In a month where we get the shimmering animosity of DC vs Bones II The Spit Bucket scours the fight scene for some match ups to whet the whistle. Kick back and enjoy some of these hand picked beauties.
Johnson [c] vs Cejudo, UFC 197 April 23rd
‘Mighty Mouse’ has a bad rep. It’s mainly due to his smothering all round superiority that has led to over fifty percent of his latest nine straight victories coming by way of a decision. But to hate on a guy who has no credible opposition and is just insanely good at his craft is harsh. ‘The Messenger’ is the first challenger who can actually nullify Johnson’s strong wrestling base given he is a former Olympic gold medalist. The glaring deficiency, however, will be in the stand up exchanges despite persistent improvements in each outing from Cejudo. Whilst a dethroning will be a step too far, a strong showing from these two will set up an interesting rivalry in the years to come. Prepare for the grind.
Machida vs Henderson, UFC on Fox 19 April 16th
In the battle of past champion veterans, the old timers have central stage for possibly a last hurrah. ‘Hendo’ is on an unimpressive slide having lost six of his last eight fights. ‘The Dragon’ has not fared much better having lost three of his last four (albeit against superior opposition). ‘Hendo’ is a true warrior with a booming right and an iron chin. He will always draw in fans, but the time has come to think about health and retirement. If Machida wins as expected then Henderson should hang up his gloves. A reversed result, however, presents an interesting conundrum. Savour the legend while you can.
Chiesa vs Dariush, UFC on Fox 19 April 16th
Dariush has largely flown under the radar in his fledgling career. He has avoided the headlines due to his lack of highlight reel finishes; instead he has a presided over a fifty percent submission rate. ‘Maverick’ has a similar penchant for the submission, with a sixty nine percent ratio. His awkward and slippy style will test Dariush who will attempt to contain the wild fourishes with a suffocating approach. One expects this is a tailor made fight for the stock of Dariush to continue it’s upward trajectory thus cannot see past a submission win for the former Brazilian ju-jitsu champion. One for the purists.
TITLE GAME CHANGER
Rothwell vs Junior dos Santos, UFC Fight Night 86 April 10th
The heavyweight title scene is attempting to lure itself into becoming a curious battlefield over the next few months. It is a notoriously difficult class to predict given the widespread one punch knockout ability, but The Spit Bucket plans to detail the future in an upcoming focussed preview. Rothwell has hit a purple patch in which he has submitted the unsubmittable (Barnett) and knocked out the kickboxing champion (Overeem). ‘Cigano’ has blown hot and cold but is a former titleholder and a true test for the reformed Rothwell. If he has his mind right and his sprawl ready, JdS should take it. An intriguing spectacle with title implications.
NEEDLE MOVING FANS FAVOURITE
Barboza vs Pettis, UFC 197 April 23rd
If Barboza vs Felder is anything to go by this should resemble Street Fighter more than the UFC. Possibly the only way to make this more awesome would be to have ‘Cowboy’ as the referee. Guaranteed an entire fight on the feet and guaranteed some explosive and outlandish moves, we’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. Although Barboza has a tight game, ‘Showtime’ should show his class and be allowed to express himself with little thought of being taken down. Dana, hand them the bonuses now!
Cormier [c] vs Jones, UFC 197 April 23rd
‘Bones’ is not a happy man. His archenemy ‘DC’ is parading around with the belt he never lost. And what is worse than an angry man? A super stacked angry man. No longer a gangly but gifted pound for pound champion, ‘Bones’ has spent his reflective time in the gym and it remains to be seen if that will impact him in the cage. Will he come out swinging with months of pent up frustration? Will he be rusty and let ‘DC’ in? Or will he even make the fight or be in jail? One thing is for sure – their genuine hatred for one another makes this compulsory viewing if it happens. Possibly the headline of the year.