FIGHT CLUB TRANSMISSION 1.15.2018 - BIG GUYS PUNCHING EACH OTHER IN TH FACE
The heavyweight division in the UFC has always been a wild ride. No one, aside from Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar and Tim Sylvia have been able to defend the title more than twice. Miocic is sitting at that two defense space, on the verge of breaking the record. Enter Francis Ngannou.
Everybody has been talking about Francis Ngannou these days. He’s the terrifyingly powerful Cameroonian-French Number 1 Heavyweight contender with the disturbing knockout win over Alistair Overeem; the one where you could actually see his ghost leave his body as Ngannou smashed his fist into his chin. His back story sounds like a movie script. He grew up in poverty and worked in a sand quarry. At age 26 he moved to Paris where he lived on the street, trained boxing at various gyms until an observant couch suggested he try out MMA. Less than 5 years later, he is fighting for the UFC heavy weigh championship.
Though Ngannou has a submission win on his record, little is known about how how he will fare against a legit wrestler like Miocic. His last two fights were against elite strikers, albeit guys who have entered the twilight of their careers, Alistair Overeem and Andrei Arlovsky who he both dispatched in the first round. Overeem attempted to clinch with Ngannou, but he shucked him off and delivered the death touch.
It’s hard to pick Miocic, but there are a few points to consider. Miocic moves like a middleweight; he has excellent footwork and head movement, especially for a guy that weighs in at 245 pounds. He’s athletic as all hell; he was a Golden Gloves boxer and Division 1 wrestler prior to his MMA career and to this day, he still shows up to work as a fire fighter in Cleveland. Could he be the man to take Ngannout down and control him? Possbly, but those hammers that he throws are so dangerous.
There is also the subtle drama of what the UFC might want. Under the new WME-IMG look, the promotion has been pretty clear about who they are getting behind and who they aren’t. Miocic, the low-key, salt-of-the-earth “regular guy” from Cleveland, simply does not fit the mold of the “superstar” that the UFC seems to believe that they need to be successful. He is on the record stating that he isn’t interested in celebrity and is comfortable being in the background, packing his lunch pail, showing up to the fight and knocking dudes out. Ngannou looks like he was developed in a lab, he has an interesting back story and has embraced the press demands place on him. It’s also important to mention that he is doing all of the press, interviews and appearances in English, a second language for him.
If Miocic can avoid getting knocked out and can land the takedown, I think he will prevail. If not, it’s going to be a very short night for him.
It’s unfortunate that Daniel Cormier will most likely, forever remain in the shadow of Jon Jones. He face him twice and lost both times, the most recent time he was brutally knocked out. In a world of absolutes, Jon Jones would be the Light Heavy Weight Champion, but he just can’t stop fucking up and DC wears the crown. It sounds harsh but that’s the truth.
I like Daniel Cormier. He seems like a great guy; articulate, a family man, funny and appears to be a good leader. He would be the perfect champ, a great example for the kids and community. If only he could have beaten Jon Jones, drug-user, PED abuser and generally an unsavory guy; remember the accident with the pregnant lady? If only Jones could get his shit together, this whole division would make sense.
Cormier is champ…again and this is his first. His KO loss to Jones was overturned to a No Contest. Jones, due to a positive PED test, was forced to vacate the title an DC was reinstalled as champ. He is facing Volkan Oezdemir, a newcomer. This is his fourth fight in the UFC which is a more of a testament to the shallowness of the Light Heavyweight division than a statement about the legitimacy of his claim for a title shot. DC was knocked unconscious via head kick. It was brutal and it remains to be seen if he has had ample time to recover. Oezdemir knocks dudes out, straight up and this might be the worst possible match-up at this point of his career.
The rest of the card is filled with solid up and coming guys; it’s more of a ngiht for actual fans of the sport instead of the quick-cash-grab, new jacks that the UFC seems to be more interested in.
Bellator makes a bold move and schedules the opening round of their Heavy Weight Grand Prix on the same night. I will probably be watching this before heading over the Main Event at my local Buffalo Wild Wings. Additionally, you get to see Rory MacDonald contend for the Welterweight against Douglas Lima.
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