UFC 231 Watch/Don't Watch, Podcast Notes From Sean Ross Sapp Of Fightful.com


Aleksandar Rakic clips Devin Clark, R1 TKO

  • Rakic moves to 3-0 in the UFC after this one, still hasn't fought in the states.
  • Devin Clark moved back to light heavyweight for this fight after having his whole 3-0 career at Heavyweight.
  • Clark drops Rakic with a big left, and looked like he had it in control. Not so much.
  • Rakic catches Clark with a wild backfist after he was being countered. Unbelievable. Not something you train much:
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SRS' Rec: Watch. Action packed, a nice comeback. 

Carlos Diego Ferreira predictably TKOs Kyle Nelson, R2

  • Carlos has lost two in a row against high level talent in Dariush and Poirier, but has now won three in a row.
  • Since he's come back from his USADA ban he's 2-0 with two finishes. Not bad.
  • Nelson is a late replacement for Jesse Ronson. He wasn't winning this.

SRS' Rec: You'll be fine not watching this. Watch the finish. 

Dhiego Lima drops Chad Laprise, R1

  • Lima HAD to win this fight. 1-5 in the UFC, three straight pro losses. Was living off of his 6-0 TUF record. 
  • Laprise is a streaky fighter. He'll win 3 in the UFC, then drop 2. He'll be fine.
  • Laprise is a good name to have for these Canadian prelims, but he ate a nasty right hand for a walk-off KO here. 

SRS' Rec: Watch. It's a fantastic finish. 

Brad Katona outlasts Matt Lopez

  • Brad Katona is way better than anyone gives him credit for. 
  • Katona has a Kadowaki choke in his arsenal and almost wins with it. That's insane. It can be argued that this should be 

SRS' Rec: Watch the Kadowaki choke at the end of the round. 

#14 Elias Theodorou splitskis Eryk Anders

  • Elias has such an awkward, tough style to nail down. His movement is all over the place, and he throws strikes from all angles.
  • Anders thought Elias was going to clinch him a lot, and that couldn't be more different than what is happening.
  • Anders is able to catch Elias here and there when he's coming inside, but can't put anything together because of all the movement. That changes late in the second round. I'm not sure how Elias avoids the shots that he does. It's puzzling. 
  • Round three is more back and forth. We're headed for a splitski
  • Elias uses his post-fight speech to put over medical cannabis. 

SRS' Rec: We love Elias, but he's not always the most exciting watch. An interesting watch for sure, though.

#9 Jessica Eye splitskis #3 Katlyn Chookagian

  • This fight is not going to be a barnburner by any stretch of the imagination. 
  • Chookagian is like a less risky Elias Theodorou. The right fighter can stay in any fight with her, but she can make it really messy.
  • When Katlyn comes in, Jessica Eye is able to land combos here and there.
  • Six UFC fights for Katlyn, zero finishes. Jessica Eye wants a title shot. No finishes since 2014.
  • "Joe Rogan, I dunno why you can stare at my butt and not have me on your podcast"- Jessica Eye

SRS' Rec: There hasn't been a Chookagian fight I'd rec.

Gilbert Burns dominates Olivier Aubin-Mercier, UD

  • Gilbert Burns is a real monster on the ground. The fact that he's willing to cross his feet with the hooks in on OAM shows how little respect or concern he has for OAM's ground game.
  • Burns stunned OAM a couple of different times with punches, and almost pulls off a Suolev Stretch, too. 
  • Burns has won three of his last four. His first decision win since 2014. 

SRS' Rec: 0-3 on the Fox Sports prelims thus far. 

#11 Nina Ansaroff upsets #3 Claudia Gadelha, UD

  • This is a wild contrast in tone after finishes on the Fight Pass prelims. No way this one is finished.
  • Gadelha can't land takedowns late in the fight after finding some success early on. Ansaroff uses her leg kicks and front kicks really well in this fight. 
  • Ansaroff stood in there and wasn't intimidated by a girl who can get the job done. 
  • A huge win for Nina Ansaroff. 

SRS' Rec: Only if you feel the need to watch all the top-5 fighters fight, which some do. 

Thiago Santos Drills Jimi Manuwa, R2 

  • I get the feeling the decision streak is gonna end with this fight.
  • Santos counters right out of the gate and puts a clubberin' on Manuwa. 
  • This is PHONE BOOTH FIGHTING. Both men land good shots out of the clinch, seems like Santos got the best of it in number, but not in power. Santos is staggered by an elbow. 
  • Round 2, Thiago Santos comes out sluggin'. He catches Manuwa a bunch of times and knocks him out. 
  • Thiago Santos will be 35 next month, won seven of his last 8, 2-0 at light heavyweight, won three in a row total, and has five fights since February.

SRS' Rec: Hell yeah peep this. This is one of the best light heavyweight brawls of all-time. This was just chuckin' and duckin'. 


Hakeem Dawodu bores Kyle Bochniak, SD

  • This was not a solid follow up to what we just saw. In name value, excitement or otherwise. 
  • Dawodu pretty clearly takes the first two rounds. Footwork, crisp strikes, in and out.
  • Bochniak's corner tells him he needs to finish to win. He keeps grabbing his own shorts to pull them up.
  • Bochniak is able to land a couple of takedowns in round 3. That's not enough.
  • That shouldn't have been a split decision. 

SRS' Rec: Pass on this one. 


#14 Gunnar Nelson BLOODIES #13 Alex Oliveira, R2

  • Oliveira holds on to the cage to prevent the takedown and gets a warning. That's gotta be a point deduction.
  • Oliveira turns the tides out of a body triangle and lands some nasty strikes. That's not the type of situation you see a lot. Cowboy throwing punches with Nelson on his back.
  • Gunnar Nelson was able to do what he does best -- drag Oliveira down, crack him open and submit him with a rear naked choke.
  •  The level of blood was absolutely gross. The ref was already stepping in here. 

SRS' Rec: Yeah, this is an interesting enough fight. Well worth checking out.

Vacant UFC Flyweight Championship
Valentina Shevchenko outclasses Joanna, UD to become champion.

  • One of the most high level women's MMA fights ever up now #UFC231.
  • Shevchenko was SMOOTH with that sweep takedown. Joanna is getting overpowered in round 1. Shevchenko hit a great spinning back kick. 
  • This fight is shockingly similar to their three fights from back in the day early on.
  • Valentina just hit the ol' Bayley to Belly on Joanna. More overpowering from Valentina. Shevchenko is also finding a home for powerful spin kicks. 
  • Shevchenko would have a body lock apply and go around her own arm with a knee to Joanna's face. This is so one-sided.
  • I think Joanna needs a finish to win. Or two 10-8 rounds. 
  • Shevchenko almost has her back taken several times going for a headlock takedown. This happens an awful lot in women's MMA. 
  • I really believe Joanna beats the brakes off of every single other flyweight besides Valentina.
  • "Her feet got tangled," a Rogan call on commentary. Well yeah, because she got punched in the damn face.
  • A wash. 5-0 in my book.
  • Valentina, finally a champion. Joanna has lost three of four. You have to wonder what's next for her. 

SRS' Rec: High level. WATCH.


UFC Featherweight Championship
Max Holloway (c) drubbed Brian Ortega

  • Holloway is just having his way with Ortega. Digging to the body, striking at range and getting out of Ortega's
  • Ortega takes down Holloway, but can't do anything with it. 
  • Holloway really turns up the heat in round two, but has abandoned a lot of defense in the mean time and eats a lot more strikes than the first. 
  • Holloway is getting WAY too cute with his defense and gets caught several times in the first two minutes of round three and that's dangerous territory with Ortega's hooks, uppercuts and elbows. 
  • Holloway is among the best I've seen at striking moving backwards. 
  • Brian Ortega is reaching Fabio Maldonado historic levels of heart. 
  • Mercifully this is stopped before round 5. 
  • Max Holloway says he's the greatest 145 pound champ ever. Joe Rogan agrees. Jose Aldo won ten featherweight title fights, cut the shit. C'mon now. 
  • Holloway calls for a UFC card in Hawaii, and a shot at lightweight to be the pound-for-pound best. He still wants to defend his Featherweight title.


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