I’m a man that when it comes to UFC I like to watch as many fights as possible. Yeah I love watching all the huge names do their thing. Like McGregor with his douchy strut but who also at the end of the day delivers. I’m also a big fan of older guys like Edgar, Lawler and of course, probably after Silva the best fighter ever in my opinion Georges St. Pierre. Yet sometimes I’m amazed by some guys who are there in the rankings, slowly and quietly making their names heard until one day “Pop” they’re there for everyone to see. Look at dudes like Tyron Woodley, you can’t honestly say you don’t get hyped watching him do his thing. Or how about Rose Namajunas, she’s as perfect of a silent killer as they will ever come. But let me tell you about three fighters I’m absolutely loving right now and why you should keep an eye on them this year.
In the men’s middleweight division there are three names I’m sold on right now and no, the Champion Robert Whitaker isn’t necessarily one. Israel Adesanya for one is getting it done in great ways. His win over UFC living legend Anderson Silva and the mysticism behind him and his style of fighting is something that’s impossible not to get hooked on. Kelvin Gastelum on the other hand is coming up and up and there’s no stopping him. A fight between Adesanya and Gastelum is in the makings for the vacant middleweight title since Whitaker is out with an abdominal injury that will sideline him for a few months, but that’s not the fight us fans should see. If it was up to me I would put up the title, yeah, it’s the fair thing, and I would have either Adesanya or Gastelum fight, but they should have to fight the best man in that division, even if he’s not the champion, Yoel Romero. The Cuban “Soldier of God” has given us two top notch, and by top notch I mean that I wish they would’ve kept on fighting for another couple of rounds fights against Whitaker that clearly have cemented him as a force to be reckoned with. His sheer striking power and his grappling abilities from his wrestling background plus his size make him almost impossible to knock him down. He should be getting the championship nod here, not Adesanya and Gastelum, if they want to make this fair, make one of them fight Romero, they might not win but they’ll put up a hell of a fight.
Moving up to the heavyweight division, heavyweight fights are usually not so exciting. The fighters have mainly been responsible of that because of their lack of real athleticism in comparison to other divisions. But now with Daniel Cormier as champion we’re getting a new feel in the division and then, well then there’s Francis Ngannou. Have you seen that man, or mountain, or massive hurt machine? The native from Cameroon has the force to knock down a tree probably and Cain Velasquez can sure tell a great story about this. What he brings to the table is exactly what the division needs, someone who walks the walk and talks the talk when it comes to heavyweights. We’re past the big stubby giants, we want guys that look like wrecking machines and Ngannou, well if it quacks like a duck they say. Cormier vs. Ngannou, book it already and watch the magic happen because we know that even though Cormier is good, he’s probably not ready for the pounding Ngannou can deliver if given the chance to go for the gold.
Last but certainly not least, Jessica Andrade. The Brazilian fighter, known as “Bate Estaca” has the women’s strawweight division in shambles with her eyes set on Namajunas’s title. Her impressive physical skill, never ending energy and pure striking force make her a top fighter here. Her style is as aggressive as it comes and wins over Claudia Gadhela, Tecia Torres and Karolina Kowalkiewicz most recently have catapulted her to the number one contender spot for the women’s strawweight title. Now against Namajunas she needs her strenghts to come through because Namajunas is a master of wearing opponents down and getting her way. Andrade needs to rely heavily on her non stopping cardio hability to never give the champion a chance and if she’s able to land a few good punches we could easily be looking at a new champion. Their fight is set for May 11 at UFC 237 in Andrade’s country of Brazil. With Namajunas entering Andrade’s land she certainly will use the crowd to her advantage and go for it all. Great fight to expect, two of the best fighters in the business, what more could we possibly ask for?