Despite a lot of excitement, the MMA action from around the world this past weekend was fairly disappointing. Big fights didn’t play out how many thought they would and there weren’t a lot of performances to write home about. Many fighters that did stick out have obvious next moves. For example, Francis Ngannou is already right at the top of the UFC heavyweight rankings so a win over Cain Velasquez means he has to fight for a title next or a top contender when he’s already fought most of them already. Michael “Venom” Page is another example of someone who despite the performance, picked up a big win at the weekend but due to the Grand Prix bracket he’s in, his next fight is already determined. Do you see what I’m saying, it gives me little to play with. With that being said, I picked two fighters who made a big impact on the UFC card at the weekend.
The UFC debut of Kron Gracie was much anticipated by lots of fight fans and boy did he deliver. He stepped into the octagon with a record of 4-0 with all wins coming via submission, as you would expect from a fighter of Gracie lineage. He strolled into the UFC like he was walking to the shops and made the job look just as easy, taking Alex Caceres down and submitting him in just over 2 minutes. The important thing to remember with Kron is he is only 5-0. Many have been quick to mention one name when talking about Kron’s next move and that’s Ryan Hall.
Hall is one of the best technical grapplers in the UFC. In his last fight, he submitted BJ Penn in the first round with one of the submissions of the year. Hall is a master at heel hook’s and the 50:50 position. He has a record of 7-1 and despite winning The Ultimate Fighter and going on to beat Gray Maynard, Hall has made little progress in the UFC due to inactivity. The Penn fight was so great to many due to the grappling prowess of both men and Hall vs Gracie would be no different. It would most likely turn into a striking exchange on the feet due to both men’s grappling cancelling each other out but either way it would be a good test for Kron at this stage in his career and a fun fight for grappling fans everywhere.
One of the best fights on the card was the co-main event between Paul “The Irish Dragon” Felder and James “The Texecutioner” Vick. Felder picked up a big decision win, moving him into the top 15 rankings at 155 pounds. The fight was back and forth with both men having their moments but Felder did enough to sway the scorecards. He went on the mic afterwards and called for the winner of Justin Gaethje and Edson Barboza, a call-out met with lots of excitement by the fans. Felder vs either man promises to be a great fight, my only worry is that fight isn’t until the end of March and unless something crazy happens, neither man is leaving that cage without a scratch or two. This is definitely the best option for Felder but if they’re both badly injured, I don’t want to see him sat around waiting.
This will cause him to lose his momentum from this great fight. Therefore I propose that if Barboza or Gaethje are not able to go again soon, Felder should fight Gregor Gillespie. Don’t get me wrong, Felder vs Barboza and Felder vs Gaethje are far more entertaining fights but Felder vs Gillespie is a great match-up for both men. A win will propel either man into the top 10 rankings, setting them up for a big fight against a top contender, I just don’t believe either of them is at that point yet. The lightweight division is so stacked but because of that, it can be hard to make matchups near the top with people not wanting to fight lower ranked opponents. This fight makes sense for both men and will be their toughest tests to date.