Yesterday, World Series of Fighting matchaker Ali Abdel-Aziz revealed to MMAFighting.com that he was officially challenging Bellator MMA to a 10-fight, winner takes all pay-per-view event featuring a number of a high-level matchups between some of the best fighters both promotions have to offer. According to Abdel-Aziz, there would be 10 fights on the proposed card, but the last would be a superfight that wouldn’t count towards for the final tally. So, of the nine other fights, whoever between WSOF and Bellator has the most total wins would be the company who takes home the entire gate and PPV money. Each promotion would pay their own fighters’ purses. Sounds cool, right? Well, just wait ’til you see the proposed matchups, because you’ll likely drool. Here Abdel-Aziz’ dream card.
- Light heavyweight super-fight: Tyron Spong vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
- Light heavyweight bout: Anthony Johnson vs. Attila Vegh
- Heavyweight bout: Andrei Arlovski vs. Vitali Minakov
- Bantamweight bout: Marlon Moraes vs. Eduardo Dantas
- Middleweight bout: Yushin Okami vs. Alexander Shlemenko
- Welterweight bout: Rousimar Palhares vs. Douglas Lima
- Lightweight bout: Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler
- Featherweight bout: Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Daniel Straus
- Welterweight bout: Jon Fitch vs. Rick Hawn
- Middleweight bout: David Branch vs. Brett Cooper
This card is just tremendous. Look at all the quality fighters on that list — they are 20 of the most talented mixed martial artists on the planet, and all of them have been placed in super-intriguing matchups. Let me give my thoughts on some of my favorites. Spong vs. Jackson is interesting because Spong is a world-class striker with unknown takedown defense, so while Jackson is definitely a better wrestler, who knows if he’ll even use it since he’s turned into a striker in the last few years. I’d actually kind of favor Spong in this spot, because I think Jackson would attempt to stand and bang, but wow would this be an interesting betting line to figure out. MMAOddsBreaker’s Brian Hemminger actually reached out to WSOF 205-pounder Anthony Johnson concerning the event and the proposed bout against Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Attila Vegh. Here’s what “Rumble” had to say:
“I think it’s smart on Ali’s part. He’s giving the MMA fans and the MMA community something to look forward to, shaking things up a bit. I’d fight [Attila Vegh]. I don’t know who he is, but I’d fight him. He’s the champ, so it wouldn’t be an easy fight. I just don’t know who he is. No disrespect to him, but I just don’t pay attention like that.”
The next bout I love is a middleweight bout between Yushin Okami and Alexander Shlemenko. For years, Shlemenko has been flying under the radar in Bellator MMA, but if he went out and defeated Okami in “Thunder’s” WSOF debut, it would likely give Shlemenko some more credibility in the mainstream MMA world and cement his status as one of the top 10 middleweights in the sport. The proposed lightweight matchup between Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler would be amazing as well. Gaethje is arguably the best lightweight prospect in the world while Chandler is universally ranked in the top 10, so to see these two actually fight would be amazing to watch. Although Gaethje is a super prospect, Chandler is already proven and I’d have to lean towards the former Bellator lightweight champion here. And one last fight that really sounds amazing is a featherweight bout between Georgi Karakhanyan and Daniel Straus, the two 145-pound champs from each respective promotion. Karakhanyan used to be in Bellator but couldn’t cut it, but he’s significantly improved since leaving the promotion a few years ago and although Straus is an absolute beast, I believe Karakhanyan matches up really well with him and this would really be a great battle. I really don’t expect Bellator to accept WSOF’s challenge because they have too much to lose, but this is a trick they actually pulled out in the past when Rebney was challenging Scott Coker of Strikeforce to do a champion vs champion Eddie Alvarez vs Gilbert Melendez super-fight. Just the fact that WSOF’s matchmaker actually came out and revealed his dream card is really cool to me, and if I have one wish for 2014, it’s that the fans get to see this event actually take place.