Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight strongmen Misha Cirkunov and Patrick Cummins will duel this Saturday (Oct. 27, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 138 inside Avenir Centre in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
Cirkunov was supposed to be the newest 205-pound contender, a new face in a division that desperately needed one. He scored four straight finishes to begin his UFC career, but steps up in competition against Volkan Oezdemir and Glover Teixeira resulted in a pair of quick knockout losses against the Canadian. On the other hand, Cummins’ career has been consistent in the Octagon. Against Top 10 (or so) competition, the wrestlers is way too hittable and is quickly flattened. Opposite lesser foes, Cummins is routinely tough enough to eat heavy blows and keep the takedowns coming en route to victory.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Nikita Krylov (UFC 206), Ion Cutelaba (UFC Fight Night 89), Alex Nicholson (UFC Fight Night 82)
Key Losses: Volkan Oezdemir (UFC Fight Night 109), Glover Teixeira (UFC on FOX 26)
Keys to Victory: I still have somewhat high hopes for Canada’s premiere Light Heavyweight. Cirkunov’s kickboxing is surprisingly technical and powerful for a top control fighter, and speaking of, his top game is absolutely brutal.
When Cirkunov’s game is clicking, he’s a violent man who transitions into the shot very well.
In this match up, though, there’s no reason to even think about wrestling. Cummins is a decorated wrestler, and while his wrestling hasn’t quite translated fully to MMA, that doesn’t mean he cannot reverse a shot and make Cirkunov’s life miserable from the bottom.
On his feet, Cirkunov is dangerous. The Southpaw has a fast cross and powerful left kick behind it. He’s simply far beyond Cummins in that realm, and he should have the grappling skill to keep this standing. If Cirkunov commits to striking, this fight shouldn’t last all that long.
Key Wins: Jan Blachowicz (UFC 210), Gian Villante (UFC on FOX 25), Rafael Cavalcante (UFC 190), Antonio Carlos Junior (UFC Fight Night 58)
Key Losses: Daniel Cormier (UFC 170), Glover Teixeira (UFC on FOX 26), Corey Anderson (UFC Fight Night 128), Ovince St. Preux (UFC on FOX 15)
Keys to Victory: Cummins has the wrestling background to be an elite fighter, but the problem is that he didn’t start his MMA career until he was already 30. As such, his kickboxing has developed slowly, but the more problematic issue is that Cummins is unable to set up his takedowns particularly well.
Instead, he has to force the shots, which usually doesn’t work until his opponent is tired. How does Cummins tire his opponent? Generally by letting them tee off on his face.
No one can question his grit.
Since Cummins generally has the same approach every fight, the question largely becomes how well will it work opposite Cirkunov? On paper, not well, but Cummins does have a couple things going for him. For one, Cirkunov hits hard, sure, but he’s not a knockout artist the likes of Teixeira or “OSP,” someone with a history of one-shot kills.
Cummins might just survive the first round. If he does, he has a fair chance to turn this into an extended wrestling match along the fence, and Cirkunov did very poorly from his back opposite Teixeira last time out. There’s a path to victory for Cummins, though it is a painful one.
Bottom Line: Cirkunov really needs to bounce back here.
Light Heavyweight has been short on contenders for years now, and there’s still a chance that Cirkunov can add his name to that list. He has all the skills to do so, although it seems like Cirkunov needs to work on his defense. Still, at 31 years of age, the Canadian athlete should be in his prime and return from the drawing board stronger than ever.
Should he fall to Cummins, all hopes of a title run evaporate instantly.
As for “Durkin,” this is the type of fight he typically loses, leaving him trapped in that 10-15 range and outside the title mix. Until he develops better head movement or — at the very least — some kind of real threat behind his strikes, that isn’t going to change no matter how weak the division grows. Cirkunov is not the worst match up of Cummins’ career, so this fight does serve as an opportunity to hopefully showcase improvement.
At UFC Fight Night 138, Misha Cirkunov and Patrick Cummins will go to war. Which man will remain standing when the dust settles?