By Jeremy Pinnell & Kevin Broughton
The UFC’s “International Fight Week” is upon us, which means hard-hitting analysis from your rough-and-tumble troubadour and humble scribe. Oh, and there’s talk of potential musical collaborations, too. Let’s dive in.
Kevin: Early July means International Fight Week in Vegas, and the UFC has put together a good -- maybe not great, but really solid -- card for its 290th pay per view. Alex Volkanovski -- whom I think is the toughest fighter in MMA -- will defend his belt for the fifth time against Yair Rodriguez. Featherweight champ Brandon Moreno seems to fight about every two months, and he's a slight favorite over Alex Pantoja for the flyweight belt.
The one that has me really intrigued is the middleweight scrap between former champ Robert "Bobby Knuckles" Whitaker and Driscus du Plessis. Whitaker is a heavy favorite; I think there's a big chance for an upset. Bo Nickal, the freakish former Penn State wrestler...well, the UFC is certainly pacing him along in the early stages of his career; he's a -2,400 favorite over...who knows, it doesn't matter.
Finally, Ruthless Robbie Lawler will retire after his fight with Niko Price -- and they put Robbie on the prelim card.
So, that's a lot to choose from. What stands out and piques your interest on this card?
Jeremy: Anytime I can see Volk fight it’s entertaining. He’s a motherfucker. Might be one of my favorites right now. I feel like he’s fighting on a whole other level than anyone else right now. The way he pieced Holloway up was so impressive. He went the distance with Islam; he’s the man.
Yair is cool and expressive and I guess he’s on a little run, so we’ll see. And you’re right: The card isn’t great. They gave Robbie to the prelims, and he probably needed to retire sooner. But as an artist sometimes we can’t or won’t see it. It’s not my call but he’s a legend. Who’s Bo Nickal?
Kevin: Such a hater. International Fight Week also means a new class of fighters inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. This year's honorees are: Former middleweight champ (and a top 5 in the GOAT conversation) Anderson Silva; Jose Aldo; Jens Pulver (the first 155 champ in the UFC); and Cowboy Cerrone who...well, he's the only UFC fighter to appear on Justified.
Thoughts on this class?
Jeremy: Hahaha you’re a Justified freak. Cowboy is the man, and that’s exciting. Also, Jesus, Silva changed things. He was different. All good news.
Kevin: Sheesh. You’d think a Kentucky boy would like Justified, one of the best TV shows of the last decade. I guess Yellowstone is more your speed, but don’t get me started. Anyway, it may be because I just finished the Showtime miniseries George and Tammy (it's extremely well done, BTW), but I've been thinking about duets of late. Have you ever recorded a duet with a lady, and is it something you might like to do?
Jeremy: I would never turn down a duet, but I also don’t care if I ever do one so…
I’ve never seen the George and Tammy thing, but it looks cool and my buddy Logan Ledger appears on an episode or two, from what I understand. He’s an amazing artist in his own right.
Kevin: Oh, wow, yeah. He played Georgie Riddle, one of the original Jones Boys. Very cool.
I know you didn't ask my opinion -- hey, it's never stopped me -- but might I humbly suggest your fellow Kentuckian Kelsey Waldon? Prine (praise be upon him) was impressed enough to sign her to his label, and I know for a fact she gives a good interview. What more do you need, and how do we make this (brilliant) idea happen?
Jeremy: Kelsey is good people and she has her own thing, and no one sounds like her. She’s killer.
Kevin: A tad non-committal, but let’s move on.
As long as I'm brainstorming and dispensing career advice, hear me out on this one. The completely sane Leroy Virgil -- who digs your stuff -- has a steel player (Chuck "Utah" Bradley) who's also into jiu-jistu. I sent Leroy our last Mixed Music Action column, he's now convinced that Hellbound Glory needs to do a mini-tour with Jeremy Pinnell. "At least," he said, "we won't have to pay for security." Whaddya think, Cuz? I say it makes perfect sense.
Jeremy: Well, I’m a huge Hellbound Glory fan, first of all. I think “Dial 911” might be one of my favorite country songs of all time. It’s perfect. I would never turn that tour down.
Kevin: Yeah, that’s probably my favorite cut from the Pure Scum album. Leroy’s voice is damn near perfect.
As we close this one out, you been listening to any cool music lately? Tell me something good.
Jeremy: Cool music? Hmm. Croy and the Boys just released a killer single called “I Get By,” and it’s my new favorite. So, I’ve been going back through their catalog and have been enjoying that. I’ve also been listening to a podcast called “Breaking Points” that gets me current and through the day. So, that’s my life.
Kevin: Okay, buddy. Good talk. I know you’re on the road later this month (ahem, still no Atlanta dates), so stay safe out there. Talk soon.