Hope your mid-week is going well. I decided I would try to put together a semi-regular series on the match-making I would like to see done in the UFC. This match-making may be based on the results of an upcoming fight, it may be based on two fighters in limbo, or it may just be some craziness I feel like writing down.
I will also look at the clash of styles between the two potential candidates to see how I feel they match-up with one another.
So, this week, we'll look at a few different fights I think make sense in the Light-heavyweight division of the UFC.
We all know that the 205lbs division is the most competitive in the UFC? Don't believe me? Is 7 different champs in 4 years enough proof? Thought so. That being said, I think we've all seen some really great match-ups go by the wayside for a variety of reasons.
I, amongst many others, was really excited about "Bones" Jones versus Rashad Evans, but due to a "hand injury" that magically healed in a matter of hours, that fight was cancelled. I was also looking forward to Lil' Nog versus Rich Franklin, as I believe it pitted an excellent boxer/bjj specialist against a very good all-rounder in Franklin.
However, those matches never happened. As we know, there is speculation that Lil Nog will face Tito Ortiz in December. Taking that into consideration, here are 2 matchups I would like to see:
Phil Davis has been rumoured for a while to be facing Lyoto Machida. That would be a great fight, IMO. However, it's a lose-lose situation. If Machida loses, the UFC loses a contender. If Davis loses, he goes the way of Ryan Bader (ok, that might be dramatic, but you know what I mean).
I would choose to pit Davis against Soszynski. Why? Well, because Krzystof has a good record in the organization, and because he is a good striker with submission skills. This would match up well against Davis' evolving striking and wrestling. The Polish Experiment is especially good with the kimura, which would be a threat to Davis, should he choose to take his opponent down one too many times.
Phil would initially keep distance with some of the kicks and muay thai we saw him use against Lil Nog, but would need to improve his boxing defence, as Soszynski has competent boxing and good power.
I would see Davis taking this fight via Unanimous decision, after a good blend of striking and takedowns. It would be competitive though, as The Polish Experiment uses his crisp boxing to tag Mr Wonderful a few times, prompting the takedowns.
Lyoto Machida vs Rich Franklin
Ok, some of you will complain that this is a gimme fight for Machida, and you may be right. But I look at this a bit differently. What Lyoto did to Randy Couture was absolutely incredible. That being said, Randy was never going to win any boxing or muay thai championships. We know Lyoto has great TDD, but what he needs is to fight a competent striker who will give him a bit of a challenge on the feet.
As for Rich, fighting a top contender and winning means that you're still relevant at 205. Rich is a well-rounded mixed martial artist who has good stand-up, a good chin, and can give people fits off his back. Many of you will say, "Judo, your unbridled love of Machida is why you are putting this matchup together". That is not true. I would put this matchup together because it pits 2 very good draws against each other, leading to good ppv numbers. I also think it would be, at worst a technical and tactical battle, and at best a brilliant KO or submission.
Rich is not the fastest striker, but he does have good timing and head movement. He is not as strong at 205 against his opponents as he is at 185, but he does have a good chin and endless cardio. Rich could win by faking takedown attempts and feinting kicks to close down the distance and using straight punches to try and out-point Machida.
Lyoto is much faster than Rich, and has better accuracy. He can use his counterstriking to make Rich uncomfortable and really confuse Rich by mixing in takedowns. However, the real key for Lyoto would be his kicks and clinch. He can out-muscle Rich in the clinch, and land knee/trip combinations.
I see a decision/KO victory for Machida.
So there we have it Maniacs. If you were Joe Silva, what would you do?