Gabe Killian’s Post-TUF 18 Finale Matchmaking Predictions
Dec 2, 2013
The Ultimate Fighter Season 18 Finale is now in the past, and it leaves us with some match-ups to be desired. Some more than others…
Starting things off in the bantamweight division, I would like to see Chris Holdsworth vs Yves Jabouin. I think a veteran like Jabouin will be a great test for the Team Alpha Male product, and will show us where he belongs in the UFC’s bantamweight division. Yves is always a tough match-up for anybody, and if Holdsworth is able to get passed him, he will earn a fight with someone in the top 15-20. Last night he became the TUF season 18 winner with a second round rear naked choke submission victory over the Brit Davey Grant, which brings me to my next match-up. I would like to see a bantamweight contest in the form of Davey Grant vs Johnny Bedford. I think that would be a great fight, and it makes a lot of sense. Both are aggressive, well-rounded fighters who always look for the finish.
At featherweight, I would like to see Tom Niinimaki vs Sam Sicilia. I feel that would be a good striker vs grappler match-up. Sicilia has avoided the ground thus far in his Octagon career, as he’s used his wrestling background to keep his fights on the feet, where he believes he always has the advantage in power. He has been successful so far, but will the success continue against a grappler as skilled as Niinimaki? I would like to find out.
In the heavyweight division, a fight I don’t care to see but would make sense is Jared Rosholt vs Daniel Omielanczuk. I think they are the two only heavyweight currently on the UFC roster who are coming off wins and are not booked for a fight. It would be a step down in competition for Rosholt, but would allow fans to see him deliver a more impressive performance. He certainly does not deserve a step up after his outing against Walter Harris, who I personally felt won the fight. Speaking of which, a heavyweight scrap I would actually love to see is Walter Harris vs Shawn Jordan. It will be former basketball player vs former football player; two of the most athletic heavyweights on the UFC’s roster. I think this would be a really fun fight to watch, and as a gift to the fans, Joe Silva should get on it ASAP.
Another fight that no one will care about, but makes sense comes in the welterweight division in the form of Sean Spencer vs Sean Pierson. (Black Sean vs White Sean, for any “Rescue Me” fans out there). Both guys are riding win streaks, and with a win here, would warrant a shot at someone in the top 20. Now, a fight I think fans would love to see is a lightweight match-up in the form of Nate Diaz vs Al Iaquinta. I don’t know how much sense it makes as far as rankings go, but this would be an incredible “Fight of the Night”-type of scrap that belongs on a Pay-Per-View main card. Diaz will be a definite step-up in competition for Iaquinta, but Iaquinta will be no walk in the park for Diaz. This fight would be a true test for Al, and with a win, will earn a spot in the top 15 of the division, and close in on cracking the top 10. A win for Diaz could potentially put him in position for a number one contender match-up.
Diaz was successful last night, as he knocked out Gray Maynard in the very first round of action. That leaves Maynard on a two fight losing streak. I think a fight that would make a lot of sense that the fans would also love to see is Gray Maynard vs Matt Wiman. This would mean back-to-back fights where Maynard has faced a former cast-mate from the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter. I could see this as being a fun, “Fight of the Night”-caliber match-up that could kick off a UFC Fight Night main card.
A match-up I would like to see in the flyweight division is Josh Sampo vs Dustin Ortiz. Both are currently 1-0 inside the Octagon, and it makes sense to pair these two up together. Sampo was successful in his promotional debut last night in a “Fight of the Night” award-winning performance over Ryan Benoit with only half a minute remaining in the round. Benoit himself was making his promotional debut, and was so disappointed with himself that he couldn’t stay in the cage after the fight. I’m sure his frown turned upside then when he received the news that his fight had won Fight of the Night, and not only did he get a $50,000 bonus for it, but instead a $100,000 bonus, because Sampo missed weight for the fight, by weighing in one and a half pounds over the limit.
To wrap things up, I would like to see a battle in the form of Ryan Benoit vs Phil Harris, likely for the UFC’s trip to London in March. I was originally going to pit him against Jose Maria, the man defeated by Dustin Ortiz, but he is currently on a two fight skid, and could have already received his pink slip in the mail for all I know. The match-up with Harris makes sense, as both fighters are coming off a loss and in desperate need of a win in a very thin but cruel division.
Gabe Killian is a mixed martial arts journalist and handicapper, as well as a stand-up comedian and writer. You can find his work here on MMA Odds breaker and as columnist in the Los Angeles City College newspaper.