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Diggin’ Deep on UFC 236: Holloway vs. Poirier 2 - Main card preview

Get the scoop on the main card action from UFC 236, including a hard-hitting slugfest between light heavyweights Khalil Rountree and Eryk Anders.

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I’m going to advocate for purchasing UFC 236, but it doesn’t have much to do with the contests heading into the two interim title fights. I don’t care that they are interim title fights either. Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier is an awesome fight. Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya is an awesome fight. Everything else on the main card is… a fight.

I know you don’t cover the title fights. That’s covered by real analysts in David Castillo and Phil MacKenzie.

Come on. I do have feelings you know.

This coming from the smart ass?

You have a point. I’m not saying I hate these contests. There’s a lot of potential for Khalil Rountree and Eryk Anders to end in a highlight reel KO. The same could be said for Alan Jouban and Dwight Grant. I just fear there is as strong of a likelihood that they turn in major stinkers.

Grant… didn’t he turn in one of the worst performances in recent memory against Zak Ottow?

Right you are. He’s redeemed himself somewhat with a brutal finish of Carlo Pedersoli, but there is still somewhat of a stench on the ATT product. If the two fights have taught us anything, it’s that Grant needs someone who will take the fight to him if we hope to see an entertaining contest out of him. At first glance, most would say Jouban fits that bill, remembering his brawls with the likes of Ben Saunders and Belal Muhammad. However, Jouban has been involved in highly strategic chess matches too, such as his precision performance against Mike Perry. Given the need for Grant to thrive in a particular fight, look for Jouban to force Grant to lead the dance. Besides, with Jouban’s fading durability, he can’t survive too many more slobberknockers.

I can see the uncertainty. I’m not so sure why you’d say that about Rountree. Sure, he can’t wrestle, but he’s a hell of a KO artist and Anders will be willing to stand and trade.

Damn, you’re doing my job for me. I do have the most confidence in Rountree and Anders to quench my thirst for violence most satisfactorily for the reasons you just stated, but I also have pause for concern. Y’all remember Anders’ win over Tim Williams? He was losing up until he secured the KO, relying far more on athleticism than technique. Sure, it did eventually work out for him, but it also creates cause for concern that he struggles to put together consistent offense. Then again, between him and Rountree, there’s unlikely to be a decision.

You haven’t given an indication of who you favor….

Rountree’s explosiveness is in part attributed his exceptional striking technique, which would appear to make him more likely to secure the KO. However, it took a hellacious beating from Thiago Santos to put down Anders this past fall whereas Rountree went out cold in his last outing with Johnny Walker… the fighter. I’m not calling Rountree chinny – Walker is a beast – but it’s an image that I can’t erase. Plus, for all of his technical problems in the wrestling department, Anders has been able to get takedowns when he really wants to. Keeping them down is a different thing, but Rountree’s ground game is still a sight to turn away from. I favor Anders as he moves up to light heavyweight.

That’s two fights covered, one to go….

Ah yes. The rematch we’ve all been waiting for: Ovince Saint Preux vs. Nikita Krylov. Their first contest saw OSP submit Nicky Thrills with a Von Flue choke – or should I say a Von Preux choke?

That’s because no one in the UFC has more Von Flue chokes than him, right?

Correct, owning three of the five such submissions in UFC history. Regardless, the rematch makes sense as where they stand in the light heavyweight division is very much up in the air. OSP has fought every notable name at 205, securing just as many wins as he has losses over his last 14 contests. A fantastic athlete with explosive power, there may not be a greater enigma than OSP on the roster. His gas tank is shallow, resulting in him throwing low levels of volume as he searches for an opening he can exploit. That said, few are better at obtaining a finish when given the opportunity as his record of Von Flue chokes attests to.

Should we expect a repeat?

No. Krylov developed a reputation as one of the most reckless members of the roster over his first UFC stint.

Wait, first stint?

Yes, Krylov voluntarily left for over a year, going undefeated in that time only to fall short against Jan Blachowicz upon returning to the Octagon. He appears to have reigned in some of his wildness, though it would be a mistake to believe he’s no longer prone to leaving the type of openings OSP likes to take advantage of. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t stand a chance. Krylov is close to the same level of athleticism as OSP – a former high-level collegiate football player – and is one of the more creative fighters on the roster.

Creative on the feet or in his submissions?

Both. Krylov can’t hope to match OSP’s wrestling, but the veteran is likely to use that sparingly as that tends to wear him out faster than anything. Throw in the fact that OSP is just as prone to leaving himself open to the same type of defensive holes he’s an expert at exploiting and this contest is a coin flip.

So flip a coin already and tell me what you think.

Come on, I know you don’t value my opinion that much. Though I wouldn’t ever label either fighter as disciplined, I’d favor OSP’s ability to remain composed as Krylov tries something risky.

You know... even if the impact of these contests isn’t too large in terms of the standings, I’m feeling better about their chances of being fun.


Eryk Anders over Khalil Rountree via TKO of RD2

Alan Jouban over Dwight Grant via Decision

Ovince Saint Preux over Nikita Krylov via TKO of RD1

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