The Nice Divide is a recurring function right here at MMA Preventing through which two of our employees debate a subject on this planet of MMA — whether or not it’s information, a struggle, a loopy factor any individual did, a loopy factor any individual didn’t do, or some ethical dilemma threatening the very basis of the game — and check out to determine a decision. We’d love so that you can be a part of within the dialogue within the feedback under.
With the primary “Struggle Island” occasion per week away and 4 playing cards set to happen in 23 days, we ask a easy query: What’s the one struggle this July that may’t be missed?
With so many unimaginable fighters about to compete, there are not any incorrect solutions, however Jed Meshew and Alexander Ok. Lee will do their finest to persuade you why their decisions are completely, unequivocally appropriate.
AN ALL-TIME GREAT IS IN ACTION
Meshew: First, let me begin out by saying what a disappointment “Struggle Island” turned out to be. As soon as once more the UFC had a wondrous alternative gift-wrapped for them and so they turned it into… a collection of utterly regular occasions going down at a location they’ve been to a number of occasions earlier than. “UFSea?” Extra like UFSee-how-creatively-moribund-we’re-lucky-we-ever-escaped-the-Affliction-shirt-days. (Editor’s be aware: Catchy!)
However I digress. Regardless of the UFC’s whole lack of promotional chutzpah, they nonetheless managed to populate these 4 occasions with quite a lot of wonderful fights. Nonetheless, solely two of them could possibly be thought of “can’t miss” motion and sadly, a type of fights, Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns, simply bought kiboshed by Gilbert Burns testing optimistic for COVID-19. Regardless, Usman-Burns nonetheless would have paled compared to the historic excellence that awaits on the undercard of UFC 251.
Within the second title struggle of the debut “Struggle Island” occasion, Jose Aldo has the possibility to hitch the rarified membership of two-division UFC champions when he takes on Petr Yan. Does he deserve this opportunity? On his deserves within the division, in fact not. However does he deserve this opportunity? You’re rattling proper he does.
Aldo is likely one of the 5 best fighters of all time and regardless of Joe Rogan’s incessant and absurd proclamations, he’s the clear-cut best featherweight of all time. The one motive Aldo doesn’t get as a lot shine as he ought to is as a result of the UFC by no means let him transfer as much as light-weight to take out Anthony Pettis, which you’ll be able to wager your candy ass he would have; as a substitute, Aldo is getting a questionable title shot in one of many deepest divisions within the sport, and fortunate for him, Yan occurs to be most likely probably the most favorable matchup for him among the many prime contenders at bantamweight.
Yan doesn’t have the identical quickness as different 135ers, is extra predictable, and is much much less confirmed than, say, Aljamain Sterling. Aldo could have misplaced some velocity off his fastball, however he’s nonetheless some of the technically expert fighters on this planet and he’s bought an actual shot to additional cement his legacy. That’s must-see tv.
On prime of that, Aldo is only a fighter you must at all times be thrilled to see compete. He’s the most effective defensive fighter in MMA historical past and a pleasure to look at work. There aren’t many fighters who can parry, slip, deflect, and roll each punch in a five-punch combo after which make you pay with a clear counter. Aldo is one in all them. Furthermore, he’s one in all an excellent smaller few who can utterly regulate his model as wanted to adapt to matchups that don’t go well with him. Briefly, even previous his prime, Aldo is enjoying with a wider toybox than most individuals within the sport, and watching him accomplish that is one thing I’ll by no means miss out on.
Honorable Point out: Fabricio Werdum vs. Alexander Gustafsson. Gus at heavyweight! Werdum, doubtlessly much less fats and horrible than his final day trip! Bizarre heavyweight matchups that might have appeared insane 4 years in the past! It’s enjoyable for the entire household!
YOU HAD MY CURIOSITY, NOW YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION
Lee: For my decide, I’m leaning in direction of a struggle that I considered as a mere oddity when it was first introduced, however that I now see as one which could possibly be each excessive in leisure worth and intrigue insofar as what it may imply for every man’s profession.
For lots of followers, this reserving made a variety of sense, provided that Whittaker wanted a reputation opponent for his first struggle since dropping his title to Israel Adesanya. Guys like Jared Cannonier (who was alleged to face Whittaker in March), Jack Hermansson, and Kelvin Gastelum didn’t fairly match the invoice and previous that it’s a cluster of unproven prospects and gatekeepers within the rankings. An Adesanya rematch felt too quickly particularly with a worthy challenger in Paulo Costa ready within the wings, and whereas Yoel Romero is at all times a enjoyable identify to throw on the market, no man ought to ever should struggle Romero 3 times.
Then out of nowhere got here Until, the favored Scouser who made a robust assertion in his middleweight debut by incomes a cut up nod over Gastelum. Right here’s a man with a reputation, a mode that matches up nicely with Whittaker’s, and somebody who can promote a struggle. Even higher, each Whittaker and Until are basically 185-pound fighters who don’t lower weight, so there will probably be no noticeable measurement distinction when the 2 meet within the July 25 principal occasion.
Whittaker is such a well-respected and likeable fighter, it’s really a optimistic that there will probably be no must power trash discuss between himself and Until. If something, Until has finished a superb job of increase his personal model along with his offbeat humor and willingness to say just about something on social media, even at his personal expense. There’s a buzz to this struggle, even when it isn’t the everyday “I’m gonna git you, sucka!” type of warmth that the UFC is fixated on.
These two aren’t more likely to interact in a brawl, so there could possibly be lulls within the motion, however Whittaker is so good at adapting and placing the strain on his opponents that he’ll power Until into some enjoyable exchanges. And Until must be keen to seek out his first end in nearly three years.
A loss shouldn’t damage both man an excessive amount of as Whittaker’s four-plus yr unbeaten streak remains to be contemporary in folks’s minds and Until will get credit score only for stepping as much as face a former champion in simply his second struggle in a brand new division. A win places both man in place to problem Adesanya by yr’s finish, and Until has already planted the seeds for that matchup.
If “Struggle Island” is meant to be a showcase for the worldwide fighters, then Whittaker and Until are the proper pair to show that notion.
Honorable Point out: Calvin Kattar vs. Dan Ige. The featherweight division is scorching proper now, and sizzling off the heels of Josh Emmett and Shane Burgos’ Struggle of the 12 months effort, we now have one other 145-pound matchup that’s absolute fireplace on paper. Actually, you can take nearly any two names from the featherweight top-15 and match them up and also you’ll get one thing spectacular.
On this case, it’s two of probably the most promising present contenders. Kattar has gained three of his final 4, whereas Ige has gained six straight, and the winner could possibly be subsequent for whoever emerges from the Alexander Volkanovski–Max Holloway rematch with the title. No matter these stakes, signal me up for 5 rounds of Kattar and Ige placing in work any day.
What “Struggle Island” struggle are you trying ahead to probably the most?
Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo
Robert Whittaker vs. Darren Until
Fabricio Werdum vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Calvin Kattar vs. Dan Ige
Different (go away remark under)
260 votes whole