The UFC champions have all got their next opponents. Im leaving Cruz v Barao out, as its a champ v champ match up really. There are some very interesting style match ups and challengers.
I will preview the fight from my perspective, say who i think will win, and give the challenger a mark out of 10 for the danger they pose to the champ.
Cain v Bigfoot
A default match up of sorts. Bigfoot really upset the apple cart by beating Overeem, and Cain isnt about to do an Anderson and look for someone else. Obviously this fight has already happened, and Cain made it look like a horror film, elbowing Big Foots face until it was a veil of gushing red grooves and shapes in the out line of a head.
He made big foot look like a car crash victim. He gave him a mask of zorro, made out of his own blood.
However, if you give Big Foot any advantage at all he will run wild on you. We have seen that 4 times in his last 6 fights.
Bigfoot is one of the most dangerous men on this planet, period. But i expect Cain will handle him. Fedor won the first round fighting like Errol Flynn and Cormier traced the dots to a competent and swift destruction of the big man. Cain likewise kept to the blue print and upended the giant, before recreating CSI Las Vegas in the octagon.
Fight rating: 7. Just bleed guy is out there somewhere fapping right now.
Danger rating - 7. And thats only because Bigfoot will absolutely take advantage of any opportunity, even though it probably never comes.
Jones v Gus/Lyoto
Gus- Tricky one on paper. "Jones beats everyone with his reach, so lets put him in there with another big guy..."
Gus is unbelievably hyped, and i have been quite impressed by his victory against Shogun and his gradual steps up in competition. Thats because i live in the real world. In the UFC world, he was meant to smash Shogun and claim his rightful place as the next big thing. Rua is a very tough fighter, so any win is great, but he got caught quite a bit and is still a tad pole in these waters. Jones is something else and i see Jones winning this one standing or on the ground. Il give Gus some credit for a great chin and his general evolution as a fighter, but hes getting a 7 and so is this fight.
Fight rating 7
Danger rating 7
Seen this one already. Lyoto may have some tricks up his sleeve, but unless he has a time machine and a magic wand, he is gonna be 35 and eating canvass again imho.
Fight Rating 7
Danger rating 7.1 (just because its lyoto)
Anderson v Weidman
The big one in so many ways. Never has a fight that has occupied so much print, been accused of being small.
Weidman has the perfect tools to stomp the spider, all apart from the striking pedigree, which, no one currently at MW has in its MMA translation. Weidman is no mug on the feet either, but his striking in this fight is likely to be there to keep him conscious while he works on the takedown and destroy plan. There is an outside chance of this being a Cain v JDS 2 style fight, but i dont really see it being the main one. Standing with Anderson is not suicide, but letting him pace you and open up on you often is. Anderson often uses the first few minutes to guage and then destroys people. Weve all seen it, and so has Chris. Likewise, Anderson will be under no illusions over what Weidman represents. He is Sonnen with subs and power. He is a young game dog fighting a master who is 10 years his senior.
One of the critical misapprehensions of this fight is that Weidmans relative inexperience is a big impediment. Its obviously not ideal to be fighting an all time great with an injury lay off and a handful of elite fights, but this also works the other way. Anderson has had precious little time to guage Weidman for weaknesses. From Andersons perspective, however he fronts, Weidman is a very dangerous opponent.
I rate Anderson, but he is over hyped to me. I have Weidman in this one by style match up and youth. I have him to finish on the floor. Andersons division hasnt always been the most competitive, and id take Chris over a lot of Andersons opponents. Anderson is known for stopping people in the first round after spooking the shit out of them and pacing them. Weidman isnt likely to be hanging around waiting, and as long as hes conscious, he has the strength and technique to bully Anderson. The critical factor is the style match up though. The three factors that go against are Weidmans mentality under pressure, the step up in competition and cardio and the fact anderson is anderson and is likely to pull a bicycle kick finish out of his arse with 10 seconds left in the last round just to laugh at us all.
Fight rating: 9.5 (If you are a fan of MMA, you will be watching through someones window, if you have to. If you are not, then you simply arent a fan of MMA)
Danger rating: 10
GSP v Hendricks
Tough match up for GSP. A guy with all the tools to beat him. He has the wrestling to keep it standing and genuine mini hendo power to finish the fight at any given time.
The flip side- GSP will gameplan and video rape the hell out of him. Healthy GSP can turn a fight like this into what happened to Koscheck. One move repeated ad infinitum. Anderson finishes people by finding their weakness. GSP just spams them to 5 round UDs and a new path of facial issues and long term injury. GSP is absolutely capable of making Hendricks another victim, and nothing ive seen from the Story fight to the Condit fight convinces me any different. The only issue is, Hendricks also has the power to put GSP into a history book and GSP is diminshed by fight years and injury. If Hendricks catches GSP once, like Condit did and Diaz did, then it could well be over before sherdog has time to crash.
GSP on his game, wont let that happen though.
Fight rating: 8.5 (Fight itself will be anywhere between 2 and 10. Most likely a 4 as GSP makes him look unworthy to be in the same cage.)
Danger rating: 8.5
Bendo v Maynard/Grant
Difficult one to call as i dont know who wins the Maynard/Grant fight. At the moment i have Bendo as one of the best out there at what he does. Maynard against anyone not named Frankie, seems to have the tools to neutralise people and UD them. The thing is, although Bendo doesnt finish fights, he is a very good wrestler in his own right, and he aint going out like that. His subs and his stand up is better than Maynards offence over 5 rounds imho. As for Grant, i think hed be in over his head.
Fight rating: 6 for both
Danger rating: 6.5
Aldo v Pettis
Total nuclear meltdown of a fight on so many levels. Pettis hasnt just looked good on the feet. He stopped Cerrone and Joe Lauzon in under a round. His ground game is slick and sick and he is that man at LW right now.
His one weakness, is potentially getting Guida'd, but he isnt fighting a LW wrestle pest. He is one divison below, fighting the one guy outside of Silva that no one outside of a mental patient or an all time great would ever even consider going toe to toe with. Jose Aldo. Well thats the hype. The reality is quite a few people have gone toe to toe with Aldo and found their way to the final bell recently. As the competition has stepped up, the finishes have largely finished. He doesnt usually lose on the feet though. Points or highlight real, he owns that realm at FW. Only hes up against Showtime, and one of the greatest highlight reels in yt history. A guy who is begging anyone to be stupid enough to stand with him, and who just capped two elite veterans at LW in less time than it takes to make toast.
Fight rating: 9 on hype and potentially a 10 on delivery. Whether its cautious or careless, someones gotta win the stand up battle and even the ground battle will be sick.
Danger rating: 9. Anderson always wanted to fight his clone. Whilst this aint that, it might as well be.
DJ v John Moraga
Make shift fight in a shallow division, in which the champ has already beaten the main challengers.
Fight rating: 7 (i dont mind the constant speed and technique you see in these things. its like "crouching tiger" in a cage)
Danger rating: 6 (i dont see it. MM has the tools to take it down if it gets hairy and has already beaten better versions of this guy)
Ronda Rousey v Cat Zingano
The Liz Carmouche fight was closer than it should have been. Ronda is learning what happens when you put a massive target on your back with your mouth. You almost singlehandedly justify a UFC womens division. On the other hand, every one relevant on the planet is gunning for you, the same way you were gunning for gold. Cats win again a very decent wrestler in Tate, was a good fight and a good win. Unfortunately it doesnt do much to convince me that she will KTFO ronda, before she gets thrown on her ass and arm barred. Rondas ground and pound will also develop and she may start running other subs on people who concentrate their defences in one place. What isnt about to happen is someone stopping an Olympic bronze medalist judo throw, without some very good tdd and serious ktfo power or wrestling. Cat does KO people and she also have a decent BJJ pedigree. But i dont see it this time. In the mens game judo has been largely negated over the years, outside of a few select sambo and judokas.
But this isnt the mens game. This is Ronda getting a clinch at some point and throwing Cat on her ass. From there, the BJJ battle is interesting, but only for as long as it takes for Ronda to slip on the arm bar. Sarah Kaufman is a brown belt in BJJ. Still got subbed. Im picking Rickson Ronda by arm bar until i see different or shes up against a black belt.
Fight rating: 8
Danger rating: 7