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Our questions about UFC on Fox: Poirier vs. Gaethje

The card has already started by the time you're reading this, so let's get right into it, courtesy of me, Paul Fontaine, and Ryan Frederick.

First, The Card

  • Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Carlos Condit vs. Alex Oliveira
  • Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori
  • Michelle Waterson vs. Cortney Casey
  • Tim Boetsch vs. Antônio Carlos Júnior
  • Muslim Salikhov vs. Ricky Rainey
  • Wilson Reis vs. John Moraga
  • Krzysztof Jotko vs. Brad Tavares
  • Gilbert Burns vs. Dan Moret
  • Shana Dobson vs. Lauren Mueller
  • Dhiego Lima vs. Yushin Okami
  • Arjan Bhullar vs. Adam Wieczorek
  • Matthew Lopez vs. Alejandro Pérez
  • Luke Sanders vs. Patrick Williams

What are you most looking forward to?

Ryan: The top three fights all have my interest, especially the fight of the night candidate between Poirier and Gaethje. That has fireworks written all over it as both men are known for exciting styles and brutal wars over the years. Condit and Oliveira could also be the fight of the night and Condit has long been one of my favorite fighters to watch. I like his chances to get back on track. Adesanya has tons of potential and Vettori is a step up for him, but he’s got a style unlike anyone and is fun to watch.

Paul: The main event, of course. This is as close to a guarantee for FON as you’ll ever see and by all rights, it could be a fight of the year candidate. Hardcore MMA fans have been looking forward to this fight since it was signed, and both guys are the MMA version of a “Best Bout Machine” (™ Kenny Omega). Other than that, this is just a really solid card with familiar names right down to the opening Fight Pass prelim fight.

Nason: Without a doubt, it’s Poirier vs. Gaethje. This is the (potential) five round fight on free TV that we deserve after all of the bullshit that happened earlier this month when we had Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson yanked from us yet again.

What is being overlooked?

Ryan: I’m not sure if anything is being overlooked on this card, but a fighter on the come-up is Brad Tavares. He’s got the first Fox televised prelim, and while he has been in the UFC for a long time, he seems to be hitting the prime of his career with his recent win streak. A solid win over Jotko could earn him a spot in the top ten and a bigger fight in the future.

Paul: Wilson Reis vs. John Moraga is kind of buried early in the prelims, but it's two former title challengers who are both still top 10 fighters. Really, these guys are in the same position in their division as the two main eventers are in theirs, but they’re small and the flyweight division doesn’t draw…flies...pardon the pun. It could be a really good fight though as both guys have shown finishing ability, which is rare for the division.

Nason: Quite simply, the man from Maine, Tim Boestch. I only say that because I am also from Maine and am equally as devastating in the cage and with good looks. In all seriousness, the focus in this show is where it’s supposed to be. Nothing is being overlooked.

What’s not doing it for you?

Ryan: If there isn’t anything doing it for me on this card, it’s the sheer amount of fights. It is the first card to have 14 fights in modern UFC history, and with shows already going long as it is, this one will go even longer. It is going to be a long event, especially if at least half the fights go the distance.

Paul: I’m looking at Okami vs. Lima and Tavares vs Jotko as two fights that could potentially really suck. Tavares’ path to victory is to grind out a decision and Jotko isn’t much of a finisher. I just see these two guys playing the clinch game all night. Okami’s best days are a decade behind him and Lima has never really impressed me.

Nason: To Ryan’s point, there are too many fights on this show. What’s the point of having a 14 fight show in 2018 if you’re not a regional trying to sell tickets to family and friends? I’ll take an impactful 10 UFC fights over a 14 fight ‘meh’ show anyday.

What’s the big intrigue with this show?

Ryan: The main event has the big intrigue, mainly because everyone is expecting a war. I hope it lives up to the hype as I’m looking forward to it. Also, a big intrigue is how Condit bounces back and if he has anything left in the tank, if Adesanya can continue his rise, and if Waterson can get back into the win column.

Paul: For me, it’s Adesanya. This is the highest profile of his career and at 12-0, people that don’t know about him already will really start to take notice. I’m hoping that the UFC don’t make the same mistake they did with Francis Ngannou and Volkan Oezdemir and rush him into a big fight that he’s not ready for. He could be a future big-time player but as Daniel Cormier likes to say, there are levels to this and he needs to make sure he doesn’t skip one or two.

Nason: Agreed with my guys above. Outside the main event, it’s all I.A. who already gets a shot at big Fox to make a big impression. I always worry that in this era, these guys get the push too quick but I’m hoping Adesanya is the exception here. We need more fun, must-see fighters, don’t we?

At the end of the year, what will make this show matter looking back at it?

Ryan: If we can get a winner in the main event that gets a lot of momentum to challenge for the UFC lightweight title, that makes the main event matter. Overall, we could have some fights and an event that has placement in year-end awards voting, so that is a plus. Other than that, it’s just another event in a logjam of events.

Nason: Pretty simple: how good the main event is and how Adesanya does. Outside that, this card has some interesting names (Condit, Waterson, etc) but not a lot when it comes to stakes.

Paul: It could have a potential fight of the year in the main event. More importantly than that, though, is the rating. UFC is still trying to reach a new TV deal and this is another show that, while full of potentially entertaining fights, has no big needle movers on it. As was the case with the last few Fox shows, this will struggle to break two million viewers. A big number could entice Fox to sweeten the pot on a new contract, but aother mediocre one could go the other way.

Who wins?

Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje

  • Poirier: Nason, Ryan
  • Gaethje: Paul

Carlos Condit vs. Alex Oliveira

  • Condit: Ryan
  • Cowboy: Nason, Paul

Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori

  • Adesanya: Ryan, Nason, Paul

Wilson Reis vs. John Moraga

  • Moraga: Ryan, Nason
  • Reis: Paul