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7/12/16: Top Five Fights to Make After UFC’s International Fight Week
After three significant events, several major highlights, and some extremely surprising results during International Fight Week, there are a lot of intriguing fights to be made by the end of 2016. Here are the five fights I most want to see put together after the weekend.
5. Eddie Alvarez vs. Tony Ferguson: With Alvarez shockingly capturing the UFC Lightweight Title last Thursday night, there are any number of fights in the lightweight division that make for an exciting matchup. From a stylistic standpoint, this is at the top of the list for me as far as contenders are concerned. Alvarez’s style almost needs an aggressor for him to perform at his best, and Ferguson’s just that style of fighter. With a win over Landon Vannata on Wednesday he’ll have an eight-fight winning streak, and outside of one of two other options (which I’ll get to), he’s the best man for the fight.
4. T.J. Dillashaw vs. Dominick Cruz II: They had a very good, very close fight in January, and now that Dillashaw’s avenged one loss it’s time for him to get the rematch of a fight he should have won. Cruz looked better against Urijah Faber, and may have a better performance against Dillashaw the second time around, but that’s the fight to make. It’s the best bantamweight matchup right now, and Dillashaw may very well finally be the man to take a title from Cruz. If not, then Cruz’s legacy grows from there. It’s just a great fight to put together.
3. Cain Velasquez vs. Stipe Miocic-Alistair Overeem winner: Cain Velasquez looked fantastic against Travis Browne, and he’s the easy choice to book against the winner of the Miocic-Overeem fight in September. As pointed out by Rich Hansen on our podcast Monday night, one of the biggest reasons to book him in that title fight is that either bout is a fresh matchup for Velasquez, which has been all too rare through the previous several years of his UFC career.
2. Eddie Alvarez vs. Nate Diaz-Conor McGregor winner: While Tony Ferguson is a fine choice for the next Lightweight Title fight, there’s no one other than Nate Diaz to go to should Diaz defeat Conor McGregor a second time at UFC 202. A fight between Alvarez and Diaz would be just about as good as it gets from an entertainment standpoint, and Diaz’s star power will be at an all time high if he wins that fight next month. Conversely, should McGregor avenge that loss and decide not to drop down to featherweight, getting a second title against Alvarez is an even more intriguing prospect than was the bout with Rafael dos Anjos. Again, stylistically, Alvarez-McGregor would be an incredible matchup, and either option would be the biggest possible fight for the new UFC Lightweight Champion.
1. Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo II: Of course, the fight we have to see again is McGregor-Aldo II. McGregor says he’s going back to defend the belt after the Diaz fight, and with how good Aldo looked in his second fight with Frankie Edgar on Saturday night, I’m just as excited for the rematch with McGregor as I was for the first fight. 13-second KO aside, Aldo’s been virtually unstoppable in every other fight, and if he avoids getting caught who knows what happens through a five round fight. The result may wind up the same, Aldo may also avenge his loss. Either way, the rematch has to happen, and it’s the one fight I want to see played back more than anything else this year.
[Photo (c) Gary A. Vasquez via USA Today Sports]
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