The heavyweight scenery changes in seconds. Each fighter in the top ten holds knockout power and the ability to end a fight. This is the reason why anyone would be a fool to try and predict the future of this fickle division. Luckily, ‘Spit Bucket’ Murray is one such fool and tries to break down the paths to gold.
CURRENT MATCHES –
Overeem vs Arlovski
Arlovski looks best when his fights descend into rock ‘em sock ‘em style bar fights. Unfortunately for him Overeem is far too technical and experienced to be lured into such an exchange. Provided Overeem weathers the early storm he will stay upright and call on his kickboxing to distance the forays from Arlovski, knowing there to be little chance of takedowns. This method may not win him fans, but will win him the fight. Overeem to dance on the outside using his vast arsenal and pick up the points victory.
Result – Overeem by decision
Velasquez vs Browne
This should be a formality for Velasquez. Undoubtedly talented he would appear to be superior in all facets aside from reach against the lanky Browne. Travis has not the greatest record against the top guys and his current ranking of seventh would seem to be an accurate position. Sadly, he appears to be the fall guy to accentuate the performance of Velasquez. The incessant pressure and top-heavy grind will pay off by way of vicious ground and pound in the second.
Result – Velasquez by TKO round 2
Werdum [c] vs Miocic
Miocic has earned this by way of him being new blood in a devoid division and a finisher. His style is exciting with most wins coming by way of knockout but he has a relatively unproven record. The highest calibre of opponent to date was dos Santos, to whom he lost a decision but thoroughly battered. He will look to draw upon his speed and stand-up skills, both of which have troubled Werdum in the past (losses to Overeem and dos Santos) and are likely to be of a higher level. Werdum on the other hand will seek to drop the fight to the mat, where he truly excels above all in the division. He has won nine of his last ten outings (four by submission) and will look to extend that record. This should be a cagey affair with Miocic lining up in his first title shot and Werdum is likely to capitalise when Miocic searches for the win in the later rounds.
Result – Werdum by submission round 4
UNFORTUNATE LOSS –
Dropped a points decision but in truth it was a one sided affair. Will reflect and adapt as he is a smart fighter but the question remains if he can compete at the top of the division. Makes for an excellent personality to add to the mix.
INCUMBENT VICTORS –
Scored a sensational trademark walk off knockout of Mir in no time. Stock and skills are high; he has only lost against the elite of the division and has set himself up to compete for the number one contender spot yet again.
Looked something akin to his best when flawlessly executing his game plan against the dangerous and resurgent Rothwell. Has fought all the top heavyweights and boxed himself back in to title contention.
FUTURE MATCHES –
Miocic vs Rothwell
This suits both fighters. Presuming Miocic drops his title shot, he will be looking to bounce back immediately. It is also a fight in which he would back himself and Rothwell had just been on a tear so is enough of a feature to spark some interest. Hunt would have been an apt foe given his recent win, but the memories of a one-sided affair looms so has been ruled out. Rothwell in comparison will be more than happy with this as he has an instant attempt at redemption against the cream of the crop.
Hunt vs Arlovski
Hunt is a difficult beast to match make for given he has already fought most of the top ten. But believe it or not, these two veterans have never actually lined up against each other. So for that reason it seems perfect. Hunt will count himself unlucky not to pick up a higher rated fighter, or indeed one coming off a victory, but the style of the Pitbull lends itself to the Super Samoan. Arlovski will be the happier of the two because if he strikes a victory he keeps himself relevant.
dos Santos vs Overeem (for #1 contender)
We are now in to the realms of winner versus winner. Overeem has possibly done enough to warrant a title shot, but Velasquez is still seen by many as the true champ of the division and dos Santos / Velasquez 4 rather lacks appeal. So for now Overeem would guarantee a title shot if he scales one last hurdle. He should also be confident of a repeat performance given his excellent technical kickboxing base that compliments the sharp shooting boxing of dos Santos. Junior of course should leap at the chance to avenge the prior loss on the back of a reinvigorated display to push himself back into the title picture.
Werdum [c] vs Velasquez
And finally, the rematch we actually want to see, and not least because we were left hanging at UFC 196. Cain is a monster of an athlete and has quickly erased blemishes in the past so will be chomping at the bit to even the score. Providing he breezes past his filler fight as expected, Werdum should be lying in wait to decide the future of the gold. The pressure wrestler versus the submission artist, make it happen MMA Gods!