MMA Ratings Podcast

April 13, 2020

Fight Fixin' - Post-Coronavirus Edition: UFC Middleweight Division

By Adam Martin

The UFC, like every other sports entity in the world, is currently in limbo while humankind waits out the coronavirus outbreak. The coronavirus has destroyed the global economy and has also led to the cancellation of at least three and possibly more UFC cards. With MMA currently in a hiatus, we thought it would be a good time to look through each division and match-make future bouts for when the sport returns. In this edition of Fight Fixin', we take a look at the UFC middleweight division. Note: Some fighters currently have fights booked, but we will ignore those matchups for this series.

Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa for UFC middleweight title

Whenever the UFC schedule resumes, one of the first fights that needs to be booked is Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa for the UFC Middleweight Championship. This is a fight that the UFC has been hoping to book for a while now, but due to a Costa injury, it wasn't able to. With Costa now healthy and ready to get back into the Octagon, the UFC better book this fight against Adesanya. These are two of the top undefeated fighters on the UFC roster and both men have looked absolutely incredible in the Octagon the last few years. They are the #1 and #2 middleweights in the world right now, and the UFC needs to match them up to determine who the best in the world at 185 lbs is, to headline a pay-per-view card.

Jared Cannonier vs. Darren Till

The UFC had planned on booking Jared Cannonier against Darren Till at UFC 248 before both men were removed from the card, Cannonier due to injury and Till due to visa issues. I still feel like this fight makes a lot of sense when the UFC schedule resumes, with the winner of the bout getting the next title shot at 185 lbs. Both Cannonier and Till are ranked in the Top 10 of the division and both men are coming off of wins, which isn't something many of the other top-ranked fighters can say. Cannonier and Till have both been in top form recently, and this would be a terrific fight that makes sense for the main card of any pay-per-view considering it would be a title eliminator bout.

Yoel Romero vs. Robert Whittaker 3

Two of the top middleweights in the sport are Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker, and with both men coming off of losses to Israel Adesanya, it makes sense for them to fight each other once again. These two have fought twice before, with Whittaker winning close decisions both times in "Fight of the Night" performances by both men. We already know these two have incredible chemistry in the cage considering how exciting both of their previous encounters were. With both men trying to stay in the Top 5 of the division, it's the perfect time to match them up again and produce fireworks.

Jack Hermansson vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Two Top 10 middleweight contenders coming off of losses are Jack Hermansson and Kelvin Gastelum. Hermansson recently saw his win streak snapped with a TKO loss to Jared Cannonier while Gastelum lost a close decision to Darren Till. Both men need to get back on the winning track in order to re-establish themselves in a crowded middleweight Top 10. Therefore, it makes sense to match these two up and figure out who is still a top contender and who isn't. It would also be a very fun fight between two men who always put on a good show for the fans.

Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Anderson Silva

In order to be a legend, you have to beat a legend. Edmen Shahbazyan has everything it takes to be a future UFC champion and a legend of the sport. He just needs the opportunity to do so. Anderson Silva, meanwhile, is the greatest middleweight of all time and as much of a legend as you can get in MMA. But he's on his last legs and at this point is a gatekeeper at 185 lbs. That's why I'd love to see the UFC match up Shahbazyan against Silva. For Shahbazyan, beating Silva would give him a huge name on his resume as he continues to move up the middleweight ladder. Silva would once again be used as a stepping stone for a rising contender, which is the role he's been used in his last few fights. This would be an exciting fight and would fit in well on any pay-per-view card.

What do you think of the above matchups in the UFC middleweight division? Comment under this article, or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MMAdamMartin.


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