It’s been an interesting week in the world of MMA, what with a recent event in Germany, what to do with the winners / losers as well as a few potential match-ups already being rumored.
During Tuesday’s Fightful Podcast, host Sean Ross Sapp and I discussed who should be next for Josh Barnett. In a division that can see the tide change in what seems like every bout, “The War Master” finds himself in a somewhat limited role.
Does he have it in him to make a run to the title? Absolutely, and the discussion focused on a potential bout vs. former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. Defeat Cain, and the game seriously changes for Barnett. It would likely put him within one more victory away from a title shot, vs. no doubt, someone who he would likely have to rematch.
During the co-main event last Saturday, we saw Alexander Gustaffson, the #4 man in the light-heavyweight division (according to my math), go 15 mins vs. Jan Blancowicz. Many, including yours truly, forecasted he would dispose of the Polish 205 lber in quick fashion.
Instead, “The Mauler” appeared to use the three rounds to sharpen some (new) techniques in his growing arsenal. We saw takedowns. We saw hip movement while he was in guard, always working to square up with his opponent to ensure he wouldn’t get caught in any type of submission … at the very least, minimizing risk at all times.
He is in a tough spot right now … he’s lost to the top three guys in the division; Champ Daniel Cormier, former champ Jon Jones and #1 contender Anthony Johnson. So while there was talk that he should face a guy like Glover Teixeira next, I’d like to say what comes of the Jon Jones situation. And if “Bones” is cleared to fight anytime soon, I don’t agree with him getting an immediate title shot. How about “a tune up fight” with Gustaffson? A rematch the whole MMA world would like to see go down.
Later this week, I will focus on Saturday’s UFC 203, with Miocic and Overeem in a solid main event, as well as CM Punk’s debut, but in the meantime, there were a few bouts and interesting revelations within the MMA matchmaking bubble.
There’s a report out there that Al Iaquinta will take on lightweight Thiago Alves - yes, you read that correctly … “The Pitbull” will be competing at 155 lbs. How this 32 year old welterweight will be able to get down to 155 lbs is beyond me, but my fingers are crossed he can do so safely. The last thing he will want to combat is fatigue on fight night, due to the weight cut, as Iaquinta will be a massive fan favorite. Why? This bout is scheduled in Al’s neck of the woods … UFC 205 Madison Square Gardens in New York City.
Then there’s Polish strawweight Karolina Kowalkiewicz, who is hoping a potential title fight vs. champ, and fellow Polack Joanna Jedrzejczyk also takes place at 205 lbs. The thinking here is that she will want to eliminate any sort of hometown advantage for “Joanna Champion”. Despite both ladies hailing from the same country, Joanna’s popularity is on a different level there. Remove that from the equation, and put on the big stage and bright lights of MSG, and the playing field is somewhat even. Well, until they step into the cage. I’ll save that breakdown for a future article.
I’ve got plenty more thoughts on the MMA world, most of which l discussed on last night’s Fightful Podcast, which you can see above. Check it out, as I had no idea where the aforementioned Sean Ross Sapp planned on taking the show. I just ride shotgun to his craziness. And wouldn’t have it any other way.