Five fights you definitely don’t want to miss this weekend
There’s an abundance of MMA to view this weekend, here’s what you shouldn’t miss.
MMA has been a little bit hit or miss lately. There seem to be multiple events on weekly and while that can be good, it can also create a bit of an oversaturation. As a result, we’re seeing multiple events with less than stellar fights. This weekend the UFC, Bellator, and LFA all have televised events. The result is five fights not to be missed.
Jaleel Willis vs. Kyle Stewart – LFA 33 – Friday on AXS TV
The main event of LFA 33 is a dandy this weekend. Two 8-0 undefeated fighters are going to square off in the Welterweight division. It’s a battle of two young fighters, and the winner could very well find himself in the UFC sooner rather than later.
Jaleel Willis (8-0) enters this fight looking for somewhere to call home. He has fought his last three fights for three separate organizations. He fought once in Bellator, defeating Omar Johnson. On a side note, UFC middleweight Eryk Anders fought only once for Bellator, at that same event. He’s been training a bit at American Top Team lately.
Kyle Stewart (8-0) is another undefeated young fighter, looking to take the next step towards the big stage. You might remember him from Dana White’s Contender Series last year when he defeated Jason Jackson after Jackson suffered an ankle injury. The victory was not enough to earn Kyle a contract, but it certainly puts him on the UFC’s radar.
This should be a compelling fight between two very tough youngsters. The good news is this fight means the world to both of them and they won’t leave anything untested. You don’t want to miss it.
Roy Nelson vs. Matt Mitrione – Bellator 194 – Friday on Paramount TV
The Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix is must-see TV. It’s simply for my money the most interesting ongoing subject in MMA. This fight is especially interesting because it’s the first in the tournament that actually features two heavyweights. Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione should both find willing participants to engage in a standup classic. This is a rematch from when the two met at the finale of the TUF 16. Roy Nelson closed Mitrione out via TKO in Round 1. Both fighters are vastly different at this point.
Roy Nelson (23-14) has utilized a style that has not proven to be tremendously successful. He’s a heck of a grappler and has a deep wealth of submission knowledge but seemed to get stuck in a rut where he’d plod around the cage looking to land overhand rights. If that big right didn’t land, he didn’t win. As a result of that style, he lost five of his last seven UFC bouts. In his Bellator debut, he was outstruck, and found it necessary to go back to the ground, and won the fight.
Matt Mitrione (12-5) has been looking really solid winning 3 in a row to start his Bellator career. In his last fight, he stopped Fedor Emelianenko in what was a career-defining victory. I mean, the guy beat Fedor. Matt is a heavy-handed striker who good speed and cardio for his size. He’s an athletic heavyweight and is my favorite to win this tournament.
I think if Roy opts to stand with Matt Mitrione, he’ll end up picked apart of soundly defeated. If he goes into the fight and grapples, he could upset Mitrione and flip the entire tournament on its ear. It’s up to Roy. We’ll see what he does Friday night.
James Vick vs. Francisco Trinaldo – UFC Fight Night 126 – Sunday on FS1
James Vick and Francisco Trinaldo is a sure-fire exciting fight. There is simply no way these two don’t put on a very entertaining scrap. This is my bet to earn fight of the night honors.
James Vick (12-2) has won nine of his last ten bouts and enters this fight on a three-fight winning streak. He’s extremely tall for the division, standing six foot three. He often utilizes his reach and long leg advantage to keep fighters off him and keep them at striking range. He’s an outstanding fighter who just can’t seem to get a big fight. He’s ranked 12th but should be in the top 10.
Francisco Trinaldo (22-5) is another underrated Lightweight. He’s won 8 of his last 10 and rolls into this fight having just defeated Jim Miller back in October. Any victory over Jim Miller is an awesome victory and it shows just how talented Francisco is. His only losses in his last ten fights come to Kevin Lee and Michael Chiesa, both highly ranked fighters. He enters this ranked 14th in the division and it’s a must-win for both fighters if they plan to climb the ladder in the sport’s deepest division.
There’s no way this shouldn’t be awesome. Francisco will be giving up both six inches in height and reach, which could prove tough to overcome. He’ll have to find a way to get inside to land his damaging shots because, at distance, he gets picked apart. That’s what makes the fight so compelling. You don’t want to miss this one.
Derek Lewis vs. Marcin Tybura – UFC Fight Night 126 – Sunday on FS1
What makes this one not to miss? Someone is almost certainly getting knocked out. The judges can play on their phones during this fight because they will not be needed. We’ll bear witness of someone falling down in the middle of the Octagon. Bank on it.
Derek Lewis (18-5) has power for days. He was on a six-fight winning streak before he was stopped in his last bout by Mark Hunt. Hunt landed a bomb on Lewis, and that was that. He did earn fight of the night honors for the contest, but I’m guessing he’d trade that for the win.
Marcin Tybura (16-3) is a very dangerous heavyweight. He’s stopped Viktor Pesta and Luis Henrique in back to back fights, then defeated Andrei Arlovski before being beaten by Fabricio Werdum in his last fight. He did, however, go the distance with the former champion. He’s a talented fighter who simply has not been able to string together enough wins to find his way into title contention. A win here would see him climb the rankings in the not so deep heavyweight talent pool.
I don’t know exactly who’s going to win this one. My guess is whoever can land clean first. These guys both possess knockout power and whoever can find the button first could well prove victorious. If Derek Lewis wants to face Francis NGannou, he’ll need to win this fight first.
Donald Cerrone vs. Yancy Medeiros – UFC Fight Night 126 – Sunday on FS1
Donald Cerrone has lost three consecutive fights. It seems almost impossible to believe that but it’s true. In his last outing, he was flatlined by Darren Till, and it was apparent to some that his days at Welterweight might be numbered. Cerrone agreed, saying he’d be heading back to Lightweight, but alas, here we are and he’s again facing a young, dangerous Welterweight in Yancy Medeiros.
Donald Cerrone (32-10) has been the go-to-guy for the UFC time and time again. When a fight falls through it’s Cerrone to the rescue. While that willingness to fight whenever whoever, wherever has forever endeared him to fans, it hasn’t done wonders for his career. He’s fought too often and hasn’t fully allowed himself to recover from a series of wars in the cage. He still possesses the skills that had him on the brink of a championship, and this fight could prove a major comeback for The Cowboy.
Yancy Medeiros (15-4) is a tough Hawaiian fighter with great standup and all-around toughness. He’s won all three of his fights since moving up to Welterweight. More than that, he’s won all three by stoppage, over talented fighters. He’s stopped Sean Spencer, Erick Silva, and Alex Oliveira consecutively to kick off his run at 170. He will pose an absolute threat for Cerrone Sunday night. With a victory, Yancy will shoot up the rankings and find himself some bigger fights going forward.
I don’t know who wins this, but I’m leaning towards Medeiros. I just think he’s younger, faster and his reach advantage is an important factor. It should be a fun fight, but it could be a tough one for fans of Cerrone.