ESPN: The dream cross-promotional MMA fights we'd love to see

Discussion in 'Cageside - MMA Discussion' started by TheEmperorRises, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. TheEmperorRises

    TheEmperorRises Right click hospital, left click cemetery

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    It's been a long time since two MMA promotions allowed their fighters to cross over and face each other, but that's exactly what was announced earlier this week, as Bellator bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell will take on Rizin tournament champion Kyoji Horiguchi on New Year's Eve in Japan.

    Could this become the new norm? We asked our group of MMA experts -- Brett Okamoto, Ariel Helwani, Phil Murphy, Chamatkar Sandhu, Jeff Wagenheim, Eric Tamiso and Max Bretos -- for their takes on what dream matchups they would like to see.

    Okamoto: Michael Chandler (Bellator) vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (UFC)

    No shortage of answers on this one. Man. There are so many different ways you can take this, but ultimately I think the answer is almost not up for debate. It has to include Bellator MMA lightweight Chandler.

    Chandler is one of the faces of Bellator for good reason. He is a homegrown talent, and solidified himself as one of the best 155-pounders in the world years ago. It's no secret that the UFC's lightweight division is stacked. It's arguably the deepest division in the sport. Most of the marquee matchups at lightweight, for someone of Chandler's caliber, are in the UFC.

    If I get one night of fantasy cross-promotion? Give me Chandler vs. the UFC's undefeated champ, Nurmagomedov.

    Helwani: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (Bellator) vs. the winner of Valentina Shevchenko vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (UFC)

    I could easily go with Daniel Cormier vs. Ryan Bader or Tyron Woodley vs. Rory MacDonald, but I don't want to choose a current UFC fighter versus a former one.

    So with that in mind, I'll go with Bellator women's flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane against the winner of Shevchenko vs. Jedrzejczyk. Macfarlane has emerged as one of the best female fighters in the world, is proud to be a Bellator fighter and, I believe, feels as though she's the best flyweight out there. Also, they're fighting a week apart, so the timing works out. I'd love to see it.

    Murphy: TJ Dillashaw (UFC) vs. Demetrious Johnson (ONE)

    It might be a cop-out to include Johnson in this fantasy cross-promotional matchmaking, but I'm not above it. Mighty Mouse was arguably the world's best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist before his UFC departure. Now, he's the best fighter outside the UFC by a wide margin.

    Calling for a Henry Cejudo trilogy was tempting. But a much bigger part of me wants the "one that got away." When DJ reigned as UFC flyweight king, a superfight against UFC bantamweight champ Dillashaw seemed inevitable.

    "TJ vs. DJ" is a stylistic dream that even rolls off the tongue. It remained among the best fights to make while Johnson was employed by WME. Bringing him back to the Octagon to finally challenge Dillashaw adds wrinkles that completely amplify the storyline.



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  2. TheEmperorRises

    TheEmperorRises Right click hospital, left click cemetery

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    (cont.)

    Wagenheim: Michael Page (Bellator) vs. Darren Till (UFC)

    First off, kudos to Bellator for contributing Caldwell to this pop-the-corks New Year's Eve mash-up with Horiguchi. As No. 2 in the MMA sphere, Scott Coker's promotion has more to lose than Rizin does -- just like the UFC would have more to lose in a co-promotion with Bellator or anyone else. Which is one reason why we haven't seen Dana White & Co. get in the mixtape business since the "Chuck Liddell Plays Pride" album of 2003.

    The other obstacle to Zuffa participation? The UFC's market share of top-10 assets is so massive, it limits the high-level crossover possibilities. There are enough novelty attractions, though, to fill three rings under the Big Top. You could turn back the clock in slow motion with Fedor vs. Brock. You could settle a grappler grudge with Khabib vs. Dillon Danis -- this time inside the cage. But is that really the direction we want to go?

    Let's instead see how the best in Bellator stack up. Pit the "Pitbull," Patricio Freire, against someone, anyone in the UFC's featherweight top 10. Or feed Michael Chandler a top-of-the-food-chain lightweight. Better yet, how about a showdown of middleweight champs Robert Whittaker and Gegard Mousasi? Short of a Demetrious Johnson-Henry Cejudo re-do, this is the one championship matchup in which I'd make the non-UFC guy the favorite.

    But if I have to pick just one crossover fight, I'm going to go with flair vs. flair. No, I'm not suggesting ol' Ric put the tights back on. I'm talking about Till vs. "Venom" Page. This clash of flashy British welterweights could be a mismatch -- Till (17-1-1) has run a far more rugged gauntlet than has Page (14-0) -- but maybe not. Who knows how good "Venom" is until he's in with someone who can challenge him? And "The Gorilla" surely would.

    Sandhu: Fedor Emelianenko (Bellator) vs. Brock Lesnar (UFC)

    All right, this is always fun. Fantasy booking between any two fighters, regardless of promotion.

    The one that jumps right off the page for me is Emelianenko vs. Lesnar. For quite some time, UFC president Dana White tried to acquire Emelianenko to make that fight with Lesnar a reality. When both men were at the peak of their powers, it would've been a blockbuster pay-per-view, there's no doubt about that. Although they're a little bit older and well past their prime now, I think there'd still be massive interest in two of the most recognizable heavyweight fighters in MMA history duking it out. At the very least, it would make for one awesome visual.

    With Lesnar at 41 and Emelianenko 42, respectively, there's still time to make this happen, but the sand in the hourglass is almost gone. Oh, and there's still the small issue of the UFC being willing to co-promote with another organization, which let's face it, is never going to happen. Then again, perhaps the UFC could sign Emelianenko when his Bellator deal expires? Stranger things have happened in MMA.

    Bretos: Patricio Pitbull (Bellator) vs. Jose Aldo (UFC)

    I regularly gush over Darion Caldwell on these panels, and have always envisioned him coming to UFC to fight the bantamweight champ. He beat us all to the punch by taking the Horiguchi fight.

    So let's move to Plan B. Pitbull is Mr. Bellator, logging a lot of time in the promotion and remaining at the top. He has carved out an even higher step on the Bellator plateau with two big wins in 2018. Well, it's time to see what he can do elsewhere. There is a huge featherweight title fight on Dec. 8 in the UFC, so why not have a little tournament? Let's have the Brazilian dream fight, Pitbull vs. Aldo. Shoot, let's have it at the World Cup Stadium in Manaus. The winner gets the winner of Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega.

    I may have gone a little too far down the rabbit hole, but hey, it's all hypothetical. However, in the changing world of MMA, you never know.

    Tamiso: Fedor Emelianenko (Bellator) vs. Francis Ngannou (UFC)

    I wouldn't expect a fight between Emelianenko and Ngannou to go to the cards, but it'd be enthralling while it lasted. All of Fedor's bouts with Bellator MMA have had a frantic energy to them, leaving fans glued to the screen waiting for someone to land the eventual punch that'll end the fight. Now imagine that against someone with the power of Ngannou. Matt Mitrione and Frank Mir hit hard. Ngannou hits about as hard as Ivan Drago on that machine in Rocky IV.

    Can Fedor's speed and grappling ability, should he choose to use it, be enough to hold off that devastating one-punch power of Ngannou? Can Ngannou weather the offensive barrage that Fedor would most likely unload in the first 15 seconds of the fight? Have the UFC and Bellator come together and make this fight, but have it in Rizin. This fight reminds me of something Pride would've promoted in Japan over a decade ago, so it might as well be in the ring at the Saitama Super Arena.



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  3. MovinOn

    MovinOn Canis lupus familiaris

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  4. Rambo John J

    Rambo John J Smesher of Dream
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    Minkanov vs UFC HW
     
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  5. conor mcgregor nut hugger

    conor mcgregor nut hugger Jon Jones is NOT an intentional doper

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    Lol @ Chandler

    He gets fukn rekt by any top 5 UFC lightweight
     
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  6. conor mcgregor nut hugger

    conor mcgregor nut hugger Jon Jones is NOT an intentional doper

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    Tamiso: Fedor Emelianenko (Bellator) vs. Francis Ngannou (UFC)


    Holy shit this guy wants to see Fedor get murdered.
     
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  7. TheEmperorRises

    TheEmperorRises Right click hospital, left click cemetery

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    Fedor in his prime would have wrecked him. Now- no need risking Ngannou landing one of those atom bombs.
     
  8. TheEmperorRises

    TheEmperorRises Right click hospital, left click cemetery

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    Alvarez was top 5 before he left.
     
  9. sparkuri

    sparkuri Ramses #1
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    These are semi-interesting picks.
    It amazes me though how they stick to the lines here.
    Brock vs. Fedor....why?
    Fedor is a clean athlete; putting him in against Brock is blasphemy.
    Fedor vs DC, Emelianegro vs. Emelianenko, Black Emperor vs. Last Emperor is a no-brainer.

    Why not go Minakov vs. Cain Velasquez, one that should've happened at some point anyway?

    If there's an obsession with Till and an all-Britain cross-promotional throwdown, introduce Till to Semtex.
    Then you'll get your bloody moneys worth.

    Till vs. MVP....OK, I guess? That could actually turn out good,
    but gawtdammit why the hell can't Israel Adesanya make a catchweight for MVP?

    Khabib vs. Chandler....ok..I guess, but Khabib is a bread and butter fighter.
    Why not Chandler vs. Tony Ferguson?
    That's a MUCH more dynamic fight.

    You wanna do something with Khabib?
    Tell him enough cutting insane amounts of weight and have him fight the former ONEFC WW champ within his own organization, Ben Askren. Ya don't have to go anywhere now, you'll have aliens from other galaxies buying out cageside tickets.

    Aldo vs. Pitbull...ok, but why? Because Pitbull called for it?
    Do we not know that despite Aldo's losses, he's still clearly faster, and would likely pick Pitbull apart in a semi-interesting decision where Aldo MIGHT get wobbled once in the fight?

    Why not Patricio Pitbull vs. Frankie Edgar?
    Hell not even I know what would happen there, could go either way.
    Frankie is a step slower than Aldo, and wouldn't be able to hold Pitbull down, and probably wouldn't want to.
    That's one where you could see Frankie WANTING to test himself on the feet all the way, and might not have a choice.

    You wanna go smaller?
    Pico can cut weight, let's have him fight a guy his EXACT size.
    Aaron Pico vs. "Magic" Marlon Moraes.
    Good LORD!

    And Mousasi?
    Hell, let's get to the point.
    Mousasi vs. Jon Jones,
    There's your fight of the decade.
    Just contract Jones to take a blood test every single day, give him a designated driver and a boatload of 18-year olds, and one day a week where he can get hammered then repent the next day at the PED Baptist church.

    Book 'em
     
    #9 sparkuri, Dec 4, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
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  10. conor mcgregor nut hugger

    conor mcgregor nut hugger Jon Jones is NOT an intentional doper

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    Top 4 then
     
  11. TheEmperorRises

    TheEmperorRises Right click hospital, left click cemetery

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    He's got a better chance of beating Khabib than Conor does

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    #11 TheEmperorRises, Dec 4, 2018
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  12. conor mcgregor nut hugger

    conor mcgregor nut hugger Jon Jones is NOT an intentional doper

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  13. RaginCajun

    RaginCajun TMMAC Potentate

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  14. TheEmperorRises

    TheEmperorRises Right click hospital, left click cemetery

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    I don't think the UFC would risk any oftheir champions. So right now, my 5 fights would be-

    MVP vs Wonderboy

    Fedor vs Brock

    Patricio Pitbull vs Jose Aldo

    Rafael Lovato Jr vs Jacare Souza

    Aaron Pico vs Frankie Edgar
     
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