UFC Singapore Review and Matchmaker
Here is my review of the UFC on ESPN+ 20 card that took place on October 26 in Singapore. I also play matchmaker to try and see who could be fighting who in their next fights.
Demian Maia: As a BJJ fighter myself, that was one of the most staisfying wins of the year in MMA! Demian Maia reminded everybody why it’s just not a good idea to go to the ground with him. Ben Askren may be an excellent wrestler but as soon as the action touched the ground Maia swept him from bottom and took the good positions. Now, Maia says he maybe has two fights left and I would really like to see him against another great BJJ fighter. Gilbert Burns just moved up to the Welterweight division and, therefore probably became the second best grappler in the division next to Maia. This fight would be awesome (or at leats better than a Diego Sanchez fight)!
Ben Askren: In an interview with Ariel Helwani monday Askren said he was considering retirement. He has already retired before and the former Bellator and One champion came back only to see if he could become a champion in the UFC. It seems like it will not be the case for him as he has now been finished in his two last fights. There are still fights I would love to see Askren in, especially the Gunnar Nelson fight, but I wouldn’t be bothered if he chose to ride out into the sunset instead of taking a step down in competition and fight for no reason.
Ciryl Gane: For those who didn’t know Gane beforehand, that was surely an eye opening performance. But for those who knew him from the TKO promotion, it was exactly the performance we were waiting for. Not to say that Gane’s first fight wasn’t good, but he came in injured and was a little bit shy to pull the trigger against Pessoa in his debut. In Singapore, he let it all go against a way better opponent in Don’Tale Mayes and just recklessly styled on him for the entirety of the contest. I my prediction video, I said that I would like to see this fight go into the third round, and although Ciryl absolutely finished Mayes in the first round, the referee let the time run out and Mayes was able to survive until the third. As the fight went, Ciryl started mixing in some takedowns and he even jumped on a heel hook with seconds left in the fight and finished it. There are no doubts in my mind that Ciryl is ready for the top 15 of the division right now and I feel like any matchup outside of it could be great for his development but would not be a challenge at all. That’s why I would like to see him matched up with either Augusto Sakai or Shamil Abdurakhimov next.
Rafael Fiziev: The striking coach at Tiger Muay Thai is another prospect I wanted to see back in action after his UFC debut. Sadly, he had lost that fight by surprise spinning kick KO against Magomed Mustafaev but I still had high hopes for Fiziev. He absolutely delivered as he destroyed very tough Alex White during 15 minutes en route to an easy decision win. Fiziev is an incredible Muay Thai fighter with above average takedown defense who will be a tough out for anybody in the Lightweight division. I would really like to see him matched up against fellow prospect Alex da Silva who has shown a more and more complete game since he came to the UFC.
Movsar Evloev: Evloev is the last one of three prospects I really wanted to talk about in this article. I believe he is only behind Sodiq Yusuff in the prospect rankings at 145lbs. Yusuff as shown incredible athleticism that will surely help him become an elite fighter as his technique level increases. But Evloev’s wrestling and pace will be as much of a problem for everybody in that division. Although Evloev is not a power puncher at all, he as good boxing skills and throws a lot of volume, which plays well into his hellacious pace and wrestling prowess. I personnally believe his ceiling is higher than Zabit Magomedsharipov even though he is not as flashy as his fellow Russian. After beating Barzola, he has to be on the fast track to the rankings and a guy like Andre Fili would certainly be his last test before fighting someone in the top 15.
Other fights to book: Beneil Dariush vs Loser of Gillespie/Lee, Enrique Barzola vs Darren Elkins, Sergey Pavlovich vs Marcin Tybura, Michael Johnson vs Frank Camacho, Muslim Salikhov vs Curtis Millender, Stevie Ray vs Drakkar Klose, Maurice Greene vs Don’Tale Mayes, Laureano Staropoli vs Alexey Kunchenko, Randa Markos vs Yan Xiaonan, Alex White vs Thiago Moises, Loma Lookboonmee vs Brianna Van Buren, Raphael Pessoa vs Tanner Boser, Ashley Yoder vs Alexandra Albu, Jeff Hughes vs Chris de la Rocha