By Jeremy Pinnell & Kevin Broughton
The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to pay-per-view action this weekend (note: 2 p.m. Eastern start for the main card, as the promotion heads back to Abu Dhabi,) with a blockbuster card not seen in quite some time. There’s nowhere to go but up following a near-disastrous UFC 279, so Kevin and a certain Bluegrass State troubadour are here to hash things out. Only one of them is old enough to remember The Cure during their peak; details below.
We've got quite the pay-per-view card coming up Saturday, but we probably should devote a moment or two to UFC 279, which was an insult to cluster f*cks. Khamzat Chimaev busts the weight limit by about eight pounds and shuffles the entire card. It worked out well for Nate Diaz -- who ended up with a win over Tony Ferguson at 170. For Kevin Holland...not so much.
What to make of that entire goat rodeo?
Honestly Kevin, I might be crucified for saying this, but the main event was just a spectacle. It was a yawner. I feel like the game has advanced so much that going backwards in fighting styles isn’t entertaining. Obviously, I was a fan of both in the main event, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the upcoming PPV. I gave you the nails, but you have to provide the cross.
Hmm. Some troubling imagery there. This weekend, happily, features UFC 280 and one of the best potential fight cards in a while. There are a ton of interesting angles, starting with the top of the card: Lightweight champ Charles Oliveira -- who's beaten every 155-er not named Khabib -- gets the former champion's protege, Islam Makhachev. It's kinda crazy that the champion is an underdog here, but he's fighting a Daegestani.
The co-main event has bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling (many don’t consider him the legit belt-holder) defending his title against the Lance Armstrong of MMA, TJ Dillashaw. And in the same weight division, Sean O'Malley finally faces a legit opponent in Petr Yan.
There's a lot to like about this card. What are you looking most forward to seeing? It's gonna be lit, I think.
I’m super stoked on this card. Honestly, every fight on the main card is fire. I don’t even know where to start. I think the O’Malley/ Yan fight is gonna be entertaining AF; I’m a fan of second chances and I hope TJ beats the brakes off Aljo. Makhachev is hungry, but so is Oliviera. Damn, it’s an intense card!
That main event really has me tied in knots. Oliveira went the distance with Ferguson, then stopped Chandler in the second round, Poirier in the third, and Justin Freaking Gaethje in the first. It’s hard to pick against him, but I think Mahkachev is just a different beast.
Anyway, are you still actively training at Brazilian jiu-jitsu? Serious question: If you're out on the road for a while, do you ever take your gi with you & find a local gym to roll in?
I am training and it’s going very good. I feel like I’m gaining traction. I never take my gi with me; I’ve considered it, but also I can’t afford any injuries on the road. I’m trying to make money, Kevin. The hustle is real.
Duly noted, sir. Speaking of being on the road, you were quite the warrior in the summer and early fall, so it looks like you're taking some well-deserved time off. Any plans for a short tour between now and the new year?
No, I needed some downtime. The world is crazy and I’m feeling the heat. I needed to be home with my family for a while. I have a few things lined up but am only taking things I really want… which is kind of perfect. I’m slowly getting interested in playing my guitar again.
Heck, I need to do that myself; I’ve almost lost my callouses and I don’t do that stuff for a living.
You threw me a curve this time around and told me you've been digging a band called Urban Heat. I was not familiar & did a little research; so what is it that drew you to this group? Sincerely, “Dude who never thought The Cure would change its name and dress up like Lemmy.”
I came across this band the last tour we were on. Their song “City Lights” just sounded so good; I was immediately hooked. I’ve been listening to a lot of synth pop anyway.
Well, color me…surprised. If this were a real curveball, I’d have the umpire search the pitcher’s glove; that’s a lot of break, Cousin. We’ll let Urban Heat take us out of here, wishing you and your better half a happy Sixth Anniversary.