Makhachev x Dariush is perfect, Cyborg's trip to remember, and other random thoughts
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Hello, friends. Here are some random thoughts on this final day of November, 2021 …
Sometimes the UFC overcomplicates things. Sometimes it seems like there’s an obvious fight to make and they go out of their way to not make that fight, for various reasons.
Sometimes it can be infuriating.
But, earlier this week, they nailed it.
Word recently broke that Islam Makhachev x Beneil Dariush will headline a Fight Night card on Feb. 26. I love this booking for two reasons:
a) It’s the rightful No. 1 contender fight at 155 pounds. Dariush has won seven straight; Makhachev has won nine. They should fight each other to see who’s next for the champion.
b) it all but confirms Justin Gaethje will fight the winner of Charles Oliveira x Dustin Poirier next year for the belt, which is also the right call.
There was a part of me that thought they’d skip Dariush altogether (because he isn’t as popular and hasn’t fought recently) and just book Makhachev for the next title fight, considering the recent pressure from his mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov and all that jazz. It’s very clear they want Makhachev to be the next Nurmagomedov, and he just might be. But the timing wasn’t right. This was the right call to make. Bravo, UFC.
Why Gaethje next, you ask? Because, like I said earlier, when you win a fight like he did earlier this month against Michael Chandler, you’ve done enough. Simple as that. If you excuse his loss to Nurmagomedov last year, he’s won five straight against solid competition. His last loss? Poirier in 2018. So, either you’re getting a rematch with DP, which would be a tremendous battle, or the fresh Oliveira x Gaethje matchup, with the winner of Darisuh-Makhachev waiting in the wings. Win-win.
Jan Blachowicz was on The MMA Hour yesterday. I really like talking to him. I appreciate his laissez-faire demeanor. He doesn’t seem to take himself so seriously, which is nice. I also appreciate the way he’s handled his loss to Glover Teixeira last month. Anyway, he squashed any talk of fighting Anthony Smith (not because he doesn’t want to but because he said it was never offered to him) but was mum on a potential fight against Aleksander Rakic. Word is there is an offer on the table for that fight to headline a card on March 26, I’m told.
My old friend Chael Sonnen is taking his Submission Underground promotion to a new broadcast home in 2022, I’m told. They had been on UFC Fight Pass for the last few years. Their final event on that platform will be on Dec. 12. If I were Chael, I would air the events on his very popular YouTube channel and charge a small fee for them. Take it in house and make all the money.
Am I crazy for sorta, kinda liking Triad Combat? Yes, the in-between fight stuff can be annoying and time consuming, but I didn’t hate the action or even the team boxing x team MMA gimmick. I think this could be a thing for Triller 2-3 times a year, if they do business wisely (ie not overspend on silly things like booking a massive baseball stadium for an event that didn’t need a baseball stadium).
Bryce Mitchell announced last week on the show that he is dropping a mix tape on Dec. 1. Seriously. Well, he just released his first single, and by God, it’s actually good! Seriously! The boy’s got skills! Check it out:
Bellator featherweight champion Cris Cyborg (along with her fiancée Ray Elbe) had one hell of a week. Check this out:
They traveled to Africa recently to do some charity work. They visited an orphanage in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. She also taught a women’s self defense course and worked with some at risk youth, too. As part of the trip, she helped launch the first women’s committee for the IMMAF, which secures the fact that each IMMAF-sanctioned amateur event will have at least one female bout on it.🇿🇲 The first MMA Zambia Symposium recently took place in Lusaka on November 25-28th. It was attended by the current Bellator Featherweight champion, @criscyborg. (@R_Patterson1998) bit.ly/3d6MRBjbit.lyIMMAF | Cris Cyborg helps to make first MMA Zambia Symposium a huge success<![CDATA]>
But then, Zambia was put on the travel ban list due to the COVID variant, Omicron. They weren’t given a head’s up. So, on Saturday, they found the only outbound flight to Ethiopia, which wasn’t on the banned list. They got a police escort to the airport on Sunday, where the only outbound flight was to Ethiopia.
However, on Friday, the USA embassy ordered all staff out of Ethiopia and released a warning for Americans not to travel through the airport due to fears of rebels taking over the airport. Problem was, Ethiopia was the only destination receiving flights from Zambia, and, as mentioned earlier, they needed to get home to the US of A. In the end, they got the last flight out of Ethiopia to the US and landed in Washington, D.C. Monday morning. Their economy flights costed them a whopping $12,000 combined.
Luckily, they are back home in California, safe and sound.