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TUF 24 Finale: Demetrious Johnson vs. Tim Elliott Breakdown

Dan Tom




Demetrious Johnson (24-2-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’3″ Age: 30 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 66″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Henry Cejudo (4-23-16)
  • Camp: AMC Pankration (Kirkland, WA)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Excellent

Supplemental info:
+   UFC Flyweight Champion
+   Amateur MMA Titles
+   5 KO victories
+   9 Submission wins
+   9 first round finishes
+   Incredible speed
+   Superb footwork
^   Finds & creates angles
+   Intelligent coaches and corner
^   Adjusts well during & in between rounds
+   Relentless pace & pressure
+   Creative clinch game
^   Stifles, strikes, sets up takedowns
+   Excellent transition game
^   Seamlessly switches attacks
+   Never slows/recovers well


Tim Elliott (13-6-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’7″ Age: 29 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 67″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Pedro Nobre (3-4-16)
  • Camp: Glory MMA & Fitness (Missouri)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   TUF 24 Winner
+   Titan FC Flyweight Title
+   Wrestling Base
+   3 KO victories
+   5 Submission wins
+   5 first round finishes
+   Aggressive pace & pressure
+   Sporadic footwork & timing
^   Deceptive dips & crouches
+   Diverse attack arsenal
+   Solid reactive takedowns & chains
+   Good transitional grappler
^   Works well from ride positions
+   Crafty submission setups
+/-Low-handed approach
^   Counter availabilities


The main event for the TUF 24 Finale is a flyweight title fight as Demetrious Johnson defends his strap against tournament winner, Tim Elliott. Widely regarded as the pound for pound best fighter in the sport, Demetrious Johnson will take one step closer to the record books with a successful defense here. However, Tim Elliott will be looking to follow in Matt Serra’s footsteps with an equally impactful upset as he seeks to make a statement upon his return to the UFC.

Starting off on the feet, we have a battle of two stance-switching flyweights who can move like few can. With Johnson being the more measured and precise striker in his approach, Elliott embraces his free flowing nature as he is almost sporadic in his movements. In more recent years, we have seen Elliott sharpen his assault steadily as he works well off of a dipping crouch(in a similar fashion to Dominick Cruz). Utilizing this technique to feint and bait his opposition out of position, Tim keeps his unique preferences of punches and kicks at the ready.

Coming from a wrestling base, Elliot embodies more of a funk style that seemingly translates well to his footwork and transitional takedowns. Once grounding his opponent, Tim wastes little time in working for advancements. Often encouraging scrambles to capitalize on the chaos, Elliott does well when able to establish a ride position. Favoring a cross-ride position whenever he can catch his opponent turtling, Elliott will insert one leg hook as he secures a cross-wrist grip on the opposite side. This technique lets Tim strike while still allowing him to threaten with different choke variations.

That said, Elliott’s aggression can also cost him as he will often lose positions due to his offensive eagerness. Even in his semifinal fight with Horimasa Ogikubo, we saw Tim lose position repeatedly against his opponent as he even gave up a Guillotine at the end of the match. Against one of the most technically sound fighters in the sport, Elliott will not be able to afford such mistakes as it will make for a short night. As fun as Tim’s transitions are, Johnson is on another level in regards to his creativity and process. A flow master and multi-tasker, there is no better examples of Demetrious’ brilliance then when watching the evolution of his clinch game.

After being dropped in his first fight with John Dodson, Demetrious intelligently adjusted by taking the fight into the clinch. Using a myriad of grips to trips, or strikes into high-crotch hikes, Johnson has developed quite the taste for breaking his opposition in close. Since then, we have only seen these skills sharpen as we last saw the champion dismember an Olympic wrestler within his comfort of the clinch. As much as I could spend time pontificating on Mighty Mouse’s multiple skill sets, I ultimately see his more efficient flowchart paying dividends early and often. Whether Johnson’s speed and angles tax Tim’s low-handed defenses or his superior clinch game takes over, I believe the challenger’s aggression will only bring out the best in the champion.

Official Pick: Johnson – Inside the distance


Joseph Benavidez (24-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’4″ Age: 32 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 65″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Zach Makovsky (2-6-16)
  • Camp: Muscle Pharm (Denver, CO)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC & WEC Title Challenger
+   State Wrestling Champion (New Mexico)
+   6 KO victories
+   9 Submission wins
+   6 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Variates movement well
^   Active footwork and feints
+   Dangerous right-hand/hooks
+   Hard body & leg kicks
+   Superb scrambling ability
^   Urgently gets up/reverses position
+   Strong from front headlock
^   Threatens Guillotines/dictates position


Henry Cejudo (10-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’4″ Age: 29 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 64″
  • Last Fight: TKO loss / Demetrious Johnson (4-23-16)
  • Camp: Fight Ready (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Olympic Wrestling Gold Medalist (USA)
+   Bronze Gloves Boxing Champion
+   3 KO victories
+   1 Submission win
+   4 first round finishes
+   Improved overall striking
^   Favors L. hook–R. cross combos
+   Hard kicks & knees
+   Strong clinch game
^   Solid grips/hand-fighting
+   Excellent wrestling ability
^  100% Takedown defense
–    Difficulty making flyweight limit
^   Gas tank bears watching


The co-main event is a battle between TUF 24 coaches, Joseph Benavidez and Henry Cejudo. A perennial number one contender of the flyweight division, Joseph Benavidez will seek to cement his case for a third shot at the champion, Demetrious Johnson. Standing in Joseph’s way is Olympic gold medalist, Henry Cejudo. Coming off a failed attempt at dethroning Demetrious Johnson, Cejudo will look to get back on the winning track by beating his newfound rival.

In a matchup of two wrestlers who potentially hold ill will toward one another, I suspect much of this fight to contest on the feet. Although Benavidez should have an edge when it comes to striking, Cejudo is no slouch in that department as he has shown to prefer to fight upright in MMA. Consistently demonstrating a stick-and-move curriculum, the former freestyle wrestler displays a surprising fluidity as he rarely throws himself out of position. Favoring left hook-right cross setups, he often finishes his combinations with hard kicks to the body.

However, Benavidez has some brutal body kicks of his own as I favor him in the standing exchanges. Showing constant improvements and evolutions, Joseph employs a much more active and unpredictable style. Consistently changing angles and stances through a series of shifts, Benavidez is constantly dictating the offensive terms. Though still dangerous blitzing forward with hooks, it is his developments in counter fighting that is most interesting.

Primarily standing in southpaw, Benavidez has shown a recent trend to fire off weapons from orthodox. Often stepping back into this stance to give the perception of retreat, Joseph will draw opposition into his counter right hand as I feel it will serve him well in this fight. Often keeping his head slightly upright in both attack and retreat, right hands over the top and off of the counter seem to be the common culprit for Henry Cejudo.

Although Henry shows confidence in his striking, it is inside the clinch where he is truly most comfortable as I suspect he will take it here anytime he can. Utilizing fundamental hand-fighting, Cejudo will subtly stifle his opposition’s offense inside as he delivers a healthy dose of hard knees. Even though I see Cejudo having his best advantages from this space, Benavidez is seldom seen in the clinch outside of terms that behoove him.

Aside from his aforementioned footwork, Benavidez can be difficult to pin down in a clinch due to his awareness of when to leave and when to stay. With that in mind, takedowns may become problematic for Cejudo as he generally scores most of his against the fence. Although Cejudo wields a good reactive double-leg that may help his efforts, he will need to be careful anytime he extends himself due to Benavidez’s looming Guillotine threats.

Despite Joseph no longer training at Team Alpha Male, I doubt that his chokes in transition skills have gone anywhere as I give him the clear submission edge. Even if Cejudo can ground Benavidez, it is hard to see him doing so for long given that Joseph is one of the best scramblers in the division. Transitional threats aside, Benavidez is consistent when it comes to his getup urgency and technique. Although you can never count out an Olympian, I feel that Benavidez is a bad matchup for Henry as I suspect a statement to be made here.

Official Pick: Benavidez – Inside the distance

Jake Ellenberger (31-11)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 31 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 73″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Matt Brown (7-30-16)
  • Camp: Kings MMA (California)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Purple Belt BJJ
+   21 KO victories
+   4 Submission wins
+   14 first round finishes
+   KO power
+   Devastating right hand
^   Favors overhands & hooks
+   Strong inside the clinch
^   Difficult to takedown/control
+   Solid power-double takedown
+   Underrated submission game
+   Effective ground striker
–    Sometimes throws self out of position
–    Sometimes subject to activity lulls

Jorge Masvidal (30-11)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 32 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 73″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Ross Pearson (7-30-16)
  • Camp: American Top Team (Florida)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Former AFC Welterweight Champion
+   Undefeated in the streets
+   11 KO victories
+   2 Submission wins
+   6 first round finishes
+   Accurate shot selection
+   Solid balance & footwork
^   Rarely out of position
+   Active transition & clinch game
^   Strikes well off the breaks
+   Excellent wrestling ability
+   Underrated submission game
^   Crafty from front headlock
+/-Often shells upright
^   Body/right-hand openings


In a potential war in the welterweight division, Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger meets Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal. After a rough stretch of inconsistent performances inside the Octagon, Jake Ellenberger displayed an amazing turnaround in his last fight as he blew away the dangerous Matt Brown. Now looking to get back into the mix at welterweight, Ellenberger is tasked to take on the always game Jorge Masvidal. Although Jorge has only amassed a 2-2 record since moving up a division, those losses were close decisions that came against quality opposition. That said, a win over Ellenberger would cement that Masvidal deserves to be amongst welterweight’s finest.

Starting off on the feet, we essentially have an edge-of-your-seat style striking matchup between a power puncher and a technician. A devastating slugger since coming onto the scene, we have seen different iterations of Ellenberger over the course of his UFC tenor. A deceptive distance closer, Jake has always had a good right-hand despite being amongst the shorter of his welterweight contemporaries. Now working with Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA, Ellenberger was able to show us a glimpse of his improvements in his last fight. Despite Jake’s early success straight out of the gate, the experienced veteran was able to collect himself and get back to the game plan.

Showing stance switches early and often, it was clear that Ellenberger was looking for a liver kick. A weapon that Cordeiro has imparted to many of the grapplers who have studied under him, it was impressive to see Jake take so quickly to the former Chute Boxe coach’s style as he implemented his game plan concisely(something he hasn’t shown to do in quite some time). Although Ellenberger has a history with inconsistencies in his activity, he can pose some real stylistic threats to Jorge in this fight. That said, Masvidal is the more technical man as I give him a slight edge standing. A fighter who has always been noted for his boxing technique, we have seen Jorge Masvidal steadily mature as the rest of his game caught up to his striking.

Confident in his takedown defense, we have seen Masvidal add-in accurate knees and body kicks to his arsenal of attacks. Although Jorge also shares similar criticisms of activity lulls, Masvidal has shown measurable improvements in his output since moving up to welterweight. Working well off of his left hand, Jorge will look to create angles as he tries to encourage his opposition to pulling and return punches with him. That said, Masvidal’s comfortability comes with a cost as he seems to be too willing to allow the fight to come to him. Whether he is inside the pocket or clinch, Jorge’s lackadaisical approach to defense often opens him up to shots he should arguably be avoiding.

Despite wearing damage well, relying on head movement and reaction times is a dangerous game to play with a heavy-hitter who is also a deceptively fast distance closer. Even when Jorge elects to keep his shields up, he usually utilizes a shell defense. Coupled with his upright posture, this typically has opened up Masvidal to overhand rights and body kicks as these are the strikes landed on him most. Considering that those strikes are Ellenberger’s best tools, Masvidal will have to demonstrate a consistent discipline in his defenses for this fight. That said, I expect Jorge to have an inherent edge in exchanges as he should get the jump on Jake’s attacks. A side effect of Ellenberger’s heavy-handed nature, Jake tends to load up on his punches as he preemptively plots before launching an attack.

Given that Masvidal may already carry a speed advantage on paper, we could see Ellenberger get picked apart should Jorge find his rhythm. Despite Ellenberger often being associated with a wrestling background, I give a slight edge to Masvidal as he shows to be the more technical wrestler, both defensively and offensively. Although Ellenberger has an excellent power-double that could certainly ground Jorge, he has not used it as much in recent years and will typically shoot naked(without strikes for disguise). Furthermore, Ellenberger’s aggression that causes him to throw himself out of position on the feet will often translate to the floor.

Even though the drive on Ellenberger’s takedowns is what makes him so effective, the Juggernaut tends to turtle for a beat too long should he fail on his attempts. This tendency has allowed Jake to get his back taken in 3 of his last 5-fights(Gastelum, Thompson, & Saffeidine), and could be something worth watching for in this fight. Although Masvidal is not known as a back taker, he is an underrated transitional grappler who works best from the front headlock. Should Jake find himself turtled against Masvidal, expect to see the patent D’arce choke attempts and arm-in Guillotine sweeps that Jorge uses to put his opponents in precarious positions.

Although Ellenberger has all the skills to control Masvidal on the ground and do damage, I ultimately give the grappling edge to Jorge due to his advantages in transitions and scrambling scenarios. With Masvidal currently having more tools and trends in his favor, I can see why he is favored to win this fight. However, at his current listing price of an over 2-to-1 favorite, this line screams of a trap fight when incorporating the stylistic matchup. Even though I initially sided with Masvidal as I can see him pulling away as the fight wears on, I cannot get around the fact that his susceptibilities standing are Jake’s strengths. As a huge Jorge Masvidal fan, I hope I am wrong here, but I ultimately have to side with what my eyes are seeing.

Official Pick: Ellenberger – Inside the distance

Main Card Predictions:

  • Johnson def. Elliott
  • Benavidez def. Cejudo
  • Ellenberger def. Masvidal
  • Cutelaba def. Cannonier
  • McMann def. Davis
  • Moreno def. Benoit

Preliminary Card Predictions:

  • *Maynard def. Hall
  • Font def. Schnell
  • Kim def. O’Reilly
  • Curran def. Moyle
  • Smith def. Mutapcic
  • Clark def. Stansbury
  • Lausa def. ZhiKui

For the complete analysis of future & past UFC events visit and for future breakdowns & your latest in worldwide MMA news, stay tuned & follow @MMALatestnws

Onnit Primal Bells


GSP vs Robert Whittaker is Easily the Best Fight to Make at Middleweight



GSP became the new middleweight champion of the UFC this past weekend, and many questions have been asked his way. Is he officially the greatest of all time? Who does he fight next? Does he stay at middleweight?

The G.O.A.T. conversation will never be settled completely. There will always be separation in opinions between Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, GSP, Demetrious Johnson, Fedor Emelianenko, and some even say Conor McGregor is the greatest, simply due to the fact that he is the first ever UFC champion to hold two belts simultaneously. Regardless of how that conversation is driven, the biggest question that should be the only concern at this point is the immediate plans for the new middleweight champion.

Where does GSP go next, and who does he fight?

Well, the fact of the matter is, it would not make sense for GSP to go down to the welterweight division again. 170-pounds is alive and kicking at the moment, with new stars emerging such as Darren Till and Mike Perry, to return of veterans like Carlos Condit, and also new additions to the division like Rafael dos Anjos. St-Pierre would have to stay extremely active in order to keep the division flowing.

At the age of 36 and having just returned to MMA last weekend, St-Pierre is unlikely to stay as active as he used to be when he was the king of the welterweight division. Plus, would it really make much sense for him to get on his old diet again in order to make the welterweight weight limit? He looked massive last night, all bulked up, and even seemed like the bigger fighter against Bisping, who used to fight at 205-pounds.

On the other hand, if he decides to stay at middleweight, which is what UFC president Dana White stated would happen yesterday, then there is one clear path for him to take and based on his statements on his contract, will be forced to take: Robert Whittaker.

Whittaker won the interim middleweight belt earlier this year against Yoel Romero at UFC 213, which was a razor close fight that went to Whittaker at the end of 5 rounds. Since then, Whittaker has been sidelined due to the injury he suffered during the fight, damaging his ligament in the left knee.

4 months later, he has seemed to have healed up perfectly, as he was in the arena for the madness last night and even answered a few questions from the media, stating that he is healthy now. The fight against Whittaker would be the best that the UFC could put on at this point in 185-pounds division on a few different levels.

GSP and Whittaker have a lot in common. Starting with the most obvious, they both used to fight at welterweight. Which means that neither fighter will have a massive size advantage. This brings the match up nearly even as far as physicality is concerned.

Then comes the match up itself. St-Pierre and Whittaker both represent the very definition of being ‘well-rounded’. Whittaker, although not an offensive wrestler, proved that his defensive wrestling was second to none in his fight against Romero, a former Olympic wrestler. And while GSP is not necessarily the best wrestler in pure wrestling, his ability to wrestle in MMA is phenomenal due to his timing and fight IQ, which makes this fight even more intriguing to find out whether Whittaker can defend GSP’s takedown attempts.

This fight also represents the UFC an opportunity to see a birth of a superstar. Whittaker, while not a huge talker, is a very marketable fighter especially over in Australia and New Zealand. If he is able to defeat GSP, who’s arguably the biggest draw in the history of the company, it would boost Whittaker’s popularity up an extraordinary amount. And being only 26 years old, Whittaker has the tools and potential to be a dominant champion, much like St-Pierre in his “prime”.

Booking this fight would also clear up the confusing state of the middleweight division. With Bisping’s reign as the champion coming to an end, some hope was born for other contenders in the division. Fighters like Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman, Yoel Romero, Jacare Souza were having an extremely hard time getting a hold of Michael Bisping during his reign, and with a new champion now and possible unification of the belts soon, the contenders will have a goal to work for again.

The fight is one of the best fights that UFC could put on for the fans right now and one that can happen as early as February of 2018, which is when the UFC returns to Australia with a PPV. If it can come to fruition, then it will easily be one of the best fights of the year and one that all the fans can count the days down to.

Onnit Primal Bells
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UFC 217: Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Rose Namajunas Preview



UFC 217 is hoping to explode Madison Square Garden with a stacked card featuring three title fights.

One of the three title fights, is a bout between women’s strawweight champion, undefeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-0-0) and rising star #4-ranked Rose Namajunas (7-3-0).

What we have here is a fight between an aggressive, clinical technician in Joanna, and an unpredictable, well rounded submission artist in Rose.

Joanna is regarded as (out of both male & female fighters) one of the best strikers in the UFC. Undefeated in both kickboxing & MMA with her calculated method of increasing the pace and volume as the rounds go by until what looked like a  fight starts to look close to assault & battery.

With Vegas odds having Joanna as -600 to Rose’s +400  there is no secret that Joanna is highly favoured to win. One can get a clearer picture to why this is by looking at some of her records..

  • Has never lost a professional MMA fight
  • Most sig. strikes landed in a UFC Title Fight
  • 2nd most sig. strikes landed in a UFC fight
  • Most legs kicks landed in a UFC fight
  • – List Info pulled from MMAJunkie –

Rose began her UFC career since the weight classes’ inception into the ranks, in the TUF house. Winning all her fights by stoppage, but coming up short against Carla Esparza for the inaugural women’s strawweight championship. Rose went back to the drawing board to reset, improve and come back stronger.

Rose has fought a high level striker from Poland before in Karolina Kowalkiewicz, and lost via split decision on her way to the title. True to Rose’s form however, she came back better, smarter and more dangerous, securing a win over touted UFC prospect Michelle Waterson. Dispatching “The Karate Hottie” with a perfectly timed high kick that she finished off with a rear naked choke in round two.

Rose’s perseverance, will and ability to overcome her career misfortunes & failures as well as personal problems at home, has granted her nothing but success. Her grit & drive is on display every time she fights. Looking sharper, more refined, well rounded and dynamic, achieving the accolade of “Most submission wins in UFC women’s starwweight history.” 

Joanna has shown to be beyond dominant and ahead of her competitors, time and time again. So far nobody has found a real weakness in her game or has been able to exploit one if they did. Out striking strikers, out grinding grinders and nullifying grapplers of all types. Yet she has never faced a fighter as well rounded & explosively creative as Rose, who is happy to strike and then throw a flying arm bar from standing, seemingly out of the blue. Uncertainty and on the fly creativity is hard to train for. So, though on paper the favour is for Joanna, the devil is in the details and the details are what make this fight so compelling!

Jul 8, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Joanna Jedrezejczyk (red gloves) fights Claudia Gadelha (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

If Rose beats Joanna, she achieves the dream she has sweat, cried and bled for over the past 4 years. It will catapult her to a very different echelon of fighter hierarchy, UFC fame and financial security. She will also have beaten one of only two current UFC Champions who are undefeated in their MMA Career in “JJ”. (Cody Garbrandt, who will fight on the same card in the following match up against TJ Dillashaw, is the other).

If Joanna wins, she will tie Ronda Rousey’s record of most title defenses in women’s UFC History. She will have effectively “cleaned out” the division and from there the she can chose to break Ronda’s record, or go up to the new 125-pound division for a super fight.

A lot to lose, a lot to gain, two super elite competitors, two fighters who are known for giving spectacular performances at a high level, to the bitter end. Despite neither fighter reaching 5″7, & only 115lbs, make no mistake, this fight is Monumentally HUGE! Regardless of the outcome, expect to be entertained.

Onnit Primal Bells
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Khabib vs Barboza UFC 219 breakdown



All Credit to for the image

Khabib vs Barboza has been made official for UFC 219 and it promises to be an absolute cracker, so in this article, I’m going to give a full breakdown of this fantastic fight.

UFC 219 just got a whole lot better with the addition of Khabib vs Barboza to the main card, Khabib will be hungry to grab a victory in his first fight since his submission win over Michael Johnson at UFC 205.

However, UFC fans will be crossing their fingers and hoping that the fight does happen as Khabib has been scheduled to fight in the main event, back in April 2016, but his opponent Ferguson had to pull out of their scheduled main event because doctors had found fluid and blood in his lungs. Khabib also pulled out of there fight at UFC 209 because he was hospitalized trying to cut weight for there highly anticipated bout, which played down his chances at him getting a title shot against McGregor. This fight is a chance for him to once again prove himself to get that title shot. Hopefully, we do not see a repeat of these past scheduled fights for Khabib and hopefully, we can see him back in the octagon for UFC 219.

I take no credit for this image

Now onto Barboza, who is an explosive and aggressive fighter, his last three fights have resulted in three wins for the Brazilian who won his last fight by TKO/KO with his latest loss coming from Ferguson by way of submission at the Ultimate Fighter Finale, back in 2015.

This Brazilian fighter prefers to stand and trade with his opponents and usually outclasses his opponents on the feet, however, most of Barboza’s losses have come by submission, one of those opponents being Michael Johnson (who Khabib beat by submission) so Barboza may want to work on his submission defence and ground game altogether because Khabib is a very dominant fighter who can control the fight and has a strong ground game so he will be looking to take Barboza to the ground.

Barboza needs to try to take control of the fight away from Khabib and keep it stood up to try and outclass Khabib, which will make for a very Interesting bout on December the 30th and many will be tuning in to see how it turns out.

I believe Khabib will walk with the victory over Barboza at UFC 219 in a fight which promises to be exciting and aggressive throughout.

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