MMA Record: 6-1
UFC Record: 2-0
Notable Wins: Allen Crowder
Notable Losses: None
Last Fight: TKO win over Allen Crowder
Fighter Profile: Willis has long been considered one of the new breed of heavyweights making waves in the sport. A long-time training partner of UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, Willis is similar to his good friend in that he tends to use his wrestling first to try and get the fight to the floor where he unleases his ground-and-pound. Obviously he’s not as polished as DC is, but Willis is definitely a solid, improving fighter who has looked great so far inside the Octagon and who should only continue to move up the ladder. A big win for Sherman would be a great start.
MMA Record: 11-4
UFC Record: 2-3
Notable Wins: Damian Grabowski
Notable Losses: Shamil Abdurakhimov, Justin Ledet, Walt Harris
Last Fight: KO loss to Shamil Abdurakhimov
Fighter Profile: Sherman has had an up-and-down UFC career so far. After starting off his Octagon tenure with two-straight losses, Sherman rebounded with two-straight wins and with his social media presence he quickly emerged as one of the heavyweight divisiion’s top prospects. But yet another loss in his last fight, a KO defeat to Abdurakhimov, has put Sherman on the bubble of the UFC roster. While he’s an exciting fighter who always brings it, it just doesn’t seem like he has the wrestling or chin to really make a run for the top. That doesn’t mean he can’t win some fights in the UFC, but I just don’t see him being someone who is going to be more than a gatekeeper. That has its place in the UFC, but also comes with a ceiling and I think Sherman may have reached it.
Fight Breakdown: As much as I enjoy watching Sherman fight, I feel like this is just a bad matchup for him. Willis has really good wrestling and has just as much finishing power as Sherman does. I also think Willis has the better chin and cardio. But ultimately, I don’t think this fight takes place on the feet anyways. I think Willis fights with a smart gameplan, takes Sherman to the ground, and beats him up there. As tough as Sherman is, I just feel like Willis is going to be too much for him in this fight, and I see him finishing the fight via ground-and-pound as Sherman tires out the later this fight goes.
Prediction: Justin Willis via TKO