Cleat Geeks

Are WWE And UFC Setting Up For A Huge Cross Promotion?

I think that the two huge conglomerates are building for a big confrontation between two of their top superstars to drum up ratings to try to boost both companies. Some of you may have seen that Monday Night Raw drew its worse rating last week in a few years and UFC just had their contract with Fox bought out by ESPN who has been working with WWE much more lately than in the past.

My suspicions on this cross promotion started with this. Tell me this was not completely set up. This looks like WWE in a UFC octagon. Honestly, it is what WWE has always had, and what UFC has always been missing. Good lead up to a fight. I have always called WWE/WWF a soap opera for men. UFC is just sticking two fighters into a cage most of the time, no build up no show, just a fight. The only thing the face-off was missing was Lesnar carrying the WWE Universal Championship to the octagon with him.

So now, you have a popular UFC fighter, and a face performer that most viewers are behind because of the two weight classes and the fact that as he pointed out in the video, he is 39 in Daniel Cormier. Who is now set up to face the heel performer in WWE Universal Champion and challenger Brock Lesnar. Despite what the MMA purest may think, you need more than just two good fighters to pull off a really true big event. If you just rolled your eyes, let me give you two words, Conner McGregor. His personality, love it or hate it, love or hate him, it makes no difference, it is the fuel that burns the eventual fire that takes place. This fight will happen, and it will be huge for both brands.

Then last night on the Extreme Rules pay-per-view WWE did their best to keep the storyline relevant by doing this.

And of course you can’t have a storyline involving Brock Lesnar without including Paul Heyman, mainly because Brock is not talented enough to both wrestle and talk. He is kind of like the UFC in that respect. If you would take Paul Heyman away from Lesnar you have have a decent wrestler with no build-up. So ofcourse Heyman has to respond. He actually responded with multiple tweets, but I will only include this one.

Back to the UFC portion of this for a moment. The question of when Lesnar would be cleared to fight was answered this past Monday, as USADA released a statement stating the current WWE Universal Champion re-entered the testing pool on July 3 and had six months and four days remaining, meaning he will be eligible to return on Jan. 8, 2019.

So now we actually have a date. That helps us with the timeline, and that also means the next first date the fight can occur on is on Saturday, Jan. 19, the third Saturday of the month, the customary day for UFC PPV events. But the fight is not going to happen on this date. There is another date that makes tons more sense for a variety of reasons.

Turn in your slips at work now and ask off for this date, Saturday, Feb. 2nd, trust me. Why does this date make so much more sense? The location first, and the event the next night. The event will take place in Las Vegas, the day before Super Bowl 53. In years prior, the UFC would put on PPVs the day before the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, banking on out-of-towners coming in from all over the world to watch and bet on the game. In the last three years, the UFC has gone away from the model and instead put on “Fight Night” events, with, for example, the 2017 show taking place in Belem, Brazil.

But there will be two WWE superstars who will be the octagon that night. No, that is not a miss print, I meant to say two. This will more than likely be Cormier’s last fight in UFC. People who are big UFC fans are going to hate this next sentence, so brace yourself, here it comes. Daniel Cormier will win this fight, and both fighters will no that is the result before the bell even rings, yes like WWE the result will be predetermined. The fight will not be fake, but the result will be known and agreed upon ahead of time. Cormier has imposed a hard deadline of retiring on his 40th birthday on March 20th, so the fight fits nicely into that time line as well.

Image result for braun strowman money in the bank

But who will be the second WWE superstar in the octagon that night? His name is Braun Stroman. Why will he be there? Because he will perform the most epic cash in ever. For those of you reading this who are not wrestling fans, let me explain. Strowman won a ladder match against other WWE superstars to capture the Money In The Bank briefcase. The briefcase allows Stroman to cash in said briefcase anytime, anywhere for a Universal Championship opportunity. The stategy behind this is for the holder of the briefcase to pick his spot when the champion is the most vulnerable. Brock will be really vulnerable lying in the middle of a UFC ring. Stroman will come from the back, with his theme music playing and a WWE referee by his side to pin Brock and take his Universal while the world is watching the biggest UFC event of the year. It will also be no coincidence that WrestleMania 35 will take place a short time later on April 7th and a rematch can occur between Stroman and Lesnar at WWE’s biggest event of the year.

And there you have it, the largest cross promotion event, possibly ever. I see the pieces falling into place. And I not only hope this happens, but I honestly think it will. Just remember, you read it here first, and I called it first.

Does Ronda Rousey Deserve Her Spot In UFC Hall Of Fame?

Ronda Rousey was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame on July 5 at The Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas. She was at the event in person as part of the ceremony. I was shocked when she did not win the WWE Women’s title at the Money In The Bank pay-per-view, to set on the podium beside her written speech, but more on her WWE status later.

Before I give you my opinion on her induction let me give the words of Dana White, UFC President via the official press release; “There would be no women in UFC without Ronda Rousey. Ronda is an absolute pioneer who helped me personally, and a lot of other people, look at women in combat sports differently. She accomplished everything she set out to do with UFC and became a global icon and role model in the process. Today, the women’s divisions are packed with incredibly talented fighters and they produce some of the best fights you’ll ever see. We’re proud to announce Ronda as the first woman to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.”

Image result for dana white ronda rousey

Photo by; Las Vegas Review-Journal

Rousey (12-2) holds victories over former UFC champion Miesha Tate, former Olympian Sara McMann, Liz Carmouche, Cat Zingano, and Alexis Davis. Even despite losing her final two Octagon appearances via knockout at the hands of Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes, “Rowdy” is still considered one of the best female fighters of all time.

While I am throwing out quotes, let me give you a few more; “Every now and again, you get an athlete that transcends sport, that transcends gender, that just stands for something so much bigger, “ said UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.

UFC color commentator Joe Rogan boldly claimed that “there is no one who is a bigger pioneer of mixed martial arts.”

Here is also a quote she gave before she took to the podium; “This is an immense honor, to not only take part in bringing women to the forefront of this sport, but now the UFC Hall of Fame,” Rousey said in a statement. “May I be the first of many.”

But Does She Deserve The Spot?

I will give Rousey credit, the UFC gave women’s fighting credibility, exposure and money, with Rousey being the star. She was the biggest sensation in the sport, igniting crowds and pay-per-view cards. She didn’t change the game, she invented it. She also changed the business model. An activity deemed too uncomfortable for the UFC was quickly everywhere, with Rousey appearing in commercials and movies, on magazine covers and red carpets.

Then in November 2015, she was kicked senseless by Holly Holm and it all came crashing down. A little over a year later, she returned following bouts of depression and anxiety, and got destroyed by Amanda Nunes. Rousey ended her MMA career at 12-2, including 6-2 in the UFC.

And eight fights in the UFC is all you have to do to get into it’s Hall of Fame? She didn’t even win them all. As mentioned above, she won her first six matches, lost her last two matches and then, she made her money, tucked her tail and ran for the scripted WWE. Now I love the WWE and she will more than likely be much more succesful in the WWE than she was in the UFC. But that is not the point we are debating here. We are looking at her career in the UFC and based upon it are debating if she deserves the ultimate honor of having her name preceded by the words UFC Hall of Famer.

There is no other hall of fame for any other sport that would let a person in their hall of fame after only 8 games, or even 8 seasons. I don’t care what kind of impact she had, between her 6 victories she was in a UFC octagon for 1077 seconds. Her 2 losses were a combined 6 minutes 48 seconds which means her total time in a UFC octagon was less than 25 minutes. No matter how good she was or what her record was, that is not an impact, that is a flash in the pan.

She is NOT a hall of famer. She was a good fighter who beat average competition, but when the competition got better, she got beat. Then she retired. She is the epitome of being in the right place at the right time. I don’t fault her for it, but she is NOT a hall of famer because of it.

Former NFL Cowboy Punches His UFC Ticket

Greg Hardy, the former NFL All-Pro defensive end punched his ticket to the UFC with an emphatic KO victory over fellow ex-NFL player Austen Lane on Tuesday night at Dana White’s Contender Series 9. The event took place at The Ultimate Fighter Gym and streamed live on UFC Fight Pass.

“I’m ready for the big show,” Hardy said after his win. “I love the opportunity. I train at the best gym in the world, and I have full confidence and faith that those guys are there to get me ready for whatever comes next.”

What comes next will be up to UFC President Dana White, who awarded Hardy a contract afterward, though he hinted it could be a developmental deal.

Hardy (1-0), who trains with American Top Team, came out throwing heavy hands early, but Lane (4-1) responded, leading to a brief exchange between the two big men. An eye poke by Hardy just 25 seconds in forced a brief stoppage.

When they returned to action, Lane landed a solid two-punch combination that Hardy took well. Seconds later, the fight was over when Hardy landed a huge right hook across the chin that dropped Lane to one knee. Lane bounced back up only to get a left fpr his troubles that put him down for good, forcing the referee to stop the fight at the 57-second mark of Round 1.

It was Hardy’s first MMA fight as a professional. He’d had just three amateur bouts since November, with none of them exiting the first round.

White reacted to Hardy’s knockout on the Contender Series by letting out an “Oh (expletive)!” and jumping out of his seat.

 

Hardy landing a spot on the Contender Series was met with controversy given his checkered past. While still playing for the Dallas Cowboys he was convicted for assaulting his ex-girlfriend in July 2014, only to have the charges dropped after the alleged victim refused to testify in his appeal.

White is well aware of Hardy’s past, but the UFC boss believes the NFL veteran deserves a chance to rebuild his life.

“The reality is, if this guy stays clean for the next 10 years, goes on to win a world title, becomes one of the greatest mixed martial artists to ever live, he’s always going to be looked at – he’s always going to hear it,” White told MMAjunkie.

“That’s always going to be in the story that’s written about him. Other opponents he fights are going to call him a woman beater. That’s going follow him for the rest of his life. You don’t shed that. That stays with you forever, and he’s done all the things right so far.

“The guy paid his dues. He hit rock bottom. He built himself back up, and the guy’s out there just trying to make a life and a living.”

Although he’s taking a risk in providing Hardy with a platform, White said Hardy will remain under the microscope, and even the smallest of errors will be noticed.

“He’s the type of athlete, and he’s the type of guy that, if he does anything wrong, there will be no mercy for him,” White said. “I mean, everybody’s going to jump on him. You talk to the people in his camp, they love the guy. Men and women. They think he’s a great guy and a guy who (was) probably doing drugs, drinking and made a big mistake.”Image result for greg hardy cowboys

Going forward, it doesn’t appear Hardy will make his official UFC debut anytime soon. He has just one pro fight, after all, and White said he wants to see Hardy gain some more experience before taking on the UFC heavyweight division, which includes some of the most experienced fighters in the sport.

White has a tentative plan in mind for Hardy’s developmental stage, though, but it remains to be seen exactly how it will play out.

“The way I see it is, what I would love to do, in a perfect world, this is not what I’m doing, but in a perfect world this is what I would like to do,” White said. “If he can turn around and come back, I would like to have him fight on the last episode of the Contender Series. Then I would like to put him on a bunch of ‘Looking For A Fight’ cards, get him some experience and then we’ll decide when we think he’s ready for the UFC.”

“If you see him, you see that he has power. He’s a big heavyweight. He needs to work more. He needs to get some more fights. We’ve done deals where, for example, Cyborg was under contract with the UFC but fought in Invicta. Alexa Grasso was under contract with the UFC. Mackenzie Dern was under contract with the UFC and fought in other places. I have a few ideas of what to do with this guy and let him develop. He’s with a great team already, he’s training with great guys. They say he’s a hard worker. They say all positive things about him out of that gym. We’ll try to build him up and see what he can do.”

What Dana White Said Would Happen If CM Punk Loses At UFC 225

Tons of UFC purists are being very vocal about CM Punk being elevated to the main card of Saturday June 9th UFC 225. More may be upset of the fighter who was relegated to the prelims to make room for the CM Punk fight in Overeem. But it is just business, the event is taking place in Chicago’s United Center, and CM Punk will sell not only tickets, but pay-per-view buys in Chicago. I mean come on, CM stands for Chicago Made!

But will this fight have a different ending than his debut match at UFC 203 with Mickey Gall in which he beat Chicago’s own Punk in 154 seconds? This time around Punk will face Mike Jackson. The good thing for Punk is that Jackson was also defeated by Mickey Gall.

Image result for cm punk vs mike jackson

Who is Mike Jackson? DESPITE being a relative newbie to UFC, Jackson has been an amateur fighter since 2008, nicknamed ‘The Truth’, which he says is because of his honesty. He made his UFC debut against Mickey Gall in February 2016, but fell to a first round submission defeat. Jackson is hoping to kickstart his UFC career, starting with the bout with CM Punk.

When asked about a typical training day Jackson responded, ” A typical training day for me would be grappling and/or conditioning in the morning, a little recovery with either cryo or floating, and striking in the evenings.” He attended both Texas A&M University and the University of Houston. Graduated from UH in Dec. 2015 with a degree in Sociology, minor in African-American Studies. When asked about his thoughts on CM Punk Jackson said, “I respect Phil for his willingness to compete at this level with his limited experience; it takes courage to even make the walk.” Jackson was a 2011 Houston Golden Gloves Champion. As a pro boxer he is 4-0 with 4 KO’s and is 1-0 as a pro kickboxer with that victory coming via a knockout as well. His favorite grappling technique is the guillotine choke and his favorite striking technique are flying jabs, so look for those in his fight against Punk.

I feel like I am going to be the John Cena fighting in Chicago.” Mike Jackson said in a recent interview with MMA Fighting.

We now know what Mike “The Truth” Jackson thinks of CM Punk, but what Dana White said if Punk loses to Jackson might surprise you. Here is his press conference where he talks about several MMA topics including CM Punks future in UFC if he loses to Mike “The Truth Jackson.

 

UFC 224 Predictions

UFC 224 takes place this Saturday, May 12th at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The 5-fight main card begins at 10 PM EST and is headlined by a women’s bantamweight title fight between reigning Champion Amanda Nunes and #1 contender Raquel Pennington. The co-main event will see longtime middleweight contender Jacare Souza take on the always-improving Kelvin Gastelum. Also on the main card are Amanda Cooper and one of the hottest prospects on the roster, Mackenzie Dern. The second fight will see an exciting bantamweight fight between Brian Kelleher and John Lineker. The opening act of the main card features two of the greatest Brazilians of all time as Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida lock horns in a fight that could very well be the last for either man.

 

Vitor Belfort vs. Lyoto Machida

Image result for vitor belfort vs. lyoto machida

 

Vitor BelfortImage result for vitor belfort

Age: 41

Height: 6’0”

Reach: 74”

Overall Record: 26-13-0 (1 NC)

Last 3:

Win vs. Nate Marquardt (Unanimous Decision) @ UFC 212 in July 2017

NC vs. Kelvin Gastelum (overturned-originally R1 TKO Loss) @ UFC FN in March 2017

Loss vs. Gegard Mousasi (R2 TKO) @ UFC 204 in October 2016

Keys to Victory: Belfort needs to be aggressive but not overly so. He needs to use movement to stay active and not stay stationary. He also needs to cut off the cage as Machida backs up.

 

Image result for lyoto machida ufcLyoto Machida

Age: 39

Height: 6’1”

Reach: 74”

Overall Record: 23-8

Last 3:

Win vs. Eryk Anders (Split Decision) @ UFC FN in February 2018

Loss vs. Derek Brunson (R1 KO) @ UFC FN in October 2017

Loss vs. Yoel Romero (R3 KO) @ UFC FN in June 2015

Keys to Victory: Avoid the power shots early in the fight. He needs to be patient in round one and let Belfort expend his energy. Use his trip takedowns to keep Belfort guessing.

 

This fight should be fun while it lasts, and I don’t expect it to make it to the judges’ scorecards. The Machida puzzle has officially been solved, whether Belfort can crack the code like others have is anyone’s guess. They both seemed invincible at one point, and both have quickly diminishing chins. Both guys have the power and accuracy to end this contest with one shot. Machida’s much more methodical in his approach and may even look to land a takedown or two with his underrated wrestling just to keep Belfort honest. Expect a slow start from both men, very similar to what we have seen with Belfort and Henderson in the past. Machida will remain patient and look for Belfort to wear himself down. In front of a Brazil crowd, it’s difficult to judge who the crowd gets behind but look for Belfort to be the fan favorite. Both fighters are a shell of their former selves. Neither has been super impressive over the last few performances as you can see from their recent records. This sounds like a retirement fight for at least Vitor, and he will find a kill shot sometime in the second round and ride off into the sunset with the Brazilian flag on his shoulders and a wild crowd in the background.

 

John Lineker vs. Brian Kelleher

 

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John LinekerImage result for john lineker ufc

Age: 27

Height: 5’3”

Reach: 67”

Overall Record: 30-8

Last 3:

Win vs. Marlon Vera (Unanimous Decision) @ UFC FN in October 2017

Loss vs. TJ Dillashaw (Unanimous Decision) @ UFC 207 in December 2016

Win vs. John Dodson (Split Decision) @ UFC FN in October 2016

Keys to Victory: Lineker needs to keep the fight standing and lure Kelleher into a brawl. He needs to mix in some kicks as well, his game plan doesn’t seem to change much, even mid-fight. He needs to dig into his bag of tricks to find something other than body-head punch combos.

 

Image result for brian kelleher ufcBrian Kelleher

Age: 31

Height: 5’6”

Reach: 64”

Overall Record: 19-8

Last 3:

Win vs. Renan Barao (Unanimous Decision) @ UFC on FOX in February 2018

Win vs. Damian Stasiak (R3 TKO) @ UFC FN in October 2017

Loss vs. Marlon Vera (R1 Sub) @ UFC on FOX in July 2017

Keys to Victory: Kelleher needs to avoid the fence. He’s the taller fighter and may find some success in the clinch if he can get there. He needs to be patient and not let his emotions take over.

 

Although their records and levels of competition would say otherwise, this is a close fight to call. Lineker has heavy hands and an indestructible chin, but he’s at least somewhat predictable in his approach. His punch combos are some of the best in the game, and he’s great at getting in opponents’ heads and luring them into a fire fight. Kelleher is extremely underrated and still young in the sport, despite being 4 years the elder. His wrestling and takedowns leave a lot to be desired, but he needs to commit to some takedowns in this fight. Even if he’s unsuccessful in doing so, he may be able to get Lineker against the fence and stall the fight for minutes at a time. Kelleher was on Twitter suggesting this fight will be a barn burner. If his plan is to stand and trade with “Hands of Stone,” he will wake up to a crowd erupting supporting their Brazilian fighter. Lineker wins a close decision with the possibility of a late stoppage.

 

Mackenzie Dern vs. Amanda Cooper

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Mackenzie DernImage result for mackenzie dern ufc

Age: 25

Height: 5’3”

Reach: 64”

Overall Record: 6-0

Last 3:

Win vs. Ashley Yoder (Unanimous Decision) @ UFC 222 in March 2018

Win vs. Kaline Medeiros (R3 Sub) @ Invicta FC 26 in December 2017

Win vs. Mandy Polk (R1 Sub) @ LFA 24 in October 2017

Keys to Victory: Dern must be willing to strike in order to set up her takedowns. She can’t telegraph takedowns or become predictable in the Octagon. She needs to face some adversity in order to improve.

 

Image result for amanda cooper ufcAmanda Cooper
Age: 26

Height: 5’3”

Reach: 63”

Overall Record: 3-3

Last 3:

Win vs. Angela Magana (R2 TKO) @ UFC 218 in December 2017

Loss vs. Cynthia Calvillo (R1 Sub) @ UFC 209 in March 2017

Win vs. Anna Elmose (Unanimous Decision) @ UFC FN in November 2016

Keys to Victory: Cooper needs to keep this fight standing and keep her distance from the BJJ wizard. She also needs to keep her composure in the spotlight. She needs to stick to her game plan and make adjustments when necessary.

 

The world will be watching to see if Mackenzie Dern has what it takes to be a complete Mixed Martial Artist. Her striking looked better than previous bouts in her Octagon debut, and hopefully she’s shaken off the debut jitters. Her game plan is always to get her opponent grounded somehow, but she relied too much on upper body strength in her last fight and was unsuccessful. Moving training camps may be exactly what she needs to evolve as a fighter in the Octagon. Cooper, on the other hand, has some experience in the UFC and could play spoiler and derail the Dern hype train. Cooper will find herself back pedaling a lot in this fight and needs to avoid the fence at all costs. Dern showed some improved clinch work in her last bout, but she also tired quickly from the look of it. The longer this fight goes, the more it favors Cooper, who’s not shown any issues cutting weight, unlike her opponent. Cooper shocks the world, at least somewhat, and takes a split decision in enemy territory.

 

Ronaldo Souza vs. Kelvin Gastelum

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Ronaldo SouzaImage result for Ronaldo Souza ufc

Age: 38

Height: 6’1”

Reach: 72”

Overall Record: 25-5 (1 NC)

Last 3:

Win vs. Derek Brunson (R1 KO) @ UFC FN in January 2018

Loss vs. Robert Whittaker (R2 TKO) @ UFC on FOX in April 2017

Win vs. Tim Boetsch (R1 Sub) @ UFC 208 in February 2017

Keys to Victory: Souza needs to avoid the left hand of Gastelum. He needs to employ the same strategy as Weidman, who found success. He’ll have to get tricky with takedown attempts as he didn’t have much success against Whittaker, who was much faster than he like Gastelum will be.

 

Image result for kelvin gastelum ufcKelvin Gastelum

Age: 26

Height: 5’9”

Reach: 71”

Overall Record: 14-3 (1 NC)

Last 3:

Win vs. Michael Bisping (R1 KO) @ UFC FN in November 2017

Loss vs. Chris Weidman (R3 Sub) @ UFC on FOX in July 2017

NC vs. Vitor Belfort (overturned-originally R1 KO Win) @ UFC FN in March 2017

Keys to Victory: Gastelum needs to create as much space as possible. He needs to avoid the takedowns and clinch of Souza. He needs to use his speed advantage and follow the same game plan that Whittaker found success with.

 

This fight may determine the next title challenger at 185 pounds. Souza has some of the best jiu jitsu skills in all of MMA and has for a long time. His striking isn’t as technical as he’d probably like, but when he lands the other fighter typically falls. He grew more frustrated in his fight with Robert Whittaker as the fight wore on and he was unable to ground him. He’ll have more success taking down Gastelum, but Gastelum has a better guard and may be difficult to submit. Gastelum took advantage of a shop-worn Bisping late last year and showed off his knockout power, which translated well into the middleweight division. He’s going to be undersized but has been the smaller fighter for most of his career, even at welterweight. Gastelum has the wrestling acumen to surprise some people and may even try to take “Jacare” down. The striking advantage probably goes to Gastelum as he’ll be able to dart in and out before allowing Souza to tee off. This is the toughest fight on the card to predict for me. Seldom does a Brazilian fighter lose a close decision in Brazil. For that reason, I’ll take Souza by split decision in a very close contest.

 

Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington

Image result for Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington

Amanda NunesImage result for Amanda Nunes ufc

Age: 29

Height: 5’8”

Reach: 69”

Overall Record: 15-4

Last 3:

Win vs. Valentina Shevchenko (Split Decision) @ UFC 215 in September 2017

Win vs. Ronda Rousey (R1 TKO) @ UFC 207 in December 2016

Win vs. Miesha Tate (R1 Sub) @ UFC 200 in July 2016

Keys to Victory: Nunes is a fast starter and she needs to continue to do that. Pennington is durable but Nunes’ striking will be unlike anything she’s ever faced before. She needs to pace herself, she wore out in the second half of the Shevchenko fight.

 

Image result for raquel pennington ufcRaquel Pennington

Age: 29

Height: 5’7”

Record: 67”

Overall Record: 9-5

Last 3:

Win vs. Miesha Tate (Unanimous Decision) @ UFC 205 in November 2016

Win vs. Elizabeth Phillips (Unanimous Decision) @ UFC 202 in August 2016

Win vs. Bethe Correia (Split Decision) @ UFC on FOX in April 2016

Keys to Victory: Pennington needs to be patient in the first round and avoid the power shots from Nunes. She needs to weather the early storm and prepare to take over after the first 2 or 3 rounds. She needs to clinch up or work some ground game to wear Nunes out.

 

There isn’t a more deserving title challenger on the roster than Raquel Pennington. Unfortunately, she hasn’t fought in 18 months and Amanda Nunes is a monster. Pennington has struggled against elite competition in the past aside from her victory over an unmotivated Miesha Tate. She’s a really good fighter everywhere, but I’m not sure she’s great in any one area. If she can weather the early storm, she may be able to take the title from Nunes due to a late surge, but she’s never been 5 full rounds before. Nunes’ game plan is complete but striking is her bread and butter. She is extremely accurate and throws every strike with bad intentions. If she’s unsuccessful dispatching the challenger early, she may wear herself out and be vulnerable like she was with Valentina. Pennington is super durable but she’s hittable and the ring rust and away crowd will be too much for her to overcome. She will be a UFC Champion at some point in her career, but it’s Nunes’ time right now. Nunes by first-round TKO is the pick.

 

The Aftermath of UFC 223 & The Future Of The Lightweights

I’m not sure what words there are in the English language to describe what transpired last week in the days, even hours, leading up to UFC 223. Am I allowed to say shit show? Conor McGregor certainly didn’t help the situation with his outburst on Friday, but it wasn’t all entirely his fault. I’m not sure who to point fingers at because there were a lot of people who are at fault. Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov had been scheduled three times before and it fell through every time, why did we expect this time to be different? I’m not a superstitious person at all, but if you don’t think this fight is cursed I would love to hear a more logical explanation. Tony Ferguson got injured walking. He didn’t blow out his knee rolling on the ground or throwing a crane kick, he didn’t get knocked out cold sparring. He was doing something we all do a lot of every single day. If that isn’t proof that this fight is cursed, I have some stock in Enron I would like to sell you.

Dana White had to have been a wreck last week. One of the worst weeks I can remember in all of sports history in my time.

April Fools Day always brings out the pranksters and this year was no different. Like many, I was emotionally invested in this fight more so than other fights. It was supposed to be the fight between the two best lightweights in the world, and it was taken from us once again. After spending the day with family for Easter, I was not able to catch up with the social media world until later that evening. When I read that Ferguson was hurt, I was angry. Not because he had gotten hurt, mad because someone would play such an elaborate prank 6 days before one of the biggest fights ever. My anger turned to worry as I started reading these reports from reputable sources. I knew it was valid when Dana white released a video explaining what happened and tapped Max Holloway as Ferguson’s replacement.Image result for max holloway ufc

Holloway and Khabib didn’t have the same excitement as the original match-up, but seldom does a replacement fight still generate the same kind of hype. I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that there isn’t a more deserving guy on the roster than Max Holloway. He had earned the right to fight for a second belt, although I think a match-up with Brian Ortega would have been better. Regardless, it was the fight the UFC found fit to make and it was a good match-up. Enter the New York State Athletic Commission. Sometime Friday morning, the State Athletic Commission deemed Holloway unfit to compete and pulled him from the fight as he was cutting too much weight. The UFC fought tooth and nail to get into New York, but it has not received the warm welcome some thought they might. In a short time, we’ve now experienced numerous issues with the NSYAC and its running.

On a little over a day’s notice, Khabib agreed to fight Anthony Pettis, the former lightweight Champion. Pettis, from what we understand, wanted a big pay day, so the UFC decided against that fight. That match-up wasn’t really intriguing anyways, we’ve seen what much less qualified grapplers than Khabib have done to him, so we would hate to see that fight. Paul Felder’s name was brought up, but the NYSAC shot that match-up down because he was not ranked, and they found it to be an unfair match-up. Again, this is all hearsay. Eventually, Al Iaquinta, who had weighed in and was scheduled to fight Paul Felder on the main card opener, was tapped as the replacement. Iaquinta came in .2 pounds over the 155-pound Championship weight limit, meaning he could not technically win the lightweight title that Khabib had the opportunity to win. It was a wild ending to one of the craziest weeks in UFC history.

Not only did we lose multiple fights and intriguing match-ups, most of the fights on the card failed to deliver. I’m anxious to see what the PPV buyrate is for what looks to be one of the worst cards in recent memory, one that the UFC brass would love to forget about. We lost Ray Borg vs. Brandon Moreno, an important flyweight bout. We lost Paul Felder vs Al Iaquinta, which was an early favorite for Fight of the Night. We lost Artem Lobov vs. Alex Caceres on the fight pass prelims due to his involvement in the fiasco with McGregor and his goons. We lost Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis, a fight that would have launched one of them into a big fight. In a span of 7 days, UFC 223 went from being one of the most anticipated cards in recent history to being a card that fell apart at every seam.

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The next few PPV cards look fairly-stacked, but nothing compared to what UFC 223 was supposed to be. There was a lot of hype behind this card, and it all disappeared within a week’s time. Sometimes a UFC card that doesn’t feature a lot of name value or hype is still able to delivery finishes and exciting fights. UFC 223 was not one of those. The co-main event between Rose and Joanna was a good, technical fight. The only fight that really exceeded expectations was a featherweight bout between Zabit Magomedsharipov and Kyle Bochniak, which was bumped to main card status with some of the last-minute cancellations. The two prospects exchanged punches and kicks on their way to one of the most entertaining bouts thus far in 2018. Aside from that, the UFC 223 main card was a complete bust. The first fight saw Joe Lauzon’s corner call the fight before the third round began against Chris Gruetzemacher, but that was the only “finish” on the main card, everything else went to decision.

Dana White had to have been a wreck last week. One of the worst weeks I can remember in all of sports history in my time. Still, he remained optimistic throughout the entire week, even giving credit where it was due after the fights were over. Khabib dominated Iaquinta early on but faded later in the fight and had trouble getting Al back to the ground. His performance, although dominant, wasn’t quite the exclamation point we expected him to put on his first title fight.  Iaquinta proved to be a game fight for the Dagestani but fell short on the score cards. Dana gave him all the praise in the world even in defeat and he may have actually boosted his stock with that performance and willingness to fight the best lightweight in the world on such short notice.

Dana was quick to point out that he was not going to rebook the Khabib and Tony fight. The rankings would say otherwise. Ferguson has already beat two of the names in the top 7 in the division and there isn’t much reason to believe he wouldn’t have his way with the others. He may be booked for a different fight against someone like Eddie Alvarez, but history would tell us he should win that match-up. Ferguson and Nurmagomedov are by far the two best lightweights in the world and they’re going to have to fight at some point as long as they’re both healthy and fighting. Khabib also mentioned taking time off for Ramadan and not competing until September. The lightweight title has been a mess since McGregor took it off Alvarez’s hands at UFC 205, and the future is still grim. There are two important lightweight bouts in the next two weeks that could muddy the waters there even more.Image result for dustin poirier vs justin gaethje

This weekend will see Dustin Poirier, ranked fifth according to the official UFC rankings, take on Justin Gaethje, who is just below him at number 6. Next weekend’s headliner will feature a lightweight bout between fourth-ranked Edson Barboza and seventh-ranked Kevin Lee. The only one of the four competing in the next few weeks is Poirier, so a win for him would have him very close to a title shot. With Khabib looking to take the next 5 months off, there’s going to have to be some marquee match-ups made to keep the division moving along. One thing is for sure, this division is stacked. You could make a case for a title shot for Poirier, Gaethje, Alvarez or Kevin Lee after these fights play out. Barboza, although ranked higher than the other 3 competing, would likely need another solid win as he’s only one fight removed from a beating at the hands of Khabib. The most likely scenario is some sort of mini-tournament to determine the next title challenger at 155 pounds. Ferguson may or may not get his shot right away, but he’ll eventually do enough to warrant it. The fight is clearly cursed but hopefully we get to see them battle before their careers are over.

 

Does CM Punk Deserve A Second Chance In The Octagon?

It’s safe to say that CM Punk’s, whose real name is Phil Brooks, UFC debut did not go the way he envisioned. UFC 203 was supposed to be a platform to re-introduce the former WWE Champion to the world and launch him into stardom in the world of MMA. Unfortunately for him and the UFC, and yes, the UFC clearly wanted him to win that match-up, he faced a real future prospect in Mickey Gall. He was taken down almost immediately, surrendered a position that allowed his opponent to rain down punches with a body lock. Shortly thereafter, 2 minutes and 14 seconds into the first round to be exact, he submitted to a rear naked choke. A year and a half has passed since that time, with multiple claims of second fights being made, only to be unfounded.

Life after the WWE typically doesn’t treat folks well, while Brooks has proven thus far to be an exception to the rule. We haven’t seen a mugshot for him or any kind of allegations against him for battery or sexual assault. The clock is ticking for the 39-year-old, but it sounds like he’s finally got a fight lined up. He took to Twitter almost 4 weeks ago to announce that he will be fighting again at UFC 225 against an unnamed opponent, who we now know to be Mike Jackson. Quite frankly, if he didn’t have the fanbase he has he wouldn’t be getting a second shot in the UFC. More so, he wouldn’t have gotten a shot in the first place with no professional MMA experience under his belt. While it might seem a little unfair that he was even given an opportunity to fight in the UFC, the PPV under which he fought produced better numbers than most cards like it. 2016 was a big year for the UFC in terms of PPV buys thanks to Conor McGregor headlining 3 PPVs, paired with the returns of Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey. Aside from those PPVs, UFC 203 was the best-selling PPV in 2016. Since that time, only a few PPVs have done better numbers in terms of PPV buys and that is by far the most successful Stipe Miocic-headlined PPV.

Brooks has all the tools to be successful in the UFC, and had he gotten into it much younger we may be talking about him as one of the best in the sport. Few expected him to be out grappled and submitted in his debut, but he came in at least somewhat unprepared. Working under the tutelage of Duke Roufus, he can still turn his career around and find success. Fighting at 170 pounds, the chances of him capturing gold and putting together a great run at 39 years old is minimal. However, if he can put a small win streak together and challenge a big name, it’d be sure to capture the attention of audiences across the country. His mic skills were some of the very best in WWE history, some of which are on display here as he sang his swan song during his final days in the WWE. He sat on the entrance ramp to the WWE ring, in a segment that is highly-debated for its authenticity, ranting and expressing his displeasure with Vince McMahon, his misuse and mistreatment of him. With that said, his career in the UFC kind of needs to pan out for the sake of his financial future. He made a good living with WWE, but he made it clear he didn’t get what he thought he was worth. Couple that with the fact that he has had nothing good to say about the McMahon’s all but guarantees that he won’t be welcome back in the WWE should the UFC not work out for him. CM Punk’s next Octagon opponent is Mike Jackson, who also unfortunately owns a submission loss to Mickey Gall. According to sherdog.com, Jackson is 0-1 as a professional and 0-1 as an amateur, which gives Punk a very winnable fight.

Surprisingly, only a few fighters have made the transition from the WWE to the world of MMA. Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn were the first big names to inhabit the WWE and the UFC. Fighters such as Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley and Dave Bautista would also make the cross over. Shamrock, like Lesnar, alternated time between the sports, while having a multi-year career in the WWE in between signings with the UFC. Brock Lesnar will undoubtedly go down as the most popular figure to split time in the ring and the Octagon. Not only has he spent time in both, he even fought in the UFC last July at UFC 200 while under contract with the WWE, something no one else has done or likely will ever do.

Punk was awarded $500k in show money to lose his UFC debut, something that also raised a lot of eyebrows. That’s a ton of money for a debutant. Punk received more than Amanda Nunes made for her title fight against Ronda Rousey at UFC 207, and more than Tyron Woodley made for his second title fight against Stephen Thompson at UFC 209. There have also been multiple other championship title defenses that didn’t receive that kind of payout.

It’s easy to see that the UFC has clear-cut favorites when it comes to fight placement, show money and PPV points. In fact, according to numbers released by the UFC, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, who holds the record for most consecutive title defenses in UFC history, has never eclipsed that number in his time with the UFC. One of the best in history doesn’t get paid as well as a guy who doesn’t have a W on his professional MMA record. Think about that for a second. For some, myself included, the manner in which the UFC has operated lately is very similar to what we see in WWE and other major wrestling brands. The fighting is great, but it sometimes takes a backseat to the entertainment aspect of it all. Attacking a bus full of fighters, destroying property and injuring other fighters would get you cut before you could have a chance to explain yourself. Unless you’re Conor McGregor apparently. The most unfortunate part of any sport that is ruled by a dictatorship is that favorites are chosen and they get special treatment.

Who am I to say that the UFC should treat Demetrious Johnson as well as CM Punk? He’s not proven to be a big PPV draw thus far, and aside from a potential showdown with TJ Dillashaw, his fights on the horizon don’t seem too thrilling. It’s not entirely his fault, though. The dominance which he has displayed has hardcore fans convinced that no one else can compete with him in the Octagon, and I don’t think they’re wrong. We have absolutely no idea what to expect from CM Punk in his next fight. We know exactly what’s going to happen in Johnson’s next fight: pure domination. His next fight, should it go as badly as the first, would almost certainly be his last in the UFC. Dana White was anything but committal after his first fight to giving him a second chance in the Octagon. He’ll get his wish, but if he doesn’t impress some people and change some minds, he’ll be at a crossroads.

Fourth Time is a Charm?

April Fools Day. One of the strangest days in the calendar year in America. To this day, no one is really sure where it originated from or who was so crude to come up with such an idea. Sometimes, the pranks people pull and the rumors they start are a fun way to start your day. As part of the younger generation, I’m guilty of waking up almost every single day and opening the Facebook app on my phone to browse before I begin waking up completely. Every year, I read some crazy rumor involving sports that has me dumbfounded until I realize what day it is. Typically, by the middle of the day people run out of ideas and quit trying to fool those well-aware of the “holiday.” This year was different. I consider myself a sports junkie on almost every level. Baseball, hockey and soccer don’t excite me much. Football, basketball and MMA, on the other hand, are sports I follow every single day. The second thing I usually do after browsing through my Facebook news feed is check sports scores from the night before. Depending on the day and what transpired the night before, those two are sometimes reversed. I’m an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan and I watched the Super Bowl with the Patriots 12 years ago when they lost a heartbreaker. We had a team that was built to stop the New England dynasty and we choked it away in the fourth quarter. I can’t even begin to describe in words how that made me feel. For some people, they root for a local team or a team that was passed down to them from a previous generation of liking. For me, sports are a lifestyle and it often times affects how my day goes. To a lot of people that is going to sound crazy, and that is just fine.

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I feel the same feelings that I felt 12 years ago during that dreaded day right now working on this article. It’s currently 8 PM EST on April 1, 2018. There’s still a glimmer of hope that what I’ve been reading on social media for the past 2 hours is completely false. In fact, I hope that it is. My initial reaction to seeing the news that Tony Ferguson was injured and out of his UFC 223 match with Khabib Nurmagomedov was probably the same as everyone else’s looking forward to this fight as much as me: not funny. I quickly went from slightly angered that someone would play such a dubious prank to alarmed and worried that I was reading these reports from a lot of reputable sources. When Dana White uploaded a video to Instagram and Twitter announcing that Max Holloway was going to step in to serve as Ferguson’s replacement, I knew there was validity to this horrific tragedy.

By all accounts, he’s the best fighter in the world today without a belt around his waist.

Four times. FOUR TIMES! The lightweight division is one of the most stacked, if not the most, in the UFC today, and it has been for quite some time. Some of the biggest names in the sport reside at 155 pounds, while some talented up-and-comers and savages also lay claim to the division. Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, Kevin Lee, Edson Barboza and Anthony Pettis are just a few who will probably find themselves in the Hall of Fame after their careers end. Yet despite that impressive roster, two fighters stood out head and shoulders above the rest. Regardless of who is currently wearing the 155-pound title, Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov are undoubtedly the two best fighters in the division, and by a wide margin. They’ve been on a crash course for years now, dating back to December of 2015 when they were scheduled to meet for the first time.

Their resumes are equally impressive. At first glance, that may be hard to digest seeing as how Nurmagomedov is 25-0 in his professional MMA career, going 9-0 in the UFC. However, up until his most recent few fights, he’s not fought the same level of competition that Ferguson has. Tony’s current MMA record stands at 23-3, while he’s lost just once in the UFC to go along with 13 wins. More impressively, Ferguson has finished 9 of his 13 opponents in the Octagon while Khabib has finished 4 of his 9. The saying that “numbers don’t lie” doesn’t apply to these two gentlemen. Those numbers would tell you that Ferguson is a better finisher and more dominant in his victories, but that would be entirely false. He was being outstruck on the feet against Edson Barboza, Kevin Lee took him down at will, and newcomer Lando Vannata had him in all sorts of trouble. He was able to mount a comeback in all those fights and finish the job, but he was losing all of them and came extremely close to being finished in all 3, especially the Vannata fight. Nurmagomedov, aside from a couple of well-placed punches from Michael Johnson, has performed brilliantly in the Octagon and has yet to be truly tested. As previously mentioned, he hasn’t always fought the cream of the crop, but even when he’s done so against guys like Johnson, Rafael dos Anjos and Barboza, he has thoroughly dominated. Although of those 3 he only finished 1, dos Anjos and Barboza, both BJJ black belts, were unable to generate any sort of offense, or defense for that matter. By all accounts, he’s the best fighter in the world today without a belt around his waist.Image result for max holloway ufc

While I was about as emotionally invested as I’ve been in a fight in a long time and was looking forward to writing predictions and breaking down that match-up, it’s time to put that fight in the past. It’s been booked four times in just over 2 years and both fighters have had to pull out twice due to injury and weight-cutting issues. As much as all the hardcore MMA fans would love to see the match-up, it’s one that we’re going to have to wait an even longer time to see now. At this point, we have to wonder if we’ll ever get the chance to see these two compete against each other.

When one door closes, another door opens. Enter Max Holloway. Holloway had one of the most impressive runs to the top of the mountain as I can remember. He’s only 26 years old and has fought, and defeated, some of the most recognized names in the sport, finishing multiples. Prior to the 13-second knockout he suffered against Conor McGregor, Jose Aldo looked completely unstoppable. Wrestlers couldn’t take him down, strikers couldn’t stand with him, and he had the look of one of the best ever. Even after the knockout loss to McGregor, Aldo bounced back at UFC 200 and dominated Frankie Edgar for a second time to claim the interim featherweight title. Shortly thereafter, Holloway was called upon to challenge Aldo for the now-undisputed Championship at 145 pounds. He took one of the most feared fighters in history, who went a full decade without a loss, and dismantled him twice. Jeremy Stephens, Anthony Pettis, Cub Swanson and Ricardo Lamas, all longtime contenders at 145 pounds, have also fallen to the 145-pound king.

As good as Holloway is, he’s probably bitten off more than he can chew this time around. Having never competed at 155 pounds in the UFC, fighting one of the best takedown artists ever on short notice, he’s got nothing at all to lose. That’s the good news for him. Unfortunately, Khabib seems motivated and determined to win the lightweight title and it seems like destiny for him to do so. Holloway has already been applauded by UFC President Dana White for being a “stud,” willing to accept this fight just 6 days away. Win or lose, Max Holloway proved that he’s one of the best in the business and a fearless fighter. He’s been an underdog before. He’s not the same 21-year-old who fought Conor McGregor and was taken down repeatedly en route to a decision loss. Although McGregor hasn’t forgotten that fight, most everyone else has. The Hawaiian will get the opportunity to match McGregor’s feat of holding two belts simultaneously. With a win this Saturday, he may even set himself up for a chance to avenge that loss in one of the biggest fights ever. If there’s a fighter alive who deserves the opportunity to capture gold in two weight classes and has the ability to overcome adversity, it’s Max Holloway. There are a few things we’ve never seen him do in the Octagon, and that is grow tired or give up. He’s got the endurance and fight IQ to give Khabib an interesting challenge, but so did a lot of others before him. This fight is nowhere near as good as the original booking, but it’s clearly the next best thing.

The Real Life Terminator

Andrei Arlovski was a cat in his previous lifetime. In fact, he may have more than 9 lives. His career spans all the way back to 1999, when he entered the sport of MMA as a 20-year-old with little fighting experience. His size and stature made him a difficult opponent for anyone to deal with. Throughout his career fighting for multiple promotions, he’s fought some of the biggest names in MMA history. A quick glance at his professional MMA career would give you a wrongfully underwhelming opinion. He’s lost 15 of his professional 43 fights, but he’s lost to Tim Sylvia, Fedor Emelianenko, Bigfoot Silva, Stipe Miocic, Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett, all of whom will go down as some of the greatest heavyweights of all time. His career is not just one to remember because he lost to some of the best ever, he beat plenty of them too. During his 19-year career, he’s been able to get the best of Roy Nelson, Fabricio Werdum and Frank Mir, while he also had wins over the aforementioned Bigfoot Silva and Tim Sylvia.Image result for Andrei Arlovski Tai Tuivasa at UFC 225

The most inspiring part of his career isn’t just the fact that he’s beat some of the greatest in MMA history, it’s that he’s had his back against the wall multiple times. Just when you think he’s about ready to hang up the gloves and call it a career amid a big losing streak, he reinvents himself and finds new success. His most recent skid in the UFC saw him lose 5 straight, 4 of which came by brutal finish. For most, that would be the end of their run in the UFC. Years ago, 3 losses all but guaranteed you your walking papers. Fortunately for him, he’s got a big name, a ton of durability and a love for fighting. Just two wins removed from his 5-fight winning streak, he finds himself with another stern test in the form of Tai Tuivasa at UFC 225 in Chicago in June.

It’s hard to believe he’s only 38 years old. I know how that may sound, because in UFC years, 38 might as well make him 60 in all reality. Yet, he continues to prove his doubters wrong. He’s been fighting so long it seems like he should have retired years ago and walked away. For whatever reason, he continues to fight and refuses to go down for good. He’s one of the few fighters in MMA who made big changes amid a losing streak. Between 2009 and 2011, he dropped 4 straight during his time fighting for Affliction and Strikeforce. This prompted a camp change as he moved his training camp from his home in Chicago to Albuquerque, NM to train with Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn. For his move, he was able to win 5 straight, except for a no contest due to an illegal soccer kick. Last year, he severed ties with Jackson and moved his fight camp to American Top Team. Although he dropped his first fight after that against Marcin Tybura, he has won two straight since and looked exceptional doing so. He was a large underdog against Junior Albini, while a small Image result for andrei arlovski wallpaperunderdog against Stefan Struve in his most recent fight.

While he probably won’t find himself fighting for a title or in the discussion anytime soon, he’s still got plenty left in the tank. Tuivasa is a difficult opponent, undefeated in his professional MMA career, having finished all 7 of his opponents in the first round. He’s only 25 years old, so he’s still young, but we see a better version of him each time he steps into the cage. Arlovski has a questionable chin, but his heart has allowed him to escape defeat numerous times. Make no mistake about it, if Tuivasa finds his chin with a good shot, he’s going to sleep. Arlovski is incredibly well-rounded, with underrated ground and submission skills. Of course, the one area where he will likely have a big advantage is cardio. As previously mentioned, Tuivasa has yet to go to the second round in any of his professional fights thus far. If he’s unsuccessful putting “The Pitbull” away early, he may find himself in unfamiliar territory having to expend energy over the course of a brutal, 3-round fight.

Arlovski has been seen as somewhat of a gatekeeper or stepping stone for the majority of his career lately. He’s been used to vault Stipe Miocic and Alistair Overeem into title fights after those losses. It’s not entirely too late for him to claim UFC gold once again, but he’ll have to win a few more fights and he’ll have to do so very impressively. With the manner in which Stipe Miocic disposed of him in their first fight, it’d be difficult to envision him getting another shot at him anytime soon. However, the window is closing for Arlovski. I’m not ready to close the book on his career yet, but a few more knockout losses should spell the end of the line for him. If he gets past Tuivasa, even though he’s ranked below Arlovski in the UFC rankings, he’ll get another big bout against another big name. The heavyweight division has some new, young guns that are ready to prove their worth. Arlovski is exactly the kind of seasoned vet who could bring someone like Alexander Volkov’s title aspirations crashing down. Only time will tell, but the UFC’s Terminator could have one more streak left in him.

 

3 Impacts From Impact

The Impact after Crossroads is over and done with! Who delivered the biggest shockers a week after the event? Here are my 3 Impacts From Impact:

The post-Crossroads Impact was main evented by a Feast or Fired match: an Impact Wrestling trademark that originally took place at close to Thanksgiving time, but now occurs earlier in the year. Of course, Feast or Fired is Impact’s modified version of WWE’s Money In The Bank, only with four briefcases and multiple combatants fighting for the cases. As is the case (not a pun), one case holds a shot at the World Title, one holds a shot at the X Division Championship, and one holds a shot at the tag titles, but a fourth one has a pink slip:  the “Fired” part of Feast or Fired. When all was said and done, all emerged with the cases, with no clue what’s in them. The next Impact will reveal the contents of the cases.

For weeks, X Division and Grand Champion Matt Sydal mentioned his “guru”; the man who guided him to success in the last few weeks. At long last, the identity of Sydal’s guru would be revealed, and imagine our shock and flat out displeasure when we found out that Sydal’s guru was none other than Josh Mathews! Impact’s lead announcer left Sonjay Dutt and revealed himself as Sydal’s guru, which largely astonished Sonjay. Even more shocking, Sydal removed the Grand Championship and rewarded the title to Josh, which is perhaps the most insane thing to happen on Impact in its entire existence.

Jimmy Jacobs’ habitual demand for Abyss to appear has brought out the immensely sinister Father James Mitchell, who actually commended Jacobs, only to remind him of everything he has done and the proverbial (and literal) sleeping giant that he has awoken as a result of his actions. Following this, Mitchell stated to Jacobs that Abyss is back in full, and he brought The Monster out to beat down Kongo Kong. The diabolical minister also said to both Jacobs and Kong that they are invited to a ball…Monster’s Ball! So Jimmy Jacobs got what he wanted, but as the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.”

Those are my 3 Impacts From Impact! Until next time!

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