Welcome to backseat matchmaker where I pick the fights that I want to happen. It should be said, though this is up for debate, that my words have little impact on whether or not these fights get booked, this is just what I want to see and why. Sometimes it’ll make sense, sometimes it’s just a fun fight I want to see put together. Without further ado let’s start making fights.
My two picks for this week have come off big wins on the main card of UFC 234. Apart from the main event, these two were big talking points after making an indent on MMA fans.
The first of those is light-heavyweight Jim Crute. Crute picked up a huge win over UFC veteran Sam Alvey at the weekend in only his second UFC fight. He had appeared on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series and looked very impressive, going on to defeat Paul Craig on his UFC debut. A big spot on the PPV opener in his home country of Australia and Crute stepped up with a first-round finish over Alvey.
The light heavyweight division can be hard to matchmake due to its strange composition. There are a lot of fighters near the top on impressive win streaks but not really anywhere to go. One fighter sitting near the top of the rankings is Jimi Manuwa. The well-known Englishman is currently on a 3-fight loss streak but due to his name and dangerous style, he’s never too far from the champion. Crute is currently unranked so it is a very big jump but I see Alvey as a tough test for anyone, a true acid test before you take on a top 15 fighter. Yes, Manuwa is a big step, he’s currently ranked number 6 in the world, but with his recent form, he needs to get back in there against an up and comer who is looking to take his spot. Manuwa needs to prove he can still hold his place in the rankings and Crute needs to show he deserves to be there instead. It could be too much too soon for Crute but I don’t see it that way. Plus it’s a great fight for the fans between two very exciting strikers.
My next pick is a great example of when a fighter makes it easy for you. A name leaves their lips and everyone sort of looks at each other and goes sure why not. Montana De La Rosa did this at UFC 234 after submitting Nadia Kassem in the second round. She has also finished her other two UFC fights via submission. She proceeded to ask for Paige VanZant. Both are around the latter half of the top 15 rankings at women’s flyweight and both have submission victories in recent fights over Rachel Ostovich. With De La Rosa and VanZant being 23 and 24 years old, this feels like a great time to see this fight as they meet at a crossroads. Both women put on a show in their last fight and with De La Rosa asking for the fight, it seems likely to happen. I would love to see how this match-up plays out, potentially making both shows all sides to their game.
Thanks for joining us for the first edition of backseat matchmaker. Have you got a better idea? Leave a comment on Facebook or Twitter and let us know! You can be our backseat matchmaker.