You might not know this, but the UFC needs to book a fight approximately every 3.5 seconds in order to pull off hosting as many cards as it does these days. And with fighters going down to injury every 5-6 seconds, the UFC is all but forced to inflate its already bloated roster (or keep some fighters around way, way too long) with less than experienced fighters to make up the difference. Hence, Royston Wee.
In the past 12 hours, a half dozen or so fights have been booked for just these reasons. Most of them promise to be entertaining affairs. Some of them, not so much. Hence, gifs. Let’s get started.
Although not officially confirmed, it looks like we will finally see “The Korean Zombie” return to the octagon for the first time since being broken to pieces in his four round smash-up with Jose Aldo at UFC 163. According to reports, Jung will face TUF 14 alum and Swedish native Akira Corassani at Fight Night 53 on October 4th.
Corassani has also had a rough go of things lately — back in November, he scored a victory via DQ against Maximo Blanco at the TUF 18 Finale when a blitzkrieg of illegal knees rendered him unable to continue. He was then legally smashed up by Dustin Poirier in the second round of a back-and-forth, “Fight of the Night”-earning effort at the TUF Nations Finale. At the very minimum, someone is going to have something broken in this fight, which makes this ranking obvious:
Speaking of long layoffs, Amir Sadollah had probably spent more time nursing injuries over the past…entirety of his UFC career than he has been competing. He hasn’t fought since dropping a decision to Dan Hardy in September of 2012 and has dropped two of his past three overall, but thanks to Kyle Noke going down with an injury of his own, the TUF 7 winner’s return has been bumped up from October 4th (where he was scheduled to face Nico Muskoke) to September 20th at Fight Night 52: Nelson vs. Hunt.
Sadollah will be facing none other than Yoshihiro Akiyama, who himself has not fought since 2012 and has dropped his past 4 fights in a row. This fight should probably not be ranked above Jung vs. Corassani, but it’s my list and I’ll be damned if any of you are going to put a damper my chance to see some sweet Judo throws. Ranking:
One one hand, both Caraway and Assuncao have been on absolute killing sprees as of late, with the former picking up submission wins in 4 of his last 5 contests and the latter being the last man to defeat current bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw. On the other, seeing Caraway’s face on my television screen not only reminds me of what a class-A douche he seems to be at times, but of the fact that win or lose, he gets to come home to this. God damn you, Caraway, you lucky son of a B. Ranking:
With Demian Maia injured, Canadian prospect Jordan Mein has agreed to step in on late notice in the co-main event of Fight Night 49 on August 23rd to take on journeyman Mike Pyle. Both guys recently bounced back from TKO losses to Matt Brown in 2013 with a decision win over Hernani Perpétuo and a third round TKO over TJ Waldburger, respectively. While a win won’t exactly place either in line for a title shot, Mein and Pyle are highly entertaining fighters with excellent gas tanks, solid submission skills, and knockout power. Not a bad fight at all, especially for an injury replacement. Ranking:
According to MMAFighting, the UFC is eyeing a #1 flyweight contender bout between Ian McCall and John Lineker for the end of the year at an event TBD. It will mark quite a turnaround for “Uncle Creepy”, who started his UFC career with a draw and back-to-back losses before stringing together his current two-fight win streak via unanimous decisions over Iliarde Santos and Brad Pickett.
Linker, on the other hand, has scored TKO victories in five of his past six bouts, most recently bouncing back from a defeat to Ali Bagautinov in their #1 contender bout at UFC 169 with a third round TKO over Alptekin Ozkilic in a wild scrap at Fight Night 45. The bout marked just the second occasion Lineker has been able to make weight in his past four contests. Let’s hope he can stay away from the Bis prior to this one, as a fight between these two will likely resemble what its like when I play with toy boats in the bathtub. Ranking:
The UFC needs a dynamic, charismatic fighter for their to Stockholm at Fight Night 53. Gunnar Nelson came out relatively unscathed from his second round submission of Zak Cummings back at Fight Night 46 (where he picked up his second “Performance of the Night” award in the process), and maybe it’s just me, but he seems to possess the kind of charisma capable of carrying/promoting the UFC’s second most stacked Fight Night card since two weekends ago. High praise, I know.
His opponent will be Rick Story, who is fresh off a submission win of his own at Fight Night 45 and is easily the most experienced opponent Nelson has faced in his MMA career. His loss via brain juicing at the hands of Demian Maia also proved that he is in fact capable of being submitted, so either way, this should be a great fight that will tell a lot about the future of both fighters. Ranking:
Oh. Fuck. Yes.
While not yet made official, the UFC is apparently targeting Swanson vs. Edgar to headline Fight Night Sweden. The fight was originally being looked at for December, but with the Stockholm card not yet having a main event, this fight would be perfect. Edgar most recently beat up a geriatric cancer patient in a BJ Penn costume at the TUF 19 Finale and Swanson last put an end to Jeremy Stephens‘ featherweight title run via a unanimous decision win at Fight Night 44 back in June.
Here’s the thing: Fight Night Sweden looks like it will be held on Fight Pass. I cannot tell you how enraged I am at the idea of placing a fight this good on a Fight Pass card in Sweden and not a PPV here in the States. It’s a bitchslap to the UFC’s loyal fanbase is what it is, and the combination of rage and excitement makes this a hard one to accurately gif. But when all else fails, The Wire succeeds, so I’ll just go with this one.