so reckless. And those looping counter haymakers are far less likely to land.

Poirier has all the tools but sometimes finds ways to lose. I thought he did a mostly great job of not getting suckered into Gaethje's wild brawls and generally kept it technical. He'd get in and out of power punch range while Gaethje was still in turtle mode and the odd time he had to use head movement to just avoid the power punches coming back at him. The leg kicks landing at will... that's troubling but the only guy in his possible near future who's leg kick heavy is Barboza. His only loss at lightweight in this most recent run was to Michael Johnson. He lost to McGregor at featherweight in 2014. He's probably only one good win away from a title shot but the division is such a mess at the top, so who knows. Ferguson, Alvarez, and Poirier will likely be left in limbo as the UFC puts together the big moneymaking fight, Khalabib vs. Conor (and that is absolutely the fight that should be made. We've been wanting it for years and this latest shit is only fuel on the fire, great optics or not). I would probably go with Alvarez vs. Ferguson and Poirier vs. the winner of Lee/Barboza (holy shit, that's this weekend!) in the mean time. Wasn't Alvarez/Poirier really good before the stoppage? I'd love to see them fight again too. Poirier feels more polished with these two most recent wins as he's less likely to give fights away now than he used to and is learning from his mistakes. Or at least that's how I see it. Seems more refined and comfortable sticking with the best path to victory. 

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I'm fine with Poirier getting the next title shot. Tony Ferguson just had surgery and will probably be rehabbing for a while. Khabib Nurmagomedov needs a fight, and IMHO Poirier is as good a contender as any to "solidify" his title reign. IMO, Poirier has earned his shot and has been a good representative of the UFC for years. He's been very reliable to them in his time in the UFC and WEC. 

Yes, if McGregor called Dana and Ari tomorrow and said, "I want that fooking Russian," they'd book it in a heartbeat. But the likelihood of that happening in the next six months is next to nil. It wouldn't happen until 2019 at the earliest.

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I thought they were looking at a big stadium show in Russia for September?

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I think the last PPV date of the year that hasn't been locked down is September. August is the Staples Center, October and December are in Vegas, and November is MSG.

Khabib wants to fight on the card in Russia and at MSG. We will be fortunate if even one of those things occur. However, I wouldn't be mad at Khabib vs. Poirier in Russia. Not a big title fight but the madness of the 223 fight week helped the show do way better than expected. Plus, you can keep the Ferguson fight and obviously a Conor fight in your back pocket.

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