All posts by Daniel Feliciano

What is Jadon Sancho’s Best Move?

Despite Covid-19 and rearranged football schedules, it always seems to be transfers that are the top story in football. That won’t change this summer, as Jadon Sancho is set to dominate the headlines during the “summer” transfer window this post-season.

Sancho, 19, is set to be the centre of a tug-of-war between Europe’s biggest clubs as Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid and PSG are all interested in England’s electric winger.

While Borussia Dortmund are calm about the situation, claiming that they are aware of the interest and won’t sell for less than their asking price just because of the Covid-19 pandemic. That asking price is reportedly €130 million, around £115 million, which has already got some clubs doubling back a little.

Real Madrid have already claimed behind the scenes that there will be no big signings at the Bernabeu this summer as they prioritise their finances and sales to generate cash. Barcelona’s cash problems are well known so he isn’t a priority for them either. PSG would be interested if a move to Spain materialises for either Neymar or Mbappe, but for the reasons already mentioned that seems unlikely too. That leaves the four English sides to battle it out for his signature.

Liverpool are likely to be out of the race, considering they look certain to miss out on Timo Werner to Chelsea due to the finances of the deal. It could be that the club have pulled out of the Werner deal to ensure they can compete for Sancho, although that seems unlikely. Manchester City have come back into the race, with Sky Sports reporting that Sancho is open to returning to the Etihad Stadium after three years in Germany.

The real battle seems to between Chelsea and Manchester United. United are the most interested and according to most are willing to pay the highest fee to Dortmund, but they think the current asking price is too high. Another option would of course be for Sancho to stay in the Bundesliga for another year, which would leave him with one-year left on his contract going into next summer’s transfer window.

But what would Sancho’s best option be? He’s not short of them but which one would actually suit him the most and be best for his development?

At Manchester United, he walks straight into the starting line-up and improves the side immediately. On the right-wing, you would imagine he partners Anthony Martial and England team-mate Marcus Rashford in attack while being serviced from midfield by Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and potentially Donny Van de Beek. A solid attack for a team looking to get back to the head of the table in English football. The issue here is that United’s manager isn’t setting the world alight. There are many question marks about his ability at the top level and even with the Red Devils pressing for the Champions League places, his performance this season has been well below par for many fans.

England v Czech Republic - UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier : News Photo
Sancho and Hudson-Odoi are childhood friends – link up in London?

At Chelsea, he’d have more competition for his place. He’d also likely get put out onto the left wing, which wouldn’t be a problem for him at all. A new look attack of Werner, Ziyech and Sancho would do much to excite the fans and push Chelsea towards the title. It would also mark a return home for Sancho, who was born in London. A young English core is coming through at Stamford Bridge, with a lot of Sancho’s good friends at the club. Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori are all close to Sancho and could help to persuade him to exchange his yellow shirt for a blue one.

At Manchester City, you’d assume Sancho would come in as a direct replacement for Leroy Sane should the German complete an expected move to Bayern Munich. For the price he’d demand, you’d expect him to go straight into the line-up but he’d face stiff competition from Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva and even potentially Phil Foden in the wide positions. While you’d assume that he would be first choice because of the fee, Guardiola is known to rotate a lot with the options he has so that could see his game-time diminish. Not to mention that he has previously clashed with manager Pep Guardiola over game-time, which ultimately led to his decision to leave the Citizens and go to Dortmund.

Looking at the options it’s a tough decision for Sancho. He’d arguably have a better time at Chelsea with his friends and they’re building a squad to compete for trophies again. However the style of play that Ole Gunnar Solskjær is implementing at Old Trafford suits him more. The quick transition play is something that Dortmund are so good at and has helped Sancho achieve 17 goals and 16 assists in the league this season. Ultimately, both sides are on their way up the football pyramid once again and the race for the Champions League spots could be the deciding factor on where Jadon Sancho ends up next season.

Dustin Poirier vs Dan Hooker – Fight Breakdown

The UFC has announced that the UFC Apex card on June 27th will be headlined with a lightweight blockbuster as Dustin Poirier takes on Dan Hooker.

‘Diamond’ Poirier will return to the Octagon for the first time since his submission defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov in Abu Dhabi in September. Hooker will be fighting for the first time since February, when he scored a decision win over Paul Felder in New Zealand in one of the best fights of 2020.

In what is sure to be a fantastic main-event, fans are excited to see if Hooker can make the step-up to the elite level. ‘Hangman’ is currently on a 3 fight win streak, winning 7 of his last 8 fights. This will be his first fight against anyone ranked in the Top 5 though and Poirier will be game to ensure he doesn’t suffer back-to-back defeats for the first time in his career.

This one will almost certainly be an intense striking affair, with both fighters relying mainly on their stand-up game to outclass opponents. Poirier is one of the best pure boxers in the UFC, nevermind at Lightweight, and will look to use his excellent jab to great effect. It will be tough to do though since Hooker holds the height and reach advantage (72′ – 75′). Hooker likes to end his combos with a vicious leg-kick too, similar to Jose Aldo at his peak.

UFC Fight Night: Felder v Hooker : News Photo
Dan Hooker scored a decision win over Paul Felder in his last Octagon bout

Both men possess one-punch knockout power and are never afraid to pull the trigger, which will almost certainly mean fireworks early. Neither man has ever had any issue with their conditioning either. Poirier most recently went a full five rounds with Max Holloway, who fights at UFC 251 against Alexander Volkanovski on July 11th, showing that he can carry his power throughout the full 25 minutes.

Poirier also has the advantage if the fight does somehow end up on the ground though. The 31 year-old is a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt and holds 7 wins via submission in his career. In comparison, Hooker is a blue belt with zero submission wins in his career. ‘Hangman’ will be aware of this and I’m sure will look to use his reach advantage to land strikes and stay away from Poirier’s violent left-hooks.

It’s set to be a fantastic fight and one I definitely can’t wait for. If I had to make a prediction at this stage, I’d back Poirier to land a big shot that dropped Hooker before sinking in a submission and getting the tap-out win.

Should that happen, don’t look past a rematch with a certain Notorious one being next for ‘The Diamond’.

Premier League Returns!

The Premier League will make its long awaited return on Wednesday June 17th after exactly 100 days.

When Leicester beat Aston Villa 4-0 thanks to substitute Jamie Vardy’s brace on March 9th, many people were waiting for the inevitable announcement that the Premier League was going to suspend all games until further notice due to coronavirus. Nobody knew how long for.

As France, Holland, Scotland and Belgium all ended their season prematurely due to the virus, the Premier League refused to cancel the season and held several meetings with clubs to gauge the feeling of a return. After months of talks, it’s finally happening.

Aston Villa Training Session : News Photo
Jack Grealish will look to lead Aston Villa away from relegation

At 6pm on Wednesday, Aston Villa will host Sheffield United in a largely empty Villa Park as both sides look to get their season back on track. Villa are battling relegation, currently two points from safety with this their game in hand. The Blades though will be looking to continue their push for the Champions League places. A stunning season for Chris Wilder’s men has seen them push for a place among Europe’s elite for next season and should they win this game they’ll move ahead of Manchester United and Wolves just two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

Later that night, Arsenal travel to the Etihad to take on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. The Blues have had an inconsistent season slacking way behind will-be champions Liverpool having lost seven league games this season, the most Pep has ever lost in a single campaign. The match also marks the return of Mikel Arteta to Manchester, with the Spaniard leaving his role as Guardiola’s assistant in November to take over as the main man at the club where he was once captain.

Arsenal have suffered one of their worst seasons in recent memory, sitting in 9th place when the season was postponed. Arteta has come in and lifted spirits at the Emirates, but results haven’t really picked up. They’ve got a record of 4W-5D-1L since his appointment and are 8 points off Champions League places with this their game in hand.

A win would boost confidence that they can put up a real challenge as the season reaches a close but a loss would all but end their hopes.

As the Premier League returns without a title race, it’s the Champions League and relegation places that will hold everyone’s attention for the coming month or so. These two fixtures will get us back into the swing of things nice and quickly.

Premier League Quiz

The Premier League is back!

On Wednesday June 17th, the top division in England will return to action for the first time since March as we look to settle everything.

Liverpool look set to claim their first title since 1990 but European places and relegation are still a hot topic so the league will not be missing any drama upon its resumption. I’ve thrown together a quick quiz based on the Premier League season so far to see how much you can remember.

Let me know what you got and be sure to share it with your friends.

Lionel Messi Closing in on Big Record

After 98 days away from La Liga action, Barcelona returned to winning ways in Spain on Saturday night and once again it was largely due to the brilliance of Lionel Messi.

The Argentine grabbed two assists and a late goal in a blistering performance as Barça came away from the Iberostar Stadium as 4-0 winners.

Messi’s injury time strike added to goals from Arturo Vidal, Martin Braithwate and Jordi Alba as Barcelona extended their lead at the top of La Liga to 4 points, with Real Madrid due to face Eibar later this evening.

With his goal, Messi became the first player ever to score 20+ league goals for 12 consecutive seasons in Spain. Another record to add to an illustrious career of what many consider to be the greatest player of all-time.

The assist puts him on 14 league assists for the season too, which means if Messi can supply 6 more goals for his team-mates in the remaining 10 La Liga fixutres he will join a very exclusive club.

Since Opta began recording stats, only Thierry Henry has ever managed to achieve the coveted 20/20 season for goals and assists in a single league campaign across Europe’s Top 5 Leagues. The Frenchman, who was teammates with Messi during his time at Barcelona, notched 24 league goals and 20 assists for Arsenal during the 2002/03 campaign.

The assist record still stands today in the Premier League, something Kevin De Bruyne is chasing this year but the double is something many will be surprised to learn that Messi hasn’t accomplished yet.

The closest he has come so far was back in 2014/15 as part of the ‘MSN’ trio where he got 19 assists to go with his 43(!) league goals. While 6 assists in 10 games is not out of the question for the greatest playmaker to grace a football pitch, it’s unlikely he’ll feature in every fixture. La Liga are cramming 110 games into 39 days, meaning Barcelona will play 11 games in just 5-and-a-half weeks.

Messi had been struggling with a thigh injury prior to yesterday’s game so despite the 90 minutes fulfilled, Mallorca’s manager said he think’s it’s “impossible” that anyone can play every game.

If anyone can not play in every fixture and still get 6 more assists, it’s probably Lionel Messi.

Cynthia Calvillo Accepts Katlyn Chookagian Call Out

Cynthia Calvillo has got the attention of Flyweight division.

The division debutant outclassed #1 ranked Jessica Eye at UFC Fight Night Vegas 2 on Saturday night, winning a clear unanimous decision. The performance has given the UFC a new contender in the weight class dominated by Valentina Shevchenko and fans seem to be more excited about it.

That didn’t stop former title challenger Katlyn Chookagian from opening the door to a future bout with Calvillo.

Chookagian (13-3) bounced back from her loss to ‘Bullet’ by dismantling that Champion’s sister Antonina Shevchenko in her very next bout and is now on the look-out for fresh meat.

‘Blond Fighter’ sent out a tweet before Calvillo had even left the Octagon, suggesting she was ready to fight her next up if everyone was willing.

Calvillo accepted the fight immediately in her post-fight interview with Paul Felder, stating that he’s ready for anyone and everyone.

This got fellow pros talking, with Strawweight Tatiana Suarez chiming in on Twitter too giving her approval for the potential match-up.

During the post-fight press conference Calvillo doubled down on her acceptance of Chookagian’s challenge, saying “whoever, whenever” when asked again.

A fight between the two would definitely add a lot more weight to the Flyweight division, with fights of an immediate title shot for Calvillo far too premature in my opinion. Joanne Calderwood was scheduled to be next in line before the global pandemic and injury to Shevchenko.

She shouldn’t miss out on that title shot because a performance from a new contender, irrespective of how impressive it was.

The UFC should look to build Calvillo into a real challenger for Shevchenko if the believe she can be that. A fight with Katlyn Chookagian is probably the best way to go from here.

UFC Fight Night Vegas 2: Eye vs Calvillo – Results (Highlights)

PRELIMS

Christian Aguilera def Anthony Ivy via TKO (Round 1, 0:59)

Both fighters making their UFC debut come out and look to establish control of the centre. Aguilera throws some combos towards the head of Ivy, who responds with good footwork and a good jab. Aguilera throws a big overhand right that wobbles Ivy back to the cage. Aguilera pounces on the hurt Ivy and lands a big combo, dropping him with an inwards short elbow and the referee steps in to end this one early. Huge win for Christian Aguilera.

Tyson Nam def Zarrukh Adashev via KO (Round 1, 0:32)

Adashev rushes out in his UFC debut and opens with a nice combo. Nam looks calm and composed as he eats a leg kick and fires back with a huge right hand. Adashev is out cold as Nam follows up with a punch but this one is over quickly. What a knockout for Nam, who is visibly emotional in the Octagon afterwards.

Julia Avila def Gina Mazany via TKO (Round 1, 0:22)

Avila rushes out of the blocks with a hard combo and rocks Mazany immediately. She retreats to the cage covering up, Avila continues to smash her with strikes and the referee stops the fight. Another quick stoppage! What is in the air in Vegas?!

Merab Dvalishvili def Gustavo Lopez via Unanimous Decision (30-26 x2, 30-25)

Both fighters look to take the centre of the Octagon quickly to establish control with ‘The Machine’ winning that early battle. A small exchange of strikes but nothing significant as we pass the minute mark of round 1 for the first time tonight. Lopez showing some good takedown defence as Merab pushes a hard pace as usual, before the Georgian gets a takedown eventually. Some good ground and pound strikes land before Lopez gets back on his feet and the round comes to a close. 10-9 Dvalishvili.

Second round starts with Merab once again pushing a fast pace. He lands a big overhand right before taking the fight back down to the ground once again, Lopez clearly starting to feel the pace now. Merab scoops Lopez’s head up in side control and starts cranking a nasty submission, but Lopez stays calm and eventually finds his way out after being in some considerable pain. More takedowns from Merab, with Lopez now visibly slowing down. The round comes to an end with Dvalishvili in control. 20-18 Merab.

Third round starts and ‘The Machine’ is looking dominant. His timing on the takedown has been excellent all night and he’s completely nullified the striking of Gomez. He’s taking him down at will and now gets into full mount with 2:30 to go in the fight. Merab out grappling Lopez and locks in a body triangle to keep the fight on the ground, before the Georgian takes his back into the final minute. Lopez stands up again and the two engage in a striking battle before Merab gets a personal best THIRTEENTH takedown of the fight to see the round out and surely earn a comfortable decision victory. 30-27 Dvalishvili.

MAIN CARD

Mariya Agapova def Hannah Cifers via Submission (Round 1, 2:42)

Agapova comes flying out of the gate with heavy shots and landing. Both go back and forth with strikes but Agapova continuing to dominate the exchanges, showing her clear advantage on the feet. She lands a huge head kick that rocks Cifers and goes straight on the attack. She locks in a body triangle while standing and takes Cifers’ back, sinks in the rear naked choke and gets the tap. Impressive win for the debutant.

Jordan Espinosa def Mark De La Rosa via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)

Espinosa starts the fight on the outside, looking to use his footwork to out manoeuvre De La Rosa who he knows wants the takedown in this fight. A deep shoot sees Espinosa against the cage with one leg being held, but he proceeds to land heavy strikes to the body. De La Rosa not looking to advance at all from this position and is eating heavy elbows and punches to the head. The round ends with more of the same. De La Rosa tells his corner he was trying to wear out Espinosa but it seems like a very strange decision from him. 10-9 Espinosa.

Round 2 starts with more of the same, with Espinosa happy to concede the centre of the Octagon. More strong strikes and movement as De La Rosa goes for the takedown, again grabbing the single leg but eating shots while backing his opponent up against the cage. Espinosa cruises through the round pretty much unscathed. 20-18 Espinosa.

The third round begins with a bit more urgency from De La Rosa, who’s corner has told him he’s two rounds down and needs to go straight for the takedowns. Espinosa is using his footwork excellently to avoid any attacks and shoots in himself with a superb double-leg. He starts punishing De La Rosa with clean ground and pound strikes and after a scramble finds himself with a d’arce choke almost perfectly set up. He abandons the submission for more strikes, landing a huge knee to the body with De La Rosa on one knee. The round ends with Espinosa comfortably ahead and a comfortable victory in the end.

Andre Fili def Charles Jourdain via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

A fast start from both fighters, with heavy shots from both but many of them hitting air. Lots of movement from both men as expected in this one. Some good back and forth from both, with Jourdain ripping kicks towards Fili’s right side. ‘Touchy’ is blocking and parrying a lot of these kicks, but they’re very hard and he may have injured his arm here. A good exchange and a big overhand right from Jourdain drops Fili but his experience helps him to keep ‘Air’ off him while he recovers on his back. With 30 seconds to go in the round, Fili lands a good takedown and ends the round in control to make it difficult for the judges. 10-9 Jourdain for me.

The second round is a bit more controlled from both fighters. Lots of quick combinations from both, with some landing but nothing clean. Lots of heavy leg kicks from Jourdain as he tries to slow Fili down, but the Samoan-born American lands a takedown and starts to land some nice ground and pound. Fili controlling his opponent overall and the round comes to an end with the scores likely even. 19-19.

The 3rd begins with Fili looking fresher, although Jourdain is not afraid to pull the trigger at all. More leg kicks from the Canadian to try and slow Fili down but to no avail as he gets another takedown late in the round. Not much action in this round with both seemingly more worried about losing the round than winning it but Fili’s takedowns in this fight have ultimately come in clutch for him in the end. 29-28 Fili for me.

Charles Rosa def Kevin Aguilar via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Aguilar starts the fight with a big right hand that causes Rosa to lose his balance, but he isn’t hurt and takes his stance back quickly. Rosa lets fly with a big overhand left but completely misses his target. Aguilar looks much looser so far but not much action in the first round at the moment. Rosa moves forward with a left hook but Aguilar takes it and pushes forward himself. A nice one-two combo sends Rosa pushing back against the cage but once again no real damage landed. Rosa looking to land leg kicks to Aguilar’s lead leg but ‘The Angel of Death’ is now looking to counter them with an overhand right. A cut has appeared over Rosa’s right eye but it doesn’t look too bad. One of the kicks lands clean and Rosa stumbles but seems okay. A wild exchange leads to nothing but air. Rosa goes in for a takedown but Aguilar defends it and lands some heavy hammer-fists from a standing position. 10-9 Aguilar.

Second round starts with some aggression from Aguilar as he lands a nice body kick. Lots of jousting in the centre of the Octagon but not a crazy amount actually happening in there. More kicks land from Aguilar as Rosa swings a wild right hook. Co-commentator Paul Felder points out that neither fighter throwing any combinations during the bout. Another heavy body kick from Aguilar before he counters a leg kick with a nice left jab. Rosa goes for a head kick as Aguilar goes to grab a leg and lands square in the face but he eats it well. A nice left hand lands again from Rosa before another big kick lands to the head of Aguilar. A big right hook rocks him as Rosa’s corner shout for him to push forward but the buzzer goes. 19-19.

Round 3 starts with both men going for a finish! Heavy shots landing from both sides but Rosa’s punches having more of an effect. A big left straight from Rosa does well to land on Aguilar, who returns with a super right cross of his own. Aguilar being a bit more aggressive in this round than the previous two. Rosa loads up a big left hand but misses and Aguilar lands a nice combo to the body and head. Rosa moves within to clinching range and attempts to roll through to a knee bar but Aguilar reads it and steps away with no problems. More big strikes land from both men, with Rosa’s cut from the first round now starting to bleed much more. A nice body kick from Rosa lands as Aguilar starts to walk him down a bit more but a lovely left hand lands square on his chin. Final minute of the round now. Rosa starting to prioritise moving away from Aguilar rather than engaging, a sign he thinks he may have this fight won. Both men swing at air as the buzzer goes and the fight ends. This could go either way but I score it 29-28 to Aguilar, mainly for pressing and Octagon control.

Marvin Vettori def Karl Roberson via Submission (Round 1, 4:17)

This grudge match starts with a lot of feints as both men look to feel each other out early. Vettori throws a straight left but misses, before trying to find his way into range with some jabs. More feinting and movement from both men before they clinch against the cage. Roberson tries to throw Vettori and goes to take his back, but as they land on the ground Vettori is able to get out and scramble to a top position. He starts to land some ground and pound shots and slides an arm under the chin of Roberson for a guillotine, but Roberson spins out. Vettori holds onto the position and Roberson kicks off the cage to get out of the submission. Vettori starts landing some heavy ground and pound shots, forcing Roberson to try to push out. Vettori secures the position, slides the arm under the chin once again and takes the back of his opponent. He rolls him over as he locks in the hooks and this one is over with 43 seconds left of the first round due to a rear-naked choke. Very impressive performance from Vettori.

Cynthia Calvillo def Jessica Eye via Unanimous Decision (49-46 x2, 48-47)

The main event starts with Jessica Eye taking the centre of the Octagon, as Calvillo lands a nice combo on the chin of Eye. Calvillo’s speed seems a big factor in the opening exchanges as he’s landing on Eye quickly and cleanly although not with much power. Neither fighter seems worried about pulling the trigger, with both landing some nice jabs. Calvillo goes for a high kick but Eye reads it and catches the leg. Calvillo attempts to step in on Eye who sidesteps her and lands a lovely right hand. ‘Evil’ Eye currently winning the boxing match between the two women, but Calvillo goes with a high kick that lands but Eye once again catches the leg on it’s way down. Round closes out with a big exchange in the pocket but neither fighter takes any significant damage. 10-9 Eye for me.

A bit more urgency from Calvillo at the stat of the second as she lands a nice right hand and starts faking the takedowns. Eye jabbing well but Calvillo goes in for a takedown who sprawls well and lands a nice knee to the body, before Calvillo holds on and trips Eye to secure the first takedown of the fight. Good wrist control from Eye to avoid ground and pound as Calvillo attempts to take her back on the way up from the mat. Calvillo goes for a trip and Eye loses her balance but instead of the takedown, Cynthia takes the back and puts both hooks in expertly. Eye trying to fight being flattened out while Calvillo lays on top of her with the hooks in by holding onto one of the arms with a two-on-one grip. Calvillo gets her arm free and starts landing some nice ground and pound strikes, keeping the body triangle in tight in the process. More strikes land as Calvillo attempts for the submission but the round ends as they scramble. 19-19 on my scorecard.

Eye looking to get back to boxing in the third round, establishing control of the centre of the Octagon and letting jabs fly. Calvillo looks much looser and bouncier on her toes but it’s quite clear in this round that both women are trying to ensure they don’t gas out before the fifth round. Calvillo attempts a spinning-back fist but it’s avoided by Eye as they exchange heavy shots in the pocket shortly afterwards. Calvillo starting to get the better of the striking exchanges, landing one-twos. A lovely combo from Eye lands to the body and face before Calvillo responds with a right hook. Lovely right hand connects from Eye but then Calvillo level changes beautifully and secures another takedown with just over a minute to go in the round. Eye gives up her back with 30 seconds to go as Calvillo locks in the body triangle once again but Eye fights the hands well and survives the rest of the round. 29-28 Calvillo.

‘Evil’ Eye was told by her corner to start kicking and opens the round with a left body kick attempt which is caught by Calvillo and turned in to a takedown. Calvillo takes the back very quickly and locks in the body triangle as she looks for the rear naked choke. Eye defending well but Calvillo is transitioning seamlessly while locking her up. Calvillo starts landing strikes on the ground while Eye tries to hold onto an arm to avoid damage. Jessica manages to spin on the ground and scramble back up to her feet and lands some nice strikes. Calvillo goes for another takedown but Eye uses her strength well to stifle the attempt and keep the fight on the feet. Calvillo visibly slowing down and Eye lands two solid right hands back-to-back. Big exchange with 25 seconds to go in the round sees Cavillo lands a lovely combination and the round ends. 39-37 Calvillo heading into the final round.

Final round of the night and the first real action comes almost 2 minutes in with Calvillo landing a nice one-two combo. Eye returns fire with a left hand of her own. Exchange in the pocket again and Calvillo lands a beautiful step-in elbow. Eye not really letting her hands go despite her corner telling her she needs the finish in this round. Calvillo’s speed coming in handy once again as she lands a spinning back-fist. Final minute of the fight and Calvillo goes for an outside trip and succeeds with the takedown. Some ground and pound strikes land before getting back to her feet as the round ends. A comfortable win for Cynthia Calvillo in the end on my scorecard, 49-46 to the Flyweight newcomer.

Georges St-Pierre vs Robbie Lawler

Two of the best Weltwerweight champions ever, fighting the same opponents and during the same generation and yet somehow, they never crossed paths.

Georges St-Pierre was the reigning Welterweight World Champion in the UFC between 2008 and 2013, succesfully defending his belt 9 times before vacating. Robbie Lawler immediately fought for that belt and while he didn’t win it at the first attempt, he eventually took the crown and made the division his own.

Yet somehow, despite them going back-to-back in the record books as the King of the 170lbs division, they never fought eachother. So, in their prime, who would have won?

Before GSP won the belt in 2008, he had already previously held the title and even competed for it before that. He first competed for the belt back in 2004, being submitted by Matt Hughes. He went away, honed his craft and became an ultimate wrestling machine. He came back and put a five-fight win streak together, including victories against BJ Penn and Sean Sherk before challenging and defeating Matt Hughes in their rematch with a second round TKO. He had a blip in the road immediately after that, losing to Matt Serra in his first defence of the belt. He then toppled Josh Koscheck and Matt Hughes again to earn a rematch with Serra, who he defeated with relative ease in the second round. At that point, his reign of dominance began.

UFC 154: St-Pierre v Condit : News Photo
GSP’s ground and pound game is amongst the most vicious in history

‘Rush’ never lost again in his career, earning wins by KO, submission and decision on his way to cementing a legacy worthy of his Hall of Fame entry this year.

Lawler has had a very different path to greatness in his career. ‘Ruthless’ has a record of 28-14-1 which on paper is not very impressive. A host of big name wins on his record doesn’t make up for the L’s he’s taken but it’s more the style of fighter he became throughout his career that has him written in MMA folklore.

His size was always an advantage in the 170lbs division, considering he spent a large portion of his career at Middleweight. His aggression and physicality mean he could hang with anyone, plus his granite chin saw him go through some of the greatest wars in recent memory. His fight with Rory MacDonald at UFC 189 is widely considered as one of the greatest fights in history, while he also battled with Carlos Condit and Johny Hendricks either side of that to 5 round decision wins.

Both men were phenomenal in all aspects of mixed martial arts. We already mentioned that GSP went away and honed his craft to become the ultimate wrestling machine, but Lawler had a wrestling background to begin with. Both men also had a fantastic striking game, with GSP more focused on technique while ‘Ruthless’ was more about power and durability.

UFC 189: Lawler v MacDonald : News Photo
Lawler is famous for his wars in the UFC

If the fight had happened, it would have been a traditional Robbie Lawler war. ‘Rush’ would have dominated the early exchanges, using his superior footwork to his advantage. As the fight wore on though, Lawler would start to dictate the pace and press forward. He’d eventually land big strikes and I expect GSP would be able to eat them in the same way he endured Johny Hendricks’ heavy hands.

In a fight that would without a doubt end with both men bloodied and battered, I think that Georges St-Pierre’s big-fight record would come into play. He knows how to get the wins in these types of fights, while Lawler is sometimes more focused on the entertainment factor than actually securing the victory.

For this reason, I expect GSP would get the win in via Unanimous decision in a tight affair.

Top 10 Most Creative Submissions Ever

Everyone loves a good slug-fest when it comes to a fight. Two fighters looking to take each other’s head off with strikes will almost always be the way to a casual fan’s heart.

But submissions can sometimes be just as brutal and creative. I took a look back through the archives and decided on my Top 10 most creative submissions in MMA history.

#10 Aleksei Oleinik – Ezequiel Choke from the bottom

Aleksei Oleinik has made this choke more known now, but when he pulled it off from the bototm nobody knew what had just happened. ‘The Boa Constricter’ looked like he was in trouble when his opponent Viktor Pesta was ground and pounding him from a half mount position. The veteran had already pulled the choke off in his 12 times career, but when he slid one arm under the neck and then tightened down his grip it was the first time a fight was ended with the choke in UFC history. Pesta went from punching to tapping in a matter of seconds and Oleinik got the historic win.

#9 Ben Saunders – Omoplata

A relatively popular submission for its rarity in being able to actually successfully pull it off, Ben Saunders grabbed the first Omoplata submission victory in UFC history. During his fight with Chris Heatherly in 2014, Saunders found himself in a promising position and decided to proceed despite the difficulty of the task. He got his leg over the shoulder of his opponent before cranking on the joint, bringing Heatherly to near tears due to the excruciating pain. He got the tap and to this day it remains one of only two Omoplata victories in UFC history.

#8 Korean Zombie – Twister

Back in 2011, Chan Sung Jung was an up and coming Featherweight looking to make a name for himself. ‘Korean Zombie’ put himself into the history books that night by securing the first ever Twister submission victory in the UFC. Similarly to the Omoplata, the submission is notorious for it’s difficulty to pull off, with so many factors at play. Sung Jung didn’t care though, as he took the back of Leonard Garcia before switching his hooks to controlling just one leg, putting his opponents arm behind his own head and then cranking the head to completely contort the spine for the tap. A submission befitting of its name.

#7 Chris Lytle – Triangle Choke & Americana Combo

There aren’t many things worse than finding yourself caught in a reverse triangle choke. Imagine that but then the man applying the choke grabs your arm for an Americana too. That’s what happened when Chris Lytle fought Jason Gilliam back in 2007. ‘Lights Out’ found himself in top position with a triangle applied to his opponent and despite Gilliam turning bright red, he was surviving. So Lytle decided to take a limb too and grabbed Gilliam’s right arm and proceeded to apply an intense Americana, forcing his opponent to tap-out to two submissions at the same time.

#6 Luke Rockhold – Kimura & Inverted Triangle Choke Combo

We’ll never know if this was inspired by the previous entry but I’m going to suggest that it was. When Luke Rockhold fought Tim Boetsch back at UFC 172, he was the favourite having just knocked out Costas Philippou 3 months earlier. But nobody expected the level of dominance that came. In the first round, Rockhold had got the fight to the ground and got himself into a dominant position. With a triangle choke applied to Boetsch, Rockhold then decided to turn the pressure up further and locked in a kimura. Boetsch tried to defend it but was left helpless and forced to tap out.

#5 Charles Oliveira – Reverse Calf Slicer

Charles Oliveira is one of the most creative fighters in the UFC, with over 25 fights in the organisation to date. With a record of 29-8-1, nobody will be surprised to see him make this list with one of his 19 submission wins. It’s his submission of relative nobody Eric Wisely that stands out the most of all though. In the first round, Oliveira had the back of Wisely before locking a leg and dragging his opponent over his head. He controlled the upper body with pure strength while forcing the leg of Wisely back under himself and squeezing with his own two legs. A phenomenal submission and one we haven’t seen since in MMA.

# 4 Pat Curran – Peruvian Neck Tie

The Peruvian necktie submission is one of the tightest chokes in the game. A d’arce choke wasn’t enough for Bellator’s Pat Curran in 2011 as he squared off with Luis Palomino. When ‘Baboon’ managed to partially escape, Curran decided to explode and leap over his opponents heads placing both legs on his back and sinking in the Peruvian necktie submission against his Peruvian opponent.

#3 Nick Pace – The Pace Choke

During his fight with Will Campuzano in 2010, Nick Pace wrote himself into MMA folklore with his very own submission. While on his back, it looked like he was looking for a triangle choke submission. However he never quite locked it in, but his opponent tapped. Joe Rogan was astonished and once the replay was shown, it came to light that Pace had thrown his right arm under the neck of Campuzano and his leg over the neck. He then pulled down on his foot for extra leverage before finally securing a gable grip and forcing the tap. During his post-fight Octagon interview, he revealed he made it up on the spot and when pressed for a name for his new move Nick named it after himself and thus, the Pace Choke was born.

#2 Zabit Magomedsharipov – Suloev Stretch

A man more known for his spinning strikes and creativity on the feet, Zabit Magomedsharipov stunned everyone when he pulled out this submission win back in 2018. Fighting Brandon Davis, Zabit used a swift leg sweep to take the fight to the ground before locking in both hooks and taking the back. After attempting a rear-naked choke, Zabit switched his attack and rolled through while keeping the leg locked in place. He forced Davis to essentially do the splits while laying with Zabit underneath him and forcing his leg toward his head. A phenomenal display of adaptability from Zabit and an all-time great submission.

#1 Demetrious Johnson – Flying Armbar

For me, the greatest submission victory in UFC history belongs to Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson during his World title fight against Ray Borg in 2017. After completely dominating his opponent during his record-setting eleventh title defence, Mighty Mouse shocked the world when he pulled this submission out of nowhere. While having the back of Borg, DJ threw a knee to the thigh before suplexing the ‘Tazmexican Devil’ over his head. But as Borg went for a ride, Johnson adjusted in mid-air and stepped to the side while grabbing an arm and locking in a deep armbar all in one swift motion. Borg held out for a few seconds but as the grip was adjusted and torqued, he had no option but to tap and Johnson retained his belt while winning Performance of the Night for the stylistic win.

UFC Fight Night: Jessica Eye One of Three to Miss Weight, Another Fight Cancelled

UFC Fight Night: Vegas 2 took a bit hit at the weigh-ins today as three fighters missed weight, including one half of the main and co-main events.

Prior to the trouble today, the card began to fall apart last night as Ray Borg pulled out of his fight with Merab Dvalishvili due to a family emergency. Borg later tweeted saying, “Family first. See you soon, son” suggesting that there may be more problems with his son who has suffered form severe health issues in the past 18 months.

Darrick Minner also took to his Facebook account to announced that he won’t be fighting Jordan Griffin at tomorrow’s event either, having fallen sick during his weight cut.

“Sad to say but tomorrow I won’t be fighting. Long story short, the weight cut was going super smooth, everything on point. Came back to nap before I hit the last 5 lbs. Woke up after a two hour nap, started throwing up and didn’t stop for 6-7 hours. Still throwing up this morning but it has slowed down.

“The UFC performance institute nutrition and staff tried everything to get my stomach under control before they had to make the call to start rehydrating. Shout out to them, they are super knowledgeable and professional.

“I want to apologize to my opponent Jordan Griffin and his camp, stepped up to give us a fight. We will get this set up at a later date. Thanks to the UFC for giving me another opportunity, we will get back to work and be ready for the next one. Sorry my body couldn’t make this happen.”

Jessica Eye, scheduled to fight Cynthia Calvillo in the main event, weighed in at 126.25lbs, or 1/4lbs over the 126lbs weight limit for a non-title Flyweight fight. ‘Evil’ Eye was visibly shaken when getting on the scales and after missing told the reporters present, “I’m done guys. I don’t even think I can stand.” Eye also missed weight for her last fight at Flyweight, coming in 5lbs over before her decision win over Viviane Araujo.

She was fined 25% of her purse, which will go straight to her opponent. Calvillo on the other hand made weight, coming in at 126lbs.

In the co-main event, Karl Roberson added to the tension between himself and opponent Marvin Vettori by missing weight for the second consecutive fight. This fight was originally supposed to happen earlier this month, but Roberson missed weight and then was ruled out of the fight by UFC doctors. The two then got into a verbal altercation in the hotel lobby afterwards, adding a bit more vim to a fight between two dark horses in the Middleweight division.

Roberson then weighed in today at 190.5lbs, 4.5lbs over the 186lbs weight limit for a non-title bout. He was fined 30% of his purse by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which will go to his rival. During the face-offs Vettori began blasting him verbally saying that Roberson’s “body was broken already from weight cutting” and that he’s going to hurt him.

A third fighter also missed weight during all the craziness. Zarrukh Adashev, making his UFC debut as a short-notice replacement to fight Tyson Nam, weighed in at 2.5lbs over the limit for their Bantamweight fight. He was fined 20% of his purse.

All the fights will proceed as previously scheduled despite the missed weight.