All the best, most interesting, and absolutely coolest fights the UFC has to book following last weekend’s event in London, England.
UFC London is in the books and overall it was a pretty decent card. The undercard was marred a bit by a long run of decisions (and punctuated by a Diakiese highlight), but the main card turned in some decent, meaningful highlights. Brad Pickett ended his career on an unfortunate note, but Gunnar Nelson and Jimi Manuwa both more firmly established themselves as top flight talents in their respective divisions with the potential to make real waves in 2017 if they can get the right fights.
Which is where I come in, to try and figure out just what those “right” fights are. I’ll be using the classic Silva/Shelby method of booking winners against winners, losers against losers, and similarly tenured talent against one another. If you’d like to take your own swing at it start a comment below with “You know I like chicken. I love Popeyes chicken, I can’t even deny it. I want to represent Popeyes chicken.” I’ll pick one winner to join me next time. This week it’s BE commentor OtterBerry:
Hello fellow BloodyElbowers,
My name is Dom, and I am the chosen one for this week’s fan fight picks. If you come across my comments on other articles, just ignore me- I am a moron and it shows regularly in my posts. I free-lance write for multiple Vermont publications, on topics including politics, sports, and local issues. I own/operate a small organic berry farm, and I am mid-process of applying for my alcohol permit to be able to sell my wine and cider. So if you need some booze- give me a ring. Find me on Twitter @Domye_West
Dom – Wow, what a left hand! Jimi called out the winner of DC-Rumble, and I wouldn’t mind seeing that fight as long as the DC-Rumble winner wants a quick turnaround-otherwise that fight will go to Jones. Rumble-Manuwa would be a bang-fest. But I have a feeling that the DC-Rumble winner will wait for Bones. Let Manuwa get another scalp before giving him a title shot- I would match Manuwa against Shogun (I gagged typing that).
Zane – That Shogun/Manuwa fight really is just sitting right there, isn’t it. Shogun’s win streak and his spot as a top 5 ranked LHW for the promotion essentially mean that it almost has to happen. But, I’m arguing for Shogun vs. the Oezdemir/Cirkunov winner, and I’m assuming that Jones gets the next title shot. If DC loses to Johnson then the UFC should book DC vs. Manuwa. Glover Teixeira beats Alexander Gustafsson, then the UFC should book Manuwa vs. Teixeira. If Neither of those things happen, then Manuwa vs. Shogun is the fight to book. But, lets shoot for DC off a loss or Teixeira off a win.
Dom – Anderson wasn’t able to get a takedown against Manuwa, and that sealed his fate. I would love to see him matched up with the loser of Cirkunov-Oezdemir, but they are both top prospects so the UFC may not want to throw them in with Anderson. Let’s see if Anderson can truly Beast 25/8, and match him against Latifi who is also coming off a devastating KO loss.
Zane – That Latifi vs. Anderson matchup makes too much sense. Especially now that the UFC has forever robbed us of Latifi vs. Kry-god. Assuming that Anderson wants to come back quickly and Latifi is ready to go, get that fight booked for the upcoming Stockholm card.
Dom – Hard to believe that Maia dominated Nelson grappling, but it just shows how amazing Maia is. Nelson deserves a big name after taking a step back and completely dominating Jouban. Stephen Thompson needs a step down in competition, and a matchup versus Nelson would be an interesting karate battle. If the UFC doesn’t want to match a winner versus a loser, book Nelson against Neil Magny. But my choice would be Wonderboy.
Zane – There’s no denying that Nelson vs. Wonderboy has a spark to it. And, given how lackluster Wonderboy’s last two fights were, the UFC may not be looking to give him a more marquee name. Still, I’d like to see Nelson actually beat an established ranked welterweight before putting him in the kind of bout that would mean title contention. So, why not a fight with Dong Hyun Kim? It’d be a really favorable matchup for Nelson that would make pushing him into title contention that much easier.
Dom – Jouban getting submitted by Nelson is nothing for which he should be ashamed. A fight against Matt Brown would be fantastic, as Jouban showed he can beat a tough-as-nails pressure fighter when he beat Mike Perry. Brown might need some more time after his 3rd straight loss (all finishes), so the fight to book is Jouban versus the loser of Patrick Cote– Thiago Alves.
Zane – At this point, Alan Jouban is an action fighter with an action fighter’s fun and flaws. And that means the necessity to put him in action fights that maximize the fun is high. To that end, fights with Tim Means or Nordine Taleb both seem like excellent ideas. I’d pick the Means fight as it seems more sure to be an all action brawl. Alan Jouban vs. Tim Means.
Dom – Allen is a top-notch prospect, and I favor taking him along slowly. If the UFC wants to give him a ranked opponent, I would choose a fight against Brian Ortega, who is somehow ranked 10th. All I want to see are more scrambles, so I would choose Godofredo Pepey for a prospect versus crazyman matchup.
Zane – The next step for Allen is a little shaky at the moment. A lot of the division ahead of him is either booked, coming off a loss, or not really in a great position to take fights. Pepey just fractured his orbital (a recurring injury) which really feels like it makes booking him difficult. Andre Fili is in prolonged contract negotiations, and Dooho Choi is coming off a loss. He could face Ryan Hall, but my choice would be Rick Glenn. Glenn is new to the UFC, but is a long time vet who just pulled off a solid win over Phillipe Nover. Glenn vs. Allen could be crazy fun.
Dom – I doubt Duffy will stay with the UFC, so I guess throw him in Bellator versus Pitbull Freire. If Duffy stays in the UFC, match him up against the winner between Bobby Green– Rashid Magomedov, or Paul Felder. I want a Duffy-Felder fight.
Zane – I have a little more hope that Duffy sticks around in the UFC after he said he’d be open to negotiate with the promotion on the heels of his latest win. Hopefully being utterly dominant gets him a little better footing to negotiate and will keep him from walking out the door. Assuming that deal gets done, I like the idea of Joe Duffy vs. Evan Dunham. Dunham is a clingy wrestler whose boxing has improved a lot, but he’s not near the athlete Duffy is. It’d be a great test to see if Duffy can dive back into the top 15 after his Poirier loss. Joe Duffy vs. Evan Dunham, make it happen UFC.
Dom – This one is easy- match the last 2 fighters who beat Omielanczuk against each other – Stefan Struve. Struve may not want to take another lesser-known fight, so a Curtis Blaydes fight makes sense-as long as Blaydes isn’t suspended for years, or spending time in rehab after smoking the devil’s lettuce. But the first choice should be Struve.
Zane – I like the Struve fight, especially since Johnson isn’t the most dangerous puncher out there (despite having some power). But, Struve is also battling an injury at the moment and doesn’t sound like he’ll be ready to go again too soon. That being the case, how about a fight with Oleksiy Oliynyk. Oliynyk is coming off a win, and would present a unique danger to Johnson’s wall-n-maul wrestling, with his willingness to hook up standing chokes and go for sacrifice throws. Oliynyk vs. Johnson would be a solid bout.
Dom – Edwards was extremely impressive in his win over Vincente Luque. If the UFC wants to test his grappling, a fight versus Colby Covington would be interesting (as interesting as a Covington fight can be at least). I do not want to test his grappling that much yet though, so I would match Edwards with another recent winner, Cowboy Oliveira. Cowboy showed off his grappling versus the Dirty Bird, but is not a massive wrestling threat, so the fans should see a fun striking battle.
Zane – Of all the fights that make sense for Edwards right now, Oliveira may be the most exciting. A bout with Santiago Ponzinibbio also makes sense. Of course, the UFC may book Ponzinibbio against Oliveira, as Ponz is ranked and Oliveira has built a little more interest around himself. If that happened, I’d be fine seeing Edwards vs. Covington or Moraes. I’ll push for Edwards vs. Oliveira first, but he’s got a few options that would be solid right now.
Dom – I would love to throw him in a fun striking war with someone like Felder, but I would rather build him along at a more measured pace. A fight versus well-rounded Nick Hein is a great matchup for a Europe card.
Zane – Maybe it’s just the soft spot I have for Nick Hein, but I feel like that’d be a little too favorable a matchup for Diakiese. Hein packs a punch, but is a little too overly hesitant to deal with Diakiese’s creativity. Instead, I’d go with Alan Patrick. Patrick is big, rangy, tough, and fights like a wild-man with very little reliance on structure. It should be the right kind of pressure to force Diakiese to work hard, while also giving him lots of openings to attack. A good next step that would also be more of an action fight. Marc Diakiese vs. Alan Patrick.
OTHER BOUTS: Vera vs. Morales, Amirkhani vs. Bektic, Madadi vs. Martins, Barroso vs. Fortuna, Stewart vs. Janes, Omielanczuk vs. Harris, Luque vs. W. Alves, Packalen vs. Powell, Scott vs. Miranda, Askham vs. Guimaraes, Lansberg vs. Aldana/Chookagian winner, Pudilova vs. vs. Mazany