Friday, January 19, 2018

The 10 Can't Miss Fights This Weekend

Fight fans, rejoice! We have a great weekend of combat sports action this weekend as Bellator is putting on a feature card, the UFC is putting up a pay per view with two title fights, and there is an Iowa/Ohio State wrestling meet, what more could you want? I am going to go through the top ten contests that you don't want to miss this weekend.

10. NCAA Wrestling - Sam Stoll vs. Kyle Snyder
This isn't going to necessarily be a good match. I mean, I love Sam Stoll, but Kyle Snyder isn't just the best heavyweight in the NCAA, he's got a pretty damn strong case that he's the best wrestler, at any weight, in the world. So even if this isn't going to be competitive, take advantage of being able to see Kyle Snyder wrestle. He's on his way to possibly becoming the greatest American wrestler ever. That's not hyperbole, even if he has a little ways to go; nobody has done what Snyder has accomplished at just 22 years old. Treat yourself and check him out this weekend.

9. Bellator - Michael Chandler vs. Goiti Yamauchi
This match probably isn't going to be a whole lot more competitive than the one above, but Michael Chandler is somebody you don't want to miss. Since he has never fought in the UFC, he isn't a name brand lightweight, but he can compete with the best, and he does it in a fast-paced, extremely entertaining way. His two fights against former UFC Champion, Eddie Alvarez, are some of the best of all time. He's attempting to bounce back from a weird upset loss to Brett Primus where he took a low kick and lost feeling in his foot, and he'll do so against Goiti Yamauchi. This doesn't appear to be a great matchup for Yamauchi as he is a submission specialist, and considering Chandler's background as a wrestler, I don't know how he's going to get this match to the ground. This appears to be a showcase fight for Chandler, so sit back and enjoy the show.

8. Bellator - Aaron Pico vs. Shane "The War Rhino" Kruchten
Aaron Pico is the greatest mixed martial arts prospect in history. He is an elite level freestyle wrestler who has trained in striking since he was a small child. He's built to have no weaknesses, and yet, he got upset in his very first fight against a much more experienced pro. He bounced back in his second, and I think he continues to rise against Kruchten. The War Rhino is a solid all-around fighter, but that just means that Pico is likely better in every way. Pico should hammer him, and do it fairly quickly, but it's still fun to see a young prodigy master his craft.

7. NCAA Wrestling - Michael Kemerer vs. Micah Jordan
These two will battle it out at 157. Kemerer is currently ranked second and Jordan is sixth. I think those rankings hold, but it will be good to see Kemerer get some competition as he has streamrolled just about everybody but Josh Shields in the Midlands Finals. Kemerer has certainly improved this year, so if he puts up big points in this match, it might be a sign that he has closed the gap between himself and #1 ranked, Jason Nolf.

6. Bellator - Rory MacDonald vs. Douglas Lima
This is just a good Welterweight fight for the Bellator title. Douglas Lima is another underrated Bellator fighter, as he has only lost twice in the last eight years. Once was to Andrey Koreshkov, a loss he avenged by knocking him out in their next fight, and once to Ben Askren who just retired lat month with an undefeated record. Rory MacDonald had a different path as he spent the majority of his career in the UFC, including a win over current champion, Tyron Woodley. After a long layoff, he was dominant in his first fight in Bellator where he overwhelmed Paul Daley. This will be an interesting fight to see if Lima is truly a great welterweight, or if MacDonald is going to steamroll everything in his path at Bellator.

5. Bellator - Chael Sonnen vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
Okay, so I know this fight is not nearly as good as the one above it, but I'm a sucker for nostalgia, and even if it can't bring skill, at least it will have plenty of nostalgia. Neither guy has had a quality win in years. At best, they have beaten some has beens, which is good, because that means either man can get the win here. It will honestly come down to who gives slightly more of a shit at this point in their career. Chael Sonnen at least seemed mildly motivated in his win over Wanderlei Silva, and that should be enough to get the win. I could definitely see Rampage coming to the weigh in at 250 pounds since this is the first fight in Bellator's Heavyweight Tournament. It won't be pretty, but I'll definitely be watching.

4. NCAA Wrestling - Pat Downey III vs. Myles Martin
First, the Hawkeyes decided to #FreeTheLee; now it is time to #FreeTheThree. This one is still speculative as everybody seems to think Downey will wrestle for Iowa, but Tom Brands said he wasn't even supposed to talk about Downey yet. If he does, he instantly becomes one of the top contenders at 184, so I really hope that he is able to make his debut this weekend. Downey is currently at his third D-I school so his college experience hasn't been the smoothest thing ever, but when he does wrestle, it's usually pretty damn good. Martin has been fantastic this season (ranked second at 184), but he has a history of running hot and cold, and if he's cold for this match, Downey can definitely pull off the huge win, even with him not competing since the US Freestyle trials this past summer. Free The Three.

3. UFC - Daniel Cormier vs. Volkan Oezdemir
Oezdemir brings in a 15-1 recored to take on the champion, but I am just not sold on this guy as a contender. He has only had three fights in the UFC. One was a split decision against Ovince St. Preux, followed by two knockouts against Misha Cirkunov and Jimi Manuwa. OSP is now down at 185 since he never had a really impressive win at 205; Cirkunov looks great but could get knocked out by a feather, and yeah, I'll admit it, the Manuwa knockout was impressive. But Cormier seems to be a nightmare for Oezdemir. Oezdemir's one loss was to Kelly Anundson, who was a squat light heavyweight who was able to take him down and submit him. To call Anundson a poor man's Daniel Cormier may be the greatest compliment Anundson has ever received. He is a very, very...very poor man's Daniel Cormier. I think Cormier continually takes him down and just beats on Oezdemir as he pleases.

2. UFC - Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou
It's too massive heavyweights that throw bombs. Every one of Ngannou's finishes have been by stoppage, and Miocic has knocked out his last five opponents. I have no idea what's going to happen as both dudes have looked pretty damn unstoppable, but I am guessing that one of them is going to be stopped very violently.

1. NCAA Wrestling - Spencer Lee vs. Nathan Tomasello
I know what you're thinking, "Durr, this is stupid NCAA wrestling, how could you say this is a better fight than a heavyweight title fight where both guys have knockout power, durr." I know that folkstyle wrestling is not the most popular sport in the USA...yet, but just trust me on this. Tomasello just returned this month, and he put a major decision on a top-5 guy in one of his first matches back. Spencer Lee is one of the best wrestling prospects ever, and he tech falled a top-10 guy less than a month ago. Both of these guys are going to bring it, and I know I'm an extreme homer, but Spencer Lee has the tools to win this match. He has already shown that he is hell on top of guys, and he's pretty damn good on his feet as well. Tomasello has already won a National Title, and that's why he's the favorite to do it again. No matter who comes out on top, this probably won't be the last time these two see each other this season. I can't wait.

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