UFC 236 will make history as the first pay-per-view event to have two interim title fights decided on the same night.
After a two week hiatus, the world leader in MMA is back with a fun night of fights. The State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia will play host to the action this weekend.
There is a lot to like about this 13-fight card. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the fighters and match ups scheduled for Saturday (April 13, 2019) night.
Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier II
The Holloway vs Poirier fight build-up has been a breath of fresh air on so many levels. For starters, both men are real martial artists and let their actions inside the Octagon dictate their tough persona. That’s not to say either fighter can’t talk some trash. They just haven’t felt the need to in order to hype this fight.
Holloway, already the featherweight champion, will look to become the interim lightweight champion and the newest “champ-champ” in the process. “The Diamond” will have something to say about that, as he already holds a victory over the Hawaiian from seven years ago.
“Blessed” has a ridiculous 83% takedown defense in the Octagon. Poirier averages nearly two takedowns a fight (per 15 minutes). Something’s gotta give.
Max Griffin vs. Zelim Imadaev
Taking a look at the UFC 236 prelims and the welterweight scrap between Griffin and Imadaev jumps off the page.
Griffin is a pressure fighter who is always moving forward. He has great cardio and he is a real technician when it comes to his striking. Although he is on a two-fight skid, both of those losses were very questionable decisions.
Imadaev, 24, is an unbeaten Russian fighter who will make his promotional debut on Saturday night. However, he and Griffin have crossed paths before as they are former training partners at Extreme Couture in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Eryk Anders vs. Khalil Rountree
Often times in MMA, analysts and media alike will hype a fight by saying ‘this fight has to end in a knock out’. While I’m not a fan of the hyperbole, this fight has to end in a knock out.
Anders and Rountree have a combined 13 TKO/KO finishes. That number becomes even more impressive when you realize the men have a combined 18 wins. That means 72% of the time this fight should end with a knock out.
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya
It’s a throwback back to the early days of the UFC. Gastelum, the grappler, will look to overcome a staggering nine-inch reach advantage that Adesanya, the striker, posses.
There really is no secret as to what each fighter wants to do in this fight. Gastelum wants to use his superior wrestling to get the fight to the canvas and “Stylebender” will do his best to keep the fight on the feet. He has been successful 85% of the time when it comes to his takedown defense inside the Octagon.
The more important question is which fighter will be able to implement their strategy. And for that answer, you must tune in.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 4/11/2019.