Welcome to the first edition of grind my gears. Out of all the UFC hats there are, being the promoter hat is by far my favourite and certainly one of the most important aspects in creating a star/marketable fighter.
There is no beating around it, when it comes to creating a star the UFC have accomplished very little, they’ve relied heavily on the brand selling the fights rather than the fighters. That’s worked for them fairly well up to this point but with the international push in 2014 there going to need to let the fighters shine to sell all these cards not just the letters U-F-C.
I don’t want this to serve as some negative hating on the UFC post/series. I genuinely love this sport and would continue to watch regardless of star power, however, I also want to see it reach a new high and matchmaking is certainly the most important phase in any combat sport.
Every event there is typically one bout that has me scratching my head thinking "huh?" and/or "WHY?!" I will break down why I dislike the matchup and potentially create a different fight for each fighter.Bout that grinds my gears: Bagautinov vs. Lineker
Lets get the obvious point out the way, Lineker has decided to create his own weight class over his last 2 encounters and while he’s been a violent beast at Linekerweight it’s not gonna win him any title in the UFC. So why the UFC decided to throw him in there with another bright contender in Bagautinov is anybody’s guess. What happens if Lineker comes in over 126 and smashes Bagautinov? Congratulations, you’ve killed a contender whilst Lineker will very likely find himself cut or forced to move to BW cuz they don’t want to create a LinekerWeight Title.
Next point, and this always drives me nuts about UFC matchmaking is the need to pair winners/winners and losers/losers, and this bout is no different. Both these fellas are 1 fight away from a Flyweight title bout, Why do we need to kill either of the best win streaks at Flyweight unless it’s for the strap?! Lineker has 4 wins in a row with 3 finishes, Bagautinov is riding a stellar 10 fight win streak that would certainly be handy going into a countdown show.The Fix:
After missing weight twice, placing Lineker into what looks like a #1 contender fight is an absurd risk in a very thin division. At 24 there is a very distinct possibility his body has outgrown Flyweight and will be forced to make the move up. In what I can only assume is his last shot at making the Flyweight limit he should be getting a mid-level fighter to prove he can, a Darren Uyenoyama of sorts, there is no reason to place him anywhere else until you can figure out what division he’s going to be at.Bagautinov:
I was pleasantly surprised to see 2 Flyweight prospects on a PPV Main Card and Bagautinov/Elliot didn’t disappoint. To further build on his momentum I think a bout with the plummeting Jussier Da Silva would’ve served well as to further develop a budding European contender in the "puncher king".
Both are bright, young prospects in a division in dire need of new contenders, bringing one down for the sake of filling the #4 slot on your pay per view is short sighted and really grinds my gears.