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UFC 236 Preview – Two Interim Titles on the line. Good or Bad?


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The UFC heads to the home of the Braves, the College Football Hall of Fame and Sweet Tea as Atlanta hosts UFC 236. This card is headlined by two Interim Title Fights as Dustin Poirier and Max Holloway lock horns for the Lightweight Strap and Israel Adesanya faces Kelvin Gastelum for the Middleweight Belt. The whole conversation around this card seems to be around the validity of Interim Belts. Personally, I believe it is necessary in certain instances, Both of these instances are unnecessary however. Whittaker fought last in June and said he’d be ready to fight in August and Khabib last fought in October and will likely headline the MSG card in November, so neither of these make sense to me.

Light Heavyweight: Ovince St. Preux (-110) Vs. Nikita Krylov (-120)

Nikita Krylov recently came back to the UFC after having a tremendous run in the Fight Nights Global Promotion. He unfortunately lost in his return fight against Jan Blachowicz and now draws the always game OSP. Ovince St. Preux has been a company man, facing up and comers, veterans and contenders without ever lobbying for an undeserved title shot or being vocally unhappy about his matchup. Both of these fighters need a win and I think the domestic product will take the win. OSP has faced much better competition in the UFC than Krylov has in both the UFC and Fight Nights Global. OSP by Submission. Ovince St. Preux Def. Nikita Krylov

Welterweight: Alan Jouban (-135) Vs. Dwight Grant (+105)

Alan Jouban got back on track with his last fight when he took on Ben Saunders and Knocked him out in the second round. The Versace Model is ready after about a years layoff and takes on the upstart Dwight Grant who impressively knocked out Carlo Pedersoli in his last trip to the cage. In my mind, Alan Jouban is easily the more experienced fighter and should win this fight with ease if he uses his distance effectively like he did against Mike Perry. Grant’s victory over Pedersoli was good, I just am not sure about how he would fare with a battle tested opponent who is hungry to walk to the cage again. Alan Jouban Def. Dwight Grant

Light Heavyweight: Eryk Anders (-200) Vs. Khalil Rountree Jr. (+160)

This one is gonna be fun. Eryk Anders returns to LHW on Saturday to take on one of the most explosive forces in the UFC in Khalil Rountree Jr. Rountree is coming into this fight with a hunger to win as he most recently welcomed Johnny Walker to the octagon and if you watched that fight, you’d know that it did not go well for Khalil. Eryk Anders is coming into this fight with two straight losses. One came at Middleweight, one came at Light Heavyweight to Elias Theodorou and Thiago Santos respectively. Anders is most likely a true 185er so making this jump up in weight to face a monster like Khalil Rountree who is incredibly exciting and Knocked out a Kickboxing World Champion recently is no easy task. I think it’s too much for Anders here. Khalil Rountree Def. Eryk Anders

Interim Middleweight Championship: Israel Adesanya (-185) Vs. Kelvin Gastelum (+150)

I’ve been told my opinion on this fight is rather unpopular. Israel Adesanya has the makings of an international MMA Superstar. His striking is next level, he understands distance and backs up his talk. At 5-0 in the octagon, Israel Adesanya has had two impressive victories in my mind, His decision victory over Brad Tavares in a 5 rounder, and his Knockout win over Derek Brunson. I think Adesanya has a bright future, however, I also believe that he won’t win on Saturday. Kelvin Gastelum is on a tear, winning fights against top middleweights in Michael Bisping and Jacare Souza. Over the last year he has had focus on one singular thing and that was the strap. Even though he has had some unfortunate roadblocks, he is still learning and improving at every level and most importantly, he’s fighting at Middleweight! Surprisingly Gastelum is younger than Adesanya, which I wouldn’t have expected because Gastelum has been in the UFC forever. In the end, This is Kelvin’s life’s work, I don’t see him losing in this juncture. Kelvin Gastelum Def. Israel Adesanya

Interim Lightweight Championship: Max Holloway (-205) Vs. Dustin Poirier (+165)

Max Holloway is finally fighting at his natural weight class of 155 after killing himself to get down to Featherweight in the past. He is still the champion of that division but I’m assuming that after this fight he will be more content with fighting at Lightweight moving forward and will relinquish his belt should he be victorious Saturday. His opponent has been waiting for this opportunity forever. Constantly overlooked by the UFC brass in favor of stars such as McGregor and Khabib, Poirier finally gets his chance at gold and he surely deserves it. Defeating Jim Miller, Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez consecutively is a feat all its own and to possibly add Max Holloway to that would make it one of the most impressive runs in UFC Lightweight History.

At the UFC 231 press conference, Max Holloway said this about his opponent Brian Ortega “Everything he did I did better, He’s on what a 6 fight win streak, I got 12, he beat a champion, I beat 2, and I beat one of them twice. At the end of the day the blessed express is going around in a circle, we’re lapping you bro.” I originally had Brian Ortega winning, that quote changed my mind and I flipped last minute and Max won by TKO. I see Max Holloway winning on Saturday night. Max Holloway Def. Dustin Poirier

Other Selections:

Lightweight: Matt Frevola (+110) Def. Jalin Turner (-140)

Flyweight: Alexandre Pantoja (-150) Def. Wilson Reis (+120)

Welterweight: Zelim Imadaev (-125) Def. Max Griffin (-105)

Bantamweight: Khalid Taha (+120) Def. Boston Salmon (-150)

Welterweight: Curtis Millender (+120) Def. Belal Muhammad (-150)

Bantamweight: Andre Soukhamthath (+375) Def. Montel Jackson (-550)

Women’s Strawweight: Poliana Botelho (-170) Def. Lauren Mueller (+140)

Featherweight: Brandon Davis (-170) Def. Randy Costa (+140)

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