This weekend we saw a newly crowned Heavyweight champion. Francis N’Gannou finished Stipe Miocic in his usual frightening fashion. Below, I will offer matchups that i would like to see for all of the main card winners.
Francis N’Gannou vs Jon Jones
This is the fight to make. Jones seems to be interested, but has made continued gestures that he needs to be paid for his new Heavyweight endeavours. Personally, I don’t think that this is an obscene request, whilst Jones has not been a PPV draw when you compare him to McGregor, GSP, Rousey, he is still one of the most dominant champions of all time. The fight with Francis is the most intriguing because you have the magician, the ultimate tactician and the ultimate technician in Jones, vs MMA’s answer to Mike Tyson. N’Gannou holds the allure of a killshot with anything he lands, at any time.
Vicente Luque vs Khamzat Chimaev
This has fun written all over it, double sided and laminated fun. Whilst this might not be the smoothest return fight for Khamzat from his bout with COVID and Luque might want to look upwards in the rankings after his KO win over Tyron Woodley. We have been looking for somebody to test Khamzat in the realms that he has shown dominance. Tyron was not able to get his grappling going, and actually ended up being countered quite easily and put against the fence. Khamzat, when not using his grappling has been able to blow his opponents out of the water with his striking. Luque has never been finished to strikes. Borz has finished everyone he has fought.
Sean O’Malley vs Nathaniel Wood
O’Malley put in a solid performance against Thomas Almeida on Saturday. Unfortunately the Almeida we saw, was not the same Almeida who tore through 135’ers for breakfast en-route to his clash with Cody Garbrandt. Instead, it was an Almeida who looked reluctant to throw. Unable to get his rhythm and timing set. Ultimately being dropped twice, and finished on the second time of asking. O’Malley, in portions looked spectacular. To his credit, he can only beat whoever is in front of him, but it still feels like there are holes in his game that he will need to round out. Nathaniel Wood is coming off the back of a razor close fight with Casey Kenney. The judges scored it the way of Kenney, but it was close. Both men gave a great account of themselves. I like the match-up because both men are very proficient strikers, both hit hard, but Nathaniel is willing to go through the fire abit more, willing to take shots to land, willing to press into his opponents in order to damage them.
That is a test that O’Malley needs.
Miranda Maverick vs Antonina Shevchenko
Miranda Maverick looks every bit the next contender at 135lb. Her fight with Gillian Robertson was a good showing. She showed superior striking, great takedowns, and great defensive grappling when she found herself on the bottom. Antonina Shevchenko, sister to Champion Valentina will offer a new look for Miranda in the striking realm. A wealth of Muay Thai experience, a long frame and some solid foot work will ask qeustions on the feet of Maverick that she has yet to be asked. Does she find her way to the grappling? Can she deal with that frame on the feet? Its a good fight to allow Maverick to prove her skillset.
Jamie Mullarkey vs David Teymur
This one is just another bag of fun. Mullarkey has been handed 3 very tough fights for his initial run in the UFC. Brad Riddell, Fares Ziam and then Kharma Worthy is no joke. coming up short to both Riddell and Ziam he was potentially looking at his marching orders should he have lost to Worthy. Instead he lands one of the cleanest left hooks you’re going to see in a long while. The shot connected perfectly to the point of the chin, and Worthy was out. David Teymur is a significant step-up in competition for Mullarkey, dont get me wrong. However Mullarkey is tough, he is game, he is willing and David Teymur is all of those things aswell.
This isnt the smartest match making, but if youre looking for a fun fight, this would be your bet.