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UFC 272: Covington vs Masvidal – Preview

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Live from Las Vegas, UFC 272 will see one of the biggest grudge matches of all time. Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal, former best friends and training partners, will finally square off. Since their rises to stardom, the pair’s friendship has fallen into a heated rivalry. In the co-main event, 5 rounds are scheduled for a catchweight bout between Rafael dos Anjos and Renato Moicano.

Let’s take a closer look at this card!

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(#1) Colby Covington (16-3) vs (#6) Jorge Masvidal (35-15) – welterweight main event

Two welterweight contenders with a deep hatred for one another will finally throw down in the UFC 272 marque.

Former interim welterweight champion Colby Covington has established himself as one of the very best in the world at 170lbs. The Oregon native possesses a high-level pedigree in wrestling, along with seemingly endless cardio. His pace and pressure always cause trouble for his opponents. Though he might be a disliked figure amongst fans, ‘Chaos‘ Covington is a dangerous fight for every fighter in his division.

The UFC’s official BMF champion, Jorge Masvidal is a fearless and violent fighter. Even though his roots may be in streetfighting, the recent years have seen the Miami’s finest become a technically proficient striker. Between wanting another title opportunity and his disdain for Covington, it’s clear that Masvidal is motivated to put on another sensational performance. Calculated kickboxing and heavy hands could be a recipe for a classic ‘Gamebred‘ knockout.

(#6 – LW) Rafael dos Anjos (30-13) vs Renato Moicano (16-4-1) – 160lb catchweight bout

A rising contender will step in on short notice to take on a former champion in rare 5-round non-title co-main event.

After his stint at 170lbs, former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos is looking to make another splash at 155lbs. The Brazilian utilises a mix aggressive striking and wrestling to pressure his opponents. Though he has been training continiously, dos Anjos has been out of action since his decision win against Paul Felder in 2020. An emphatic win at UFC 272 could further catapult ‘RDA’ into the title picture.

Never one to back away from a challenge, Renato Moicano stepped up to the plate to save the day on only days of notice. His last fight was only two weeks ago, where he dispatched of Alexander Hernandez. That win showed once more that Moicano’s fast hands and slick BJJ make him a real danger to the top 15. If he can win this weekend, there’s no doubt that 2022 will be a big year for the Brazilian.

(#10) Edson Barboza (22-10) vs (#11) Bryce Mitchell (14-0) – featherweight bout

The featured bout at UFC 272 will see a Brazilian striking veteran look to fend off a talented submission ace.

For a decade now, Edson Barboza has been a top contender in every division he has fought in. Since his jump to 145lbs, the kickboxer has looked impressive in his 4-fight run. Barboza’s flashy spinning attacks and chopping kicks are enough to make the hardcore fans wince. At 36 years old, this may be the final opportunity at a title run for the Brazilian, so, expect him to come out gun’s blazing.

If there is one thing that rivals Bryce Mitchell’s love for his home of Arkansas, it’s the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. ‘Thug Nasty‘ possesses an arsenal of grappling attacks, which he has effectively shown in all of his UFC performances. Having never been beaten in professional competition, Mitchell has been tapped as one of the hottest prospects at featherweight. With a win, he could become a real player in his division.

(#14 – MW) Kevin Holland (21-7, 1 NC) vs Alex Oliveira (22-11, 1 NC) – welterweight bout

Two Octagon wildmen will throw down in a welterweight showcase this weekend.

Once billed as the future of the middleweight division, Kevin Holland has fallen on hard times recently. His bouts against Derek Brunson, Marvin Vettori and Kyle Daukaus called for a change, in his eyes. Now, ‘Trailblazer‘ wants to bring his striking prowess – and loud mouth – to the 170lb division. Standing at 6’3″, Holland could become a legitimate contender if he can apply himself at welterweight.

Personally, I think that Alex ‘Cowboy‘ Oliveira is one of the UFC’s most underrated action fighters. He may not be an elite talent, but the Brazilian is more than willing to throw down and is a threat when on the offensive. Seemingly reaching the twighlight of his career, ‘Cowboy‘ will have to bring his A-game to get the best of Holland. No matter what happens, this will be a fun contest.

Serghei Spivac (13-3) vs Greg Hardy (7-4, 1 NC) – heavyweight bout

The opening bout for UFC 272’s main card will see heavyweight goliaths look to advance up the ladder to the top 15.

As one of the more overlooked fighters at heavyweight, Serghei Spivac is something of a dark horse. At only 27 years old, he has collected wins against Tai Tuivasa, Carlos Felipe and Alexey Oleinik. Spivac’s strong wrestling could cause major problems for his opponent, which could lead to 12th career finish. ‘The Moldovan Monster‘ is the A-side in this matchup, if you ask me.

To the ire of many, Greg Hardy has once again taken a main card slot on a pay-per-view event. The former football player has had mixed results against elite competition in MMA, but has shown improvement since his debut. One thing that makes Hardy in every fight is his knockout power, having six stoppages in seven wins. This very much looks like a challenge against Spivak, but the heavy hands of ‘The Prince of War‘ could read another KO win.

Jalin Turner (11-5) vs Jamie Mullarkey (14-4) – lightweight bout

The featured UFC 272 prelim is a showdown between two heavy-handed lightweight prospects.

Since his 2018 debut, Jalin Turner has put together a 4-1 UFC record at lightweight, with four finishes. The DWCS alum stands at a gargantuan 6’3″, making him one of the tallest fighters at 155lbs. With a blend of power and slick chokes, ‘The Tarantula’ is a fighter who could become a contender sooner rather than later.

After a rocky promotional start, Australia’s Jamie Mullarkey has put himself on a KO-streak since 2020. Knockout wins over Khama Worthy and Devonte Smith has placed Mullarkey on many fans’ top prospect list. Should he pick up his 14th career finish this weekend, the top 15 could be close ahead for the 27 year old.

(#3) Marina Rodriguez (15-1-2) vs (#4) Yan Xiaonan (13-2, 1 NC) – strawweight bout

A potential title opportunity is at stake when a surging Brazilian contender takes on a Chinese striking expert at UFC 272.

2021 truly was the breakout year for Marina Rodriguez. Wins over Amanda Ribas, Michelle Waterson and Mackenzie Dern established Rodriguez as a title threat to be reckoned with at 115lbs. She possesses one of the more well-rounded arsenals in her division. A fourth straight win could catapult Rodriguez into her first promotional title fight later in the year.

China’s Yan Xiaonan made history by becoming the woman of her country to be signed to the UFC. An impressive 8-1 run outside the promotion led to her signing, where she has since ammassed a six wins. Though her last fight was a loss to Carla Esparza, Xiaonan is still a serious title contender at strawweight. The speedy and vicious kicks of ‘Fury‘ could line her up for her seventh UFC win this weekend.

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What do you make of this card? Who will leave with bragging rights in the main event’s bitter grudge match? Let us know in the comments!

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Fight To Watch | Muhammad Mokaev vs Charles Johnson

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Fights are being booked fast and furiously for July 23rd as the UFC’s anticipated return to London approaches. With fireworks expected throughout the whole event, MMAPlay365 and VMTV have scoured through the card and selected Muhammad Mokaev vs Charles Johnson as our ‘Fight To Watch’ on the night.

Muhammad Mokaev returns to the octagon following a successful debut back at UFC London in March against Cody Durden. ‘The Punisher’ made light work of his American counter-part, submitting him in the first round via guillotine choke with very little problems. His upcoming opponent, Charles Johnson, signs with the UFC after an impressive four-fight winning streak on LFA, which saw him capture and defend flyweight gold.

His ability to mix it up on the feet and in grappling scenarios make this a much more dangerous bout for Mokaev stylistically, but it’s still nothing the 21 year old won’t be able to handle in the eyes of MMAPlay365 Founder, Adam Newsome:

“At this stage of Muhammad Mokaev’s UFC career every fight is going to be a test. And just because you haven’t heard of Charles Johnson doesn’t mean he isn’t a good fighter. Johnson was the Flyweight Champion in LFA. If you aren’t familiar with LFA it’s basically the American equivalent of Cage Warriors. You are battle tested in LFA and if you become a Champion the chances are the UFC are going to sign you.

So this is a very interesting match-up but still right now I don’t think that Mokaev gets tested enough to the point he loses. This is going to be another fight I see him doing extremely well in and I don’t see Mokaev losing a fight until he hits the top 20 of the division. But even when that time comes, he is going to have improved and developed so much that he could run through that pool of fighters at that time. If a fighter is going to beat Mokaev outside the best fighters in the division then now is the time to do it whilst he’s still developing. But even though he’s still developing he’s still a problem. I’m not sure Mokaev finds another finish here so I am predicting a dominant three round decision victory for Muhammad Mokaev.”

Cauley Quilty, Editor for VMTV, had this to say on the fight: “Muhammad Mokaev is always a treat to watch in action and his UFC debut back in March was nothing short of spectacular! He came to fight and did exactly that getting the first round finish and I see him doing the same thing when he steps back out there against Charles Johnson. His extensive amateur career and impressive run of professional performances make it almost impossible to not side with Mokaev in this bout, especially with the way he defeated Durden on his debut.

However, Charles Johnson isn’t an opponent anyone should underestimate as his resume and recent performances speak for themselves! His fight vs Carlos ‘Mota’ Tizil was a barnburner and with 8 of his 11 wins coming by way of finish you know he can get the job done when needed. Both fighters are highly touted and respected so expect the winner of this to receive a bump up in competition on their next outing.”

Who do you think leaves the ‘Fight To Watch’ with their hand raised? Be sure to let us know your predictions below!

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Sumo | Summer Tournament wide open after 10 days

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The Sumo Summer Tournament has a surprise joint-leader after 10 days, but many Rikishi are in with a shout of glory with only 5 days to go.

So far, only two have managed to achieve a guaranteed winning record, with M15 ranked Ichiyamamoto and M4 Takanosho posting 8-2 records 10 days in to the basho. It remains to be seen if he can keep up his championship challenge, but Ichiyamamoto is bringing back memories of the January 2020 basho when the M17 ranked Tokushoryu took home the title in a huge surprise. Whatever happens, Ichiyamamoto should see himself catapulted up the rankings for the next tournament if he can keep up this form. It is a welcome return to form for Takanosho who has previously been a Sekiwake.

Sumo: Summer Tournament – M15 ranked Ichiyamamoto finds himself in the joint-lead after 10 days of action.

Despite his patchy form, Terunofuji has scrapped himself to a 7-3 record, which puts him 1 behind the leaders in a large chasing pack. On day 10 he managed to get by a spirited Hoshoryu who is improving all the time. The Mongolian giant will be hopeful of taking home his first championship of the year. Others in the pack on 7-3 are Kiribayama, Ura, Sadanoumi and Aoiyama. With NINE more wrestlers on 6-4, only two behind the leaders and with an outside shot, there will be an amazing 16 Rikishi who may be dreaming of lifting the Emperor’s Cup come Sunday 22nd May. The chances of there being a playoff for the win for the second tournament running are looking pretty high.

Down at the other end of the table, it has been another tournament to forget for March’s playoff runner-up, Takayasu, who has posted a losing record of 2-8 so far. After doing so well to get himself back to M1 rank, he will find himself going down the rankings ahead of the July tournament. Ozeki Shodai has continued his poor form and one more defeat will once again see him staring down the possibility of losing his rank come July. March winner Wakatakakage, alongside fellow Sanyaku ranked competitors Abi, Takakeisho and Mitakeumi, are all fighting for winning records having gone 5-5 so far.

Keep an eye out for the next update after Saturday’s day 14 when I will be recapping the standings and looking ahead to what promises to be a very exciting final-day’s action.

Remember to check out the VMTV Sumo introduction and guide here if you need a refresher of the rules and some of the words used in these articles.

You can find the full rankings and results of the tournament so far at the Japan Sumo Association’s page here.

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UFC London | Aspinall vs Blaydes Staff Predictions

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The UFC will take centre stage once again in London as they return to UK shores for a second time this year on July 23rd. Following the immense success of the previous show in March, the O2 Arena will again play host to another stacked night of fights.

Headlining the card is surging heavyweight contender Tom Aspinall who will be looking to cement his name amongst the top ranked in the division with a win over #4 ranked Curtis Blaydes. It’s do or die for Darren Till when he faces Jack Hermansson in the co-main event as he aims to get his first win since 2019.

Leading up to the event, VMTV have teamed up with MMAPlay365 and our writing staff will be giving their predictions for each fight on the card as there announced. You can view details on the partnership between VMTV and MMAPlay365 here.

Tom Aspinall vs Curtis Blaydes

  • Cauley – Curtis Blaydes via KO/TKO, R4
  • Matt – Tom Aspinall via decision
  • Jamie -Tom Aspinall via KO/TKO, R3
  • Jake – Tom Aspinall via KO/TKO, R3
  • Darragh – Curtis Blaydes via KO/TKO, R3
  • Harry – Tom Aspinall via KO/TKO, R3
  • Colin – Tom Aspinall via KO/TKO, R2

Darren Till vs Jack Hermansson

  • Cauley – Jack Hermansson via decision
  • Matt – Darren Till via KO/TKO, R2
  • Jamie – Darren Till via decision
  • Jake – Darren Till via decision
  • Darragh – Jack Hermansson via submission, R3
  • Harry – Jack Hermansson via decision
  • Colin – Darren Till via decision

Nikita Krylov vs Alexander Gustafsson

  • Cauley – Nikita Krylov via decision
  • Matt – Nikita Krylov via KO/TKO, R1
  • Jamie – Alexander Gustafsson via decision
  • Jake – Nikita Krylov via submission, R1
  • Darragh – Nikita Krylov via decision
  • Harry – Alexander Gustafsson via decision
  • Colin – Nikita Krylov via decision

Paul Craig vs Volkan Oezdemir

  • Cauley – Paul Craig via submission, R1
  • Matt – Paul Craig via submission, R2
  • Jamie – Paul Craig via submission, R2
  • Jake – Paul Craig via submission, R2
  • Darragh – Paul Craig via submission, R1
  • Harry – Paul Craig via submission, R2
  • Colin – Paul Craig via submission, R2

Muhammed Mokaev vs Charles Johnson

  • Cauley – Muhammed Mokaev via KO/TKO, R2
  • Matt – Muhammed Mokaev via submission, R1
  • Jamie – Muhammed Mokaev via submission, R2
  • Jake – Muhammed Mokaev via decision
  • Darragh – Muhammed Mokaev via KO/TKO, R1
  • Harry – Muhammed Mokaev via decision
  • Colin – Muhammed Mokaev via submission, R1

Molly McCann vs Hannah Goldy

  • Cauley – Molly McCann via KO/TKO, R3
  • Matt – Molly McCann via decision
  • Jamie – Molly McCann via KO/TKO, R2
  • Jake – Molly McCann via decision
  • Darragh – Molly McCann via decision
  • Harry – Molly McCann via decision
  • Colin – Molly McCann via decision

Mandy Bohm vs Victoria Leonardo

  • Cauley – Victoria Leonardo via KO/TKO, R2
  • Matt – Mandy Bohm via decision
  • Jamie – Mandy Bohm via decision
  • Jake – Mandy Bohm via decision
  • Darragh – Mandy Bohm via decision
  • Harry – Mandy Bohm via decision
  • Colin – Mandy Bohm via decision
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