The UFC heavyweight division is in bad shape!
Nelson and Nogueira go head to head in this weekends Abu Dhabi event and with Travis Browne and Fabricio Werdum fighting in nine days coupled with the Junior Dos Santos/Stipe Miocic announcement, it brings the heavyweights back onto our news feed after much too long away.
It`s the marquee division or so we hear, in boxing the heavyweights are still the most talked about, Ali, Tyson, Foreman.This used to be the case in the UFC, but the fact can`t be hidden anymore, the UFC heavyweight division is at the moment weak! There`s at best 3 legit contenders in Browne, JDS and Werdum and even at this, these three could be cannon fodder for the relentless champion Velasquez.
The Nelson vs Big Nog fight takes place in Abu Dhabi and is somewhat of a head-scratcher, Nelson has shown that against the top guys he comes up short and his unwillingness to cut weight means a new life in a lower division is out of the question, this basically means that a title run is not in his picture. Nogueira is hugely respected in the sport with good reason but it`s no surprise that he is on the downward slope of his career, even if he won`t acknowledge the fact, but again like Nelson a title run is not on his radar.
So why the main event? Nelson is on a two fight losing skid and Nogueira has only fought 5 times in the last 4 years and is coming off a loss to Heavyweight contender Werdum, this fight is a sign of the new diluted nature of UFC fight pass events.Now in all fairness the fight is a bit interesting because their skills somewhat match-up in terms of jiu-jitsu but when it comes to striking Nelson has a clear an obvious advantage. If Roy Nelson hits you, on average, you go to sleep, Big Nog has shown that he is susceptible to being rocked and It`s my prediction that this is what is going to happen, Nelson will tag Big Nog and end the fight quickly.
Travis Brown against Fabricio Werdum is the number one contender fight occurring on April 19th in a showdown of inform heavyweights. Travis Brown is legit having come through top contenders like Barnett and Overeem. Werdum`s road to this bout was somewhat easier but for all of that, this is an exciting heavyweight fight in a division that needs top matches and whovever wins this battle will be a deserving challenger to the champ
It also broke this week that Junior Dos Santos will face Stipe Miocic on the TUF finale Brazil 3. Nobody would be forgiven for thinking this is a bit unfair, Stipe is a top, top fighter but he`s going against the former champ who realistically was going to be a big favorite when the fight was Vegas bound, now throw in the considerable Brazilian home town advantage and Stipe has a mountain to climb. This fight will be a stand-up collision which will suit arguable both fighters with each trying to impose their different game plan, Dos Santos will look for the big KO while Stipe will look to keep the distance and pick off JDS. Either way it will be interesting to see the new Junior after his camp switch to Nova Uniao. JDS is coming off a brutal beating to champ Cain Velasquez and is a long way off getting back to title contention while Stipe is coming off a win over Roy Nelson and is one of those fighters that is on the cusp of true heavyweight contender.
This is it though folks, can any current heavyweight defeat Cain? Unlikely and with a legit contender in Cormier gone to light-heavyweight it looks like somewhat plane sailing for the Mexican Champ. In terms of depth the division is weak and this cannot be disputed, Cain, JDS, Browne, Werdum and possibly Stipe are the main men and after Travis and Fabricio square off one of these can be discounted. While there is still some exciting fights left in the division after this year is out ,the future is bleak and the rumored move of Light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones to heavyweight could be the only thing to save this marquee division.