UFC 236 will take place this weekend, with this event being the first ESPN Pay-Per-View in the history of ESPN and UFC. In the past, you would simply turn on your TV and click purchase on the Pay-Per-View channel, but the UFC and ESPN recently came to an agreement where the only way you can purchase this event is through ESPN. You can no longer get this through your local cable company.
That being said, this should be a great fight card with many great fights. The feature fight of UFC 236 will be the Main Event for the UFC Interim Lightweight Title between Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier. The Co-Main Event also has a title on the line as Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya for the UFC Interim Middleweight Title.
There are 13-fights scheduled for this event which includes several veterans that have headlined UFC cards. Let’s first take a look at the card for UFC 236.
Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway – UFC LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT
Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum – UFC MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT
Eryk Anders vs. Khalil Rountree
Alan Jouban vs. Dwight Grant
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Nikita Krylov
Jalin Turner vs. Matt Frevola
Wilson Reis vs. Alexandre Pantoja
Max Griffin vs. Zelim Imadaev
Boston Salmon vs. Khalid Taha
Curtis Millender vs. Belal Muhammad
Montel Jackson vs. Andre Soukhamthath
Poliana Botelho vs. Lauren Mueller
Brandon Davis vs. Randy Costa
The Main Event is a rematch from UFC 143 on February 4, 2012, between Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier. In the first match, Poirier locked up an armbar in the 1st round to get the win over Holloway. A lot has changed since that fight, and both fighters have grown by leaps and bounds.
Max Holloway is the UFC’s Featherweight Champion, and he is making the move to the Lightweight Division. He is 20-3 overall and 16-3 in the UFC. Holloway is riding a 13-fight win streak and is coming in off an impressive dominating performance against former #1 contender for the UFC’s Featherweight Title, Brian Ortega. Ortega stood no chance of beating Holloway on that night at UFC 231, as Holloway came in with phenomenal cardio and striking that was on another level.
Poirier enters this fight with a record of 25-5 overall and is 17-4 in the UFC. Poirier trains out of the American Top Team and is riding a 4-fight win streak. In his last 3 fights, he has fought 3 former world champions in Eddie Alvarez, who he KO’d in the 2nd round, Justin Gaethje who he KO’d in the 4th round and Anthony Pettis, who he scored a TKO in the 3rd round.
This should be a great fight and very entertaining for anyone that likes striking battles. Both fighters are superb strikers that will want to keep the fight standing. I think that advantage goes to Holloway. He is going to be able to keep distance from Poirier and pick and choose when and where this fight takes place. I look for him to simulate the same type of striking performance that we saw when he fought Ortega and expect a late 4th round TKO from Holloway.
Handicapping Selection: Max Holloway WINS via 4th Round TKO
In the Co-Main Event, Kelvin Gastelum will take on Israel Adesanya for the UFC’s Interim Middleweight Title. Gastelum was originally planned to fight Robert Whittaker; however, the day of the fight, Whittaker had to be taken into emergency surgery due to a hernia, which left Gastelum without a fight. On that same night, Adesanya fought and defeated UFC legend, Anderson “The Spider” Silva. That led to the matchup here this week between Gastelum and Adesanya.
Gastelum is 16-3 overall and is 11-3 in the UFC. Gastelum is riding a 2-fight win streak over Ronaldo Souza and former UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping. Gastelum self-proclaimed himself the UFC’s Middleweight Champion after Whittaker was not able to fight and that caused for Adesanya to call him out.
Adesanya is undefeated in his career at 16-0 overall and has gone 5-0 in the UFC. Adesanya has a very unique style of striking that is very difficult to defend. Since coming to the UFC, he has won 3 fights by decision and 2 by TKO.
This fight comes down to where the fight will take place. We really haven’t seen Adesanya’s ground game because he hasn’t needed to use it. That will probably not be the same case here as Gastelum is a wrestler who likes to use his striking to set up takedowns.
You can look for Adesanya to neutralize the takedowns and effectively win the striking battle. I look for Adesanya to get the 5-round decision over Gastelum in this fight.
Handicapping Selection: Israel Adesanya WINS via Unanimous Decision.
Another fight that we want to point out is between Eryk Anders and Khalil Rountree in the UFC’s Light-Heavyweight Division. Anders is coming in off back-to-back losses to Elias Theodorou and Thiago Santos. Rountree is also coming in off a loss but to UFC newcomer Johnny Walker.
This should be a hard-hitting fight where both guys want to stand in front of the other and throw leather! One of these guys is going to go down and get KO’d. I really don’t know which one will land first but either way, someone is getting KO’d in the first round! Play this one to end in under 1.5 rounds at +120!
Handicapping Selection: Fight Ends Under 1.5 Rounds +120