What's Going On?

What’s Going On? (Mar 4th – 10th)

A whole new week means a whole new set of MMA news and events that needs to be discussed by yours truly. So let’s get right into it with some interesting topics for this week:

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Darren Till vs. Rafael Dos Anjos?

Darren Till has expressed interest in fighting former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos in a recent interview.

Just because of his fan base there, and I’ve obviously lived there. I’ve got a lot of fans there, and I can speak the language. It would be a good sell in Brazil, if he’s willing to do it… I know he’s waiting for [Tyron] Woodley but Woodley doesn’t seem to want to come back.” – Darren Till

As fun as a fight this would be, Dos Anjos has earned the right to fight for the title and should not have to fight the #7 ranked fighter in his division. This would be a repeat of the Jacare Souza situation. Maybe Till can fight Colby Covington in the mean time (I know a lot of people want to see that guy get knocked out badly).

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Mackenzie Dern‘s Debut Draws Viewers

According to Dave Meltzer, Mackenzie Dern’s UFC debut was the most watched portion of the UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kuntskaya prelims. It was also a bigger draw than the crazy Wilder vs. Ortiz boxing fight. Although Mackenzie Dern herself wasn’t that impressive in her debut (completely lacking in the striking department), she has proven to be a pretty big cash cow for the UFC. I expect them to give her the Sage Northcutt treatment to make he a household name and protect her record. I just hope see fixes her striking or uses her grappling much more effectively, otherwise see will end up like Ronda Rousey when she was exposed in the striking department.

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Conor McGregor, Max Holloway, and Burger King

Conor McGregor and Max Holloway continued to poke jabs at each other after UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya.

So when McGregor announced that he was partnering with Burger King, similar to Anderson Silva, the UFC Featheweight Champion decided to take this opportunity to mock his former advisory.

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Don’t you just love when two fighters get along? In all seriousness, I don’t understand why McGregor is even talking trash to Holloway. I guess he may want to face him when either of those killers, Khabib Nurmagomedov or Tony Ferguson, take his belt. Regardless, in about a month only one of them can call themselves champion.

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Derrick Lewis vs. Francis Ngannou?

Derrick Lewis has been campaigning for a fight with recent title challenger Francis Ngannou. He said recently on a podcast that he would like to get the fight as soon as possible. This would definitely be an entertaining fight and would be easy for the UFC to sell as a must-watch bout. Ngannou may not want to fight Lewis now, especially after coming short against heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, but this could be the fight that would propel him back into title contention. Plus, the rivalry between these two has been bitter from the start. Let’s just hope that when they do fight, the UFC reinforces the octagon cage walls.

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Fabricio Werdum wants to be in WWE

This is probably the most surprising news of the week. Fabricio Werdum has stated that he will meet with WWE executives to talk about a potential crossover into the world of professional wrestling. Werdum then went on the record to say that the idea was nixed and instead he would be considering lucha libre style wrestling. This is a very off move as Werdum feels that he can balance both worlds which has me skeptical. If he ever does go to WWE, however, then I would love to see him and Brock Lesnar in a cage match. The cage should also be in the shape of an octagon.

Other News:

Who You Got?

Who You Got? (UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya)

The UFC returns to Paradise when the most dominant Women’s champion the world has ever seen defends her belt against a massive underdog in the main event of the evening. Here are my picks and predictions for how all of the main card fights of the night will go down:

Cat Zingano vs. Ketlen Vieira

Undefeated fighter, Ketlen Vieira, looks to continue her winning streak by defeating former title challenger Cat Zingano. With Zingano being on a small losing streak as of late, this win can be do or die for her at this point in her career. I feel her losing streak will continue as both are known for grappling in their fights, and Vieira being the more superior grappler. Zingano has been taken down a few times in her prior fights while Vieira has defended roughly 90% of the takedowns shot at her in last three fights. To further back up this claim, Zingano is only a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu whereas Vieira is a black belt in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. Zingano is hard to finish, however, so I predict this fight going the distance.

Ketlen Vieira via Decision

Stefan Struve vs. Andrei Arlovski

This can’t possibly go the distance, right? Two heavyweights who are on the brink of irrelevance clash in this main card bout. Somebody is more than likely getting finished, but who? My answer: Stefan Struve. Let me explain. Andrei Arlovski finally picked up a win after a five fight losing streak. He didn’t get the finish but his opponentat the time, Junior Albini, had never been knocked out before then. So it is safe to assume that he is a hard guy to take out with strikes. Meanwhile, Stefan Struve has had a mixed record as of late with his last knockout win coming against the now released and fragile chinned Antonio Silva. His other knockout win before that, however, was against current champion Stipe Miocic. The problem is that it took place all the way back in 2012. So now let’s look at Arlovski’s recent knockout losses that led some to believe he now has a glass chin. Arlovski’s last three knockout losses were to Francis Ngannou, Alistair Overeem, and Stipe Miocic. How unlucky for him to be thrown in against those monsters. This is honestly a coin flip in terms of how likely each fighter is to win since heavyweight fights are always the most unpredictable fights on every card. But looking at Struve’s striking defense compared to Arlovski, I got to go with the ‘Pitbull.’

Andrei Arlovski via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

Sean O’Malley vs. Andre Soukhamthath

The latest thing to come out of the UFC hype machine, Sean O’Malley, is set to fight Andre Soukhamthath in what should be an exciting fight. O’Malley is known for his unique striking style and impressive head movement that has made him a fan favorite. Soukhamthath is also an exciting fighter who has the power to knockout his opponents with either punches or a flying knee. The most significant factor in this fight is going to be both fighters’ striking defense. O’Malley showed, especially in his debut fight, that he is an insanely hard fighter to hit as he moves his head around in all sort of angles. Soukhamthath in contrast to O’Malley has been very hittable in his fights. Although he has never been knocked out, I think this will be the time it happens since O’Malley’s striking is lethal.

Sean O’Malley via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega

Both of these fighters each have large a legion of fans pulling for their fighter to win. Frankie Edgar is known for his impressive boxing and elite level wrestling while Brian Ortega is known for his crazy submission game. Many predict Ortega using his grappling game to submit the former Lightweight Champion. However, I see Edgar using his wrestling to keep the fight on the feet and using his boxing to outstrike Ortega on the feet. Ortega is no slouch on the feet, even though he was largely outstruck by Cub Swanson in his last fight, so I see him surviving the full fifteen minutes with Edgar.

Frankie Edgar via Decision

Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya

This is considered by many a one-sided contest for the UFC title. Not one fighter has been able to even come close to conquering Cris Cyborg. Holly Holm had the best chance of any fighter and even took Cyborg to the distance for the first time since 2008. Yana Kunitskaya is a poor replacement for Holm and will probably not do as well (if you want to call Holm’s performance well). I expect a quick night for Cyborg as she takes care of business as usual.

Cris Cyborg via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

Tuesday Top Ten

Tuesday Top Ten: Possible Dream Fights

Dream fights are becoming more of a reality these days with everyone wanting big money fights. Who can blame them though? They do it because the fans are willing to pay for it. I have selected the top ten possible dream fights that have slim chance of happening but are still possible today. Only rules are that the fights have to be possible and no fighter can be on more than one dream fight. It’s like we are putting together a fantasy match card. So without further delay, here are the best dream fights to make in the UFC today:

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#10. Rashad Evans vs. Vitor Belfort

First we have two former UFC Light Heavyweight Champions. Both have some vicious knockouts in the past and are known for their expertise in grappling as well with on being a former NCAA Division I wrestler and both being Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts. They are well past their primes but this could potentially be a close contest due to their will to win.

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#9. Anthony Pettis vs. Jose Aldo

This was a dream match back in the day when both men were champions. To me it would still be amazing to see because of their fast paced and high volume striking. I feel Jose Aldo would look to grapple while Anthony Pettis would try to keep it standing. But if does stay on the feet then do not expect Aldo to just roll over. This would be a great fight between two former champions.

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#8. Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes

Here is the only women’s fight on the list. Both fighters have been dominant throughout their career, finishing almost all of their opponents. Both are also champions in their respected divisions. I would have put Holly Holm instead of Amanda Nunes but I am pretty sure that Cyborg and Holm will face each other that it is no longer a dream match and instead is reality. This is a dream match because of the Nunes being unwilling to face Cyborg. Cyborg would clearly have the edge with her frame and impressive winning streak but Amanda Nunes’ hands and Jiu-Jitsu should give Cyborg her toughest challenge yet.

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#7. Demetrious Johnson vs. Cody Garbrandt

This is a fight that both fighters have requested but were refused. The magnitude of this fight would be huge. It would be the biggest little man fight in UFC history with both winning streaks on the line as well as a title. The UFC wants TJ Dillashaw to face Demetrious Johnson instead. This is baffling because this fight makes more sense since both are champions. Plus, both are gifted athletes who have impressive striking and great wrestling to make this a barn burner.

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#6. Tyron Woodley vs. Michael Bisping

These are probably the two most hated champions in not only UFC today but also in UFC history. Tyron Woodley has the power and wrestling to takeout anyone in his division. Michael Bisping has the reach and size advantage as he is the king of the middleweight division to Woodley’s welterweight division. You can make a case for either fighter but expect many boos to fill the arena if the two meet face-to-face in the octagon.

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#5. Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier

Daniel Cormier started his career at heavyweight, where he is undefeated at, and was the form UFC Light Heavyweight champion . Stipe Miocic is the current heavyweight champion who is one win away from having the most title defenses in the heavyweight division’s history. What more needs to be said? If Cormier moves to heavyweight and gains a win or two, he can petition for a title shot in this potential dream fight.

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#4. Anthony Johnson vs. Alistair Overeem

Two of the baddest and most scariest knockout artists in the history of MMA going up against each other is what any sane man would want to see. Alistair Overeem may be the bigger fighter, but he has shown that his chin is not hard to crack if you so much as touch it. Anthony Johnson meanwhile has never been finished via strikes except for one time by an eyepoke. This is very unlikely to happen due to Johnson’s apparent retirement and unwillingness to move up weight class. But a fan can dream, right?

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#3. Conor McGregor vs. Nick Diaz

Two of the most toxic fighters in UFC history. The press conferences alone would be amazing. Conor McGregor already had a couple of fights with Nick Diaz’s younger brother Nate Diaz, but how would he fare against the older brother who is a former Strikeforce champion? They also have some of the best boxing in the business which would make for a fun fight to watch.

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#2. Jon Jones vs. Brock Lesnar

Here is the fight that is possibly closest to happening. Both are monsters in their divisions, so putting them against each other makes sense. I’ve talked about this fight before in the past so if you want to see that be sure to CLICK HERE. Even though this would be a huge draw, it is not number one on my lift. That goes to two of the greatest of all time.

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#1. Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre

Number one on this list if a fight fans have been asking for for many years. The fact that this fight has not happened yet is depressing. These two dominated their division and are known by nearly every fight fan and casual alike. The fight is still possible though with both fighters still competing, but a lot would have to happen for it to come to fruition. I guess in the meantime I will have to just play EA Sports UFC 2 with these fighters instead until then.

News

Stipe Miocic vs. Junior Dos Santos 2 is official for UFC 211 in Dallas

The UFC Heavyweight Champion, Stipe Miocic, will face off against a familiar foe in Junior Dos Santos at UFC 211 in the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The decision to place Dos Santos in a title match when there are three other contenders that are ranked higher has sparked up a bit of controversy. Let’s discuss why “Cigano” was picked for the matchup over his competition. Alistair Overeem is ranked right above JDS and had recently failed in his opprtunity (although he was close) to capture the illustrious title. Overeem is set to face Mark Hunt at UFC 209 which would undoubtedly keep him from challenging for the title a second time for the time being. In additon to that, a fighter getting a rematch just after failing to secure the title does not make a whole lot of sense for a main event fight.

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Stipe Mioci disposed of Alistair Overeem in the second round to retain his UFC Heavyweight Championship.

Not even Chael Sonnen got an immediate rematch against Anderson Silva after almost handing “The Spider” his first loss in the UFC. Ranked number two on the heavyweight contenders list is Cain Velasquez who was set to face the number one ranked contender but had to withdraw due to injury. Velasquez’s leg injury may be too much for the former heavyweight champion to compete right now which is why he was not considered for the fight. Plus, the guy ranked above him is much more deserving of a title shot. Fabricio Werdum is the number one contender for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. He lost the belt to Miocic back at UFC 198 in Brazil. After the loss Werdum would go on to win his next bout against Travis Browne at UFC 203 in Cleveland, Ohio. A lot of times the UFC would give an immediate rematch to champions that lost their belts (such as Ronda Rousey). But more often than not, the UFC would have the former champion work his way to a rematch. This is evident by the fact that fighters like Jon Jones and Rafael Dos Anjos, who were dominant in their divisions, did not get immediate rematches. Werdum did go on to claim the number one contender spot and seemed like the most likely canidate to face Miocic in Dallas. However, the UFC loves to find the best matchup they can and would ignor the rankings for the biggest draw and most interesting fights. Most recently this happened when Cody Garbrandt skipped several ranked bantamweights to dethrone Dominick Cruz and claim the UFC Bantamweight Championship.

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Cody Garbrant skipped several top bantamweight contenders to fight for and capture the UFC Bantamweight Championship.

Although it was ridiculous to see that occur, the fight was amazing and Cruz got the toughest fight of his life. The UFC probably thinks that this is the more exciting fight and would give a fresh matchup and challenge for the champion. The heavyweights usually put on a huge show and they say that everything is bigger in Texas. Dallas should get a treat when these two meet. Hopefully Dos Santos vs Miocic can bring us that same magic that Cruz vs Garbrandt brought. If it does then there will be no complaints from the MMA community (maybe).