MMA News Morning Town Hall (8.8.18): Lewis/Volkov, Askren, Rankings, & More

Derrick Lewis says
Image Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Welcome to the MMA News Morning Town Hall! Where we let the voice of the MMA community be heard!

TOP STORY: 

Alexander Volkov vs Derrick Lewis Nearly Finalized as UFC 229 Co-Main Event

Derrick Lewis
Derrick Lewis (Photo: Instagram @UFC)

Last night, ESPN broke the news that the co-main event for UFC 229 is on the verge of being finalized and will be between ranked heavyweight contenders Derrick Lewis and Alexander Volkov. If finalized, the contest will feature two top-five heavyweights, with Lewis being ranked #2 and Volkov placed at #5. The MMA community was asked what they thought of the reported co-main event, and here’s what you had to say:

On MMANews.com, Mr.Electricity wrote, “Volkov hasn’t interested me much, but I assume he’s gonna fight a technical pace while Black Beast will look to go Frankenstein on him.” Indeed, a technical striker vs. power brawler seems to be the instant scouting report on this bout, but make no mistake about it, 20 of Volkov’s 30 wins have come by knockout, so both men are capable of turning the other’s lights out.

On MMA Logic, Thiago felt that even though Volkov sits behind Lewis in the rankings at the moment, he is a few steps ahead of the Black Beast in the title race: “In my opinion, Volkov right now is already gunning for the gold,” he wrote. “He already had his toughest test in Fabricio Werdum, and he proved himself as a real threat at the heavyweight division. I can see him picking Lewis apart in route to a TKO victory in the third, making a big case for the next title shot.”

Darcy had a similar confidence in Volkov, but even more so, he lacked confidence in Lewis’s physical capacity to show up 100%: “I don’t like it cuz I feel like Lewis’s back will not let him be his best self so soon after the Ngannou fight where, afterward, he said he felt awful the entire time, camp, fight, etc. He needs a year off to make some lifestyle changes. Also, Volkov is a killer…would’ve liked to see him vs Junior dos Santos instead in this slot.”

DWTNCS 16 Results: Hardy Demolishes Gordon, Three Earn UFC Contracts

DWTNCS 16

Yesterday, the second season of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series came to a close with the 16th episode of the series. Here were the results:

Greg Hardy def. Tebaris Gordon via TKO (punches) – R1, 0:17

Devonte Smith def. Joe Lowry via KO (elbows) – R1, 2:52

Kennedy Nzechukwu def. Dennis Bryant via TKO (strikes) – R1, 1:48

Bobby Moffett def. Jacob Kilburn via submission (d’arce choke) – R2, 1:02

Alex Gilpin def. J.R. Coughran via submission (d’arce choke) – R2, 1:55

Contracts were awarded to Bobby Moffett, Kennedy Nzechukwu, and Devonte Smith.

UFC Rankings Report: Major Shakeups at Pound for Pound

Demetrious Johnson
Image Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The new UFC Rankings were released in the aftermath of UFC 227. The biggest shake-ups occurred in the pound for pound rankings. Demetrious Johnson fell from #2 all the way down to #6! And in his place now sits Conor McGregor. Directly beneath McGregor is T.J. Dillashaw, who soared up three spots to #3 in the rankings, knocking Max Holloway down to #4. Henry Cejudo also made his first ever appearance in the rankings at #12. The MMA community was asked if they agreed with Johnson’s plummet and here is what you had to say:

Joe wrote, “Proves what I have been saying all along to be a true pound for pound number one, you must be able to move up in weight class.” With more and more fighters attempting to move across weight classes, Joe may not necessarily be speaking of the actual requirements to be pound for pound #1 today, but maybe someday in the near future. Then again, both #1 and #2 fit the criterion Joe has put forth, so this could be more of a requirement for a present than many realize. At any rate, it should be pointed out that this question is not about Demetrious Johnson being #1 or not, but about his drop from #2 to #6.

Of all the respondents to the question, all but two people felt the drop was not justified. On MMA Logic, Vicente took a positive approach to the situation, though, arguing that Johnson won’t be hurt by this decision: “I think PFP rankings don’t have much value nowadays, so it can’t hurt DJ’s stock too much.”

Dana White Changes Tone on Ben Askren to UFC

 

Ben Askren
Ben Askren (Photo credit: ABS-CBN News)

MMA fans and purists have wanted to see Ben Askren in the UFC for many years. An undefeated (18-0) two-time NCAA champion, Askren has often argued that he is the best welterweight on the planet. Unfortunately, due to burned bridges with Dana White, it appeared we, nor he, would discover his full potential. But on yesterday’s edition of UFC Unfiltered, Dana White provided fans more than a glimmer of hope that Askren could wind up in the UFC after all:

“Ben Askren is under contract,” White said. “Ben Askren hit me up a few months ago and said, ‘What are the odds we can talk about me getting into the UFC? And I said, ‘We can absolutely talk about it.’ And I said, ‘You need to send me a letter before I even talk to you, or meet with you, or do anything. I need a letter saying that you’re a free agent and that you’re able to…whatever. And he’s not a free agent. He’s not a free agent. He’s under contract with ONE FC, and he’s gonna have to go fulfill his contract with them.”

The MMA community was asked if Ben Askren did arrive in the UFC, who would be the ideal opponent for the former Bellator and ONE FC welterweight champion.

On MMANews.com, Chaiyoshnay wrote: ”I would love to see Askren in the UFC. So many interesting match ups. I say give him Kevin Lee at a catch weight right off the bat. Let’s see how good Askren is.” Jesse had a different opponent in mind for Askren: “His first fight should be against a solid top 10 170-pounder but wouldn’t be mad if he jumped the line to fight Woodley. GSP wouldn’t take that fight since Askren could derail a lot of money fights for him.” With Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren being friends and training partners, it is unlikely that fight would ever happen, though.

GSP received the most votes by a slight margin. The field was pretty assorted with names like Tyron Woodley, Colby Covington, Khabib, and Kamaru Usman receiving multiple votes.

Dana White Would Understand if Eddie Alvarez Leaves UFC

Dana White would Eddie Alvarez
Image Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Now that Eddie Alvarez is officially a free agent, many are wondering if his main event bout with Dustin Poirier at UFC on Fox 30 is the last time we’ll be seeing Alvarez in the UFC. Dana White is open to having Alvarez back; but at the same time, it is not a priority, as the UFC boss stated on UFC Unfiltered that he would be OK if Alvarez made the choice to jump to another promotion if he decides it is the best thing for him at this stage of his career:

“I like Eddie Alvarez,” White said. “I like him personally and I like him professionally and, you know, he’s at an age now where he needs to make some decisions for his family and for what will probably be the last contract he signs for the end of his career. I’m in a place where if Eddie wants to go somewhere else and try it I’m cool with that. If Eddie wants to stay, I’d keep him here, too. I told him, listen, if you want to finish your career with me, I would like that, and if you want to finish your career with someone else, I have no problem with that either, man. When guys get to the point where it’s the last contract they’ll ever sign, I understand.”

The MMA community was asked what Eddie Alvarez should do next, and the consensus felt that he should walk away from the UFC. Poppy’s Hammer wrote on MMANews.com: “Go to Bellator, get a decent pay from sponsorships, and be set for life.” On the MMA News’s Facebook page, Travis wrote, “He’s on the downside of his career, so he should go where the money is…set himself and his family up for the future.” Alan felt that he cracked the code on what White was really saying here, “ In other words, Dana doesn’t want to pay him much to fight for UFC.”

Should Dominick Cruz Get Next Title Shot?

Dominick Cruz
Image Credit: Getty Images

Dominick Cruz wasted no time lobbying for a bantamweight title shot in the aftermath of UFC 227. Monday, on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, he stated, “I know I deserve that title shot because I defended that title more times than anyone in the history of the division.” But what does the MMA community think? Does Dominick Cruz deserve the next title shot?

“Hasn’t fought in 2 years. Was dominated for 5 rounds during that fight. Has had multiple injuries since. No, he shouldn’t get the next title shot,” Mark wrote. “Dom needs to realize his time over. Even if he won the title, he most likely would get an injury an dbe out for another extended period,” Mike added. Josh was the lone respondent to acknowledge the potential urgency of the matter: “It’s now or never. His health is the real X-factor, though.” While it may seem as though Cruz has been fighting for ages, he is still only 33 years old. But in Cruz years and to Josh’s second point, we never know how many fights he truly has left. Cruz’s 33 may well be the equivalent to other fighters’ 40 at this rate.

UFC Moncton Adds Misha Cirkunov vs Patrick Cummins & Two Other Bouts

Poll time! On MMA Logic, fans were asked who they thought would get the win between Misha Cirkunov and Patrick Cummins, a bout announced by the UFC yesterday for UFC Moncton October 27th. 69% of the votes went with Cirkunov, while 31% voted for Cummins. If you ask yours truly, the line on this fight will open with about a -245 line for Cirkunov.

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