By Adam Martin
This fight survey is dedicated to the upcoming UFC 160 event, which this past week saw four exciting matchups added to what was already looking like a stacked card. Here are my thoughts on this quartet of fights…
TJ Grant vs. Gray Maynard, UFC 160
The UFC has made one of the best fights it could in the lightweight division, pitting rising Canadian star TJ Grant against top contender Gray (The Bully) Maynard, with the winner of the bout expected to be in the title shot conversation.
This is an excellent matchup, and should be in consideration to open the UFC 157 pay-per-view card.
Since moving down to 155 pounds, Cole Harbour, N.S.’s Grant has looked like an absolute killer, running through Matt Wiman, Evan Dunham, Carlo Prater and Shane Roller to move into the top 10 of the division. It was in his last fight against Wiman that he especially shined, knocking out the tough veteran with a series of brutal Muay Thai elbows from the clinch. If he can do the same to Maynard, he would be making a serious statement he deserves to fight UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson.
Maynard has been out with an injury and hasn’t fought since last June when he outpointed Clay Guida in one of the worst fights in UFC history, but we all know that he’s one of the most talented fighters in the division when he’s healthy. Maynard is an excellent wrestler with great hands and always come to fight. He will be the toughest test of Grant’s career, and if he should get by the surging Canadian he could earn a crack at Henderson’s belt.
With all that being said, a fight between two top-10 lighters doesn’t get any better than this one. Expect excellence.
What do you think of the Grant-Maynard matchup?
Ryan Bader vs. Glover Teixeira, UFC 160
The UFC also added a light-heavyweight matchup between Ryan Bader and Glover Teixeira to the card. The winner of this fight, especially if it’s Teixeira, will be in the title mix, so fans can expect both fighters to be very aggressive in this fight and look to prove the point that they are a serious threat to Jon Jones.
A lot of people have said Teixeira should be fighting someone ranked higher than Bader, someone like Phil Davis or Alexander Gustafsson, but remember those guys are tied up and aren’t available to fight at the moment. So it made sense for the UFC to give him Bader for now, considering they both recently defeated Quinton (Rampage) Jackson, and especially since it’s a winnable matchup for Teixeira that would continue to feed his hype.
The fight might seem competitive on paper but honestly, it’s Teixeira’s fight to lose. He’s probably going to knock Bader out pretty quickly, and earn a crack at a guy like Gustafsson or Davis in his next fight, if not Jones outright. It should be fun to watch, though.
What do you think of the Bader-Teixeira matchup?
Shawn Jordan vs. Pat Barry, UFC 160
The UFC added a heavyweight matchup between Shawn Jordan and Pat Barry to the event, a fight that isn’t going 15 minutes. These two guys are two of the biggest and baddest men in the division and both guys always come to slug it out and put on a show for the fans, making this an early contender for the “Knockout of the Night” award.
Or at least that’s what we think.
It’s entirely possible that Jordan doesn’t want to stand with “HD” and just tries to take Barry down and work for a submission against Barry’s poor ground game, only to gas out and lie on top of him. That wouldn’t be fun to watch at all, but as we saw in the recent Brendan Schaub vs. Lavar Johnson fight, sometimes guys do whatever they can to get a win, especially with talks of roster cuts and whatnot.
I’m hoping it doesn’t play out like that and that we can see a real bangfest here between two heavy-handed strikers. But we’ll have to wait to see how it plays out.
What do you think of the Jordan-Barry matchup?
KJ Noons vs. Donald Cerrone, UFC 160
And finally, a lightweight contest between two exciting strikers in Donald Cerrone and KJ Noons has also been added to the UFC 160 card. This fight could easily win “Fight of the Night” if it plays out like everyone expects, and that’s with both guys standing in the centre of the Octagon and throwing caution to the wind like they almost always do as they each try to earn a bonus cheque.
It’s possible Cerrone tries to use his superior ground game and submit Noons, but after he was knocked out by Anthony Pettis on FOX. Cerrone needs to bounce back in a big way and Noons, who has lost four of five and who is coming over from Strikeforce, is a very winnable fight for him, even in the standup where the fans will prefer the fight to take place.
Noons is a dangerous fighter though and has some of the best boxing in the lightweight division, but Cerrone has nasty leg kicks that can counter them. I really just can’t see this fight being boring because I see each guy looking to bang it out, so I’m happy the UFC made the fight, even though Cerrone is ranked much higher than Noons in the division. Still, as far as styles go, Joe Silva couldn’t have thought of a better fight for the fans.
What do you think of the Noons-Cerrone matchup?
Adam Martin has blogged for theScore.com and is a regular contributor to Sportsnet.ca’s MMA section. Follow him on Twitter @MMAdamMartin.