First and Worst: Week of December 10 – 16

By Adam Martin Subscribe to Articles by Adam Martin

First and Worst is an ongoing series for, where every week Adam will make his pick for the best and worst newly-announced fight of the past week (Monday to Sunday). If you’d like to see any additions to this series, hit him up on Twitter @MMAdamMartin.

First: Diego Sanchez vs. Takanori Gomi, UFC on FUEL TV 8

My favourite fight announced this past week is a lightweight billing between perennial “Fight of the Night” contenders Diego Sanchez and Takanori Gomi, who will be fighting in his home country of Japan for the second time during his UFC stint.

We all know Gomi became a legend while fighting for PRIDE FC, and that his success hasn’t translated all that well in the UFC. But now, coming off an upset win over Mac Danzig at UFC on Fuel 6, look for Gomi to be motivated to move up the ladder, and going up against a warrior like Sanchez, you can expect a hell of a fight.

Sanchez is making the drop back down to 155 pounds after a decent performance at welterweight, but if he wants to make a run for the lightweight belt he needs to get started by dispatching Gomi. Given both fighters’ fan friendly styles, this should be nothing less than a stand-up war, with both men winging and trading punches for 15 minutes, or until someone falls down. And considering the fact that both men possess knockout power, that’s certainly very likely.

Whenever I envision this fight, I just see both men standing in the centre of the Octagon and chucking bombs at one another. The fans in Japan won’t mind, of course, and neither will the fans watching at home on FUEL TV. Kudos to UFC matchmaker Joe Silva for booking this fight, because this is the fight the fans want, and I’m glad that we’re going to get it.

Worst: Johny Hendricks vs. Jake Ellenberger, UFC 158

OK, so I know most of you probably think I’m crazy in listing UFC 158’s Johny Hendricks vs. Jake Ellenberger as the worst fight announced during the past week. But hear me out first.

Let me just say that I’m in the camp that believes Hendricks should be fighting UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre for the title, not Nick Diaz. But apparently St-Pierre wanted to fight Diaz, so now Hendricks is forced to take a stay-busy fight with Ellenberger to cement his status as the No. 1 contender. And while the general consensus out there seems to be that Ellenberger has a shot at beating Hendricks, I for one don’t believe it – I really think Hendricks will mop the floor with him.

It’s clear that Hendricks has one-punch knockout power, as we have seen in huge wins over Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann, and as we saw in Ellenberger’s recent fight with Kampmann, he has chin issues. So in a fight that’s going to stay on the feet, I do believe that Hendricks is not only going to win, but he’s going to hand Ellenberger his second KO loss in three fights.

But what will it prove?

It’s not like anyone thinks that Ellenberger is a tougher out than Fitch, Kampmann, or even Josh Koscheck, who Hendricks previously vanquished. Really, and maybe I’m not giving Ellenberger the respect he deserves, but I think this is a pretty favourable matchup for Hendricks and the UFC is giving him a fight that they know will more than likely end up with Hendricks as the No. 1 contender still. And if Ellenberger somehow pulls off the upset, then he can jump into the mix, too, because he’d be a fresh opponent for St-Pierre.

But while that’s all true, the fact of the matter is Hendricks got robbed of a title shot by a man less deserving, and now he has to go and prove he’s the No. 1 contender yet again. Expect him to do so, and then expect him to give St-Pierre a hell of a fight when the two finally meet down the road, because we all know it’s bound to happen.

What Do You Think of This Fight/Event?