A couple of hard charging featherweights hope to open the main card with the token foot fist way this May 16, 2015 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, Philippines.
The Match Up
Featherweight Mark Eddiva +325 vs. Levan Makashvili -400
3 Things You Should Know
1. Eddiva is a interesting youngish fighter who deserves a better fate from the oddsmakers, but will suffer a fitting fate nonetheless.
Eddiva would be a really good fighter 5 years ago. He would have been dynamite when the WEC was around. I think. But here he is, student interested in secondary education by day, UFC fighter by night. I don't know that there's much to say about Eddiva. He debuted to little in the way of interest, but then redeemed himself in defeat against Kevin Souza in a very entertaining affair.
2. Levan Makashvilli is also an interesting youngish fighter, but who doesn't deserve the fate from the oddsmakers he has, yet will experience a fitting fate nonetheless.
The man they call "the hornet" fights out of Mutant MMA, and enters with a small amount of hype. Obscure reference alert, but he's a little like Yusup Saadulaev in that the praise is feint, but pronounced, yet proportional. As in, there's a reason to be excited, but only insofar as he can be an interesting fighter to watch; not necessarily one to glow. The 26 year old from Oceanside, New York (Rangers or Lightning? Does it matter when either Chicago or Anaheim will just eat the leftovers?*) has spent most of his time in Cage Fury, where he's avenged his only loss on his resume.
3. This should be fun.
While the betting line seems a bit outlandish, it won't be to anyone who has followed Levan's very brief career. It may seem like Makashvilli hasn't done enough to suspect he'll walk away in victory, uncontested, but that's because casual fans don't know just how good his opponents have been. Alexandre Bezerra, Scott Heckman, and Jordan Stiner are all quality fighters with little in the way of name value.
One of the reasons why he's the favorite is because of what he can do on the feet. While his output can leave a lot to be desired, that can change as we've seen with fighters like Robert Whittaker. Once he puts together combinations, Levan is downright professional. He keeps a very sturdy, adamantium like base when he's throwing and he does a good job of tracking his opponent when they're hurt. From a technical perspective, he's way ahead of the curve. It's just hard to notice when he's either a) not doing anything or b) caring little for set up and just scoring takedowns.
The second part is fine. His wrestling is actually more than adequate, and his athleticism aids that efficiency. Again the questions surrounding Levan come down to his demeanor. For all of his acumen, there are times where it doesn't seem like he's fighting to his potential.
Eddiva, on the other hand, cannot afford to mask his potential. Eddiva is good on the feet. It's possible he can find some early success against Makashvilli by being more active. With his confidence (and he is), he'll get more opportunities than the oddsmakers suspect, but Makashvilli will eventually find his openings on the feet, and if not, will be content to work on the ground where he doesn't mind a top control grind.
Levan Makashvilli by TKO, round 3.
*I had to root for Ovechkin. It would have been so sweet to hear the so called "experts" finally admit that hey, maybe Ovechkin is more than a Russian stereotype of hockey demeanor. Having said that, goodbye Brooks Orpik.