First and Worst: Week of February 18 to February 24, 2013

By Adam Martin

First and Worst is an ongoing series for MMARatings.net, 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: Gray Maynard vs. TJ Grant, UFC

My pick for the best fight announced
this past week is the upcoming lightweight duel between contenders Gray Maynard
and TJ Grant, which takes place at UFC 160 on May 25 at MGM Grand Garden Arena
in Las Vegas, Nevada. The winner of the bout is expected to be in line for a
lightweight title shot.

This is a fantastic matchup between
two of the very best 155-pound fighters in the world. We all know how good
Maynard is. His three fights with Frankie Edgar were absolutely epic, and he
also holds wins over other top fighters like Nate Diaz and Dennis Siver.

Maynard is an excellent wrestler
with heavy hands, but he’ll have some question marks surrounding him going into
this bout, since he hasn’t fought since his stinker against Clay Guida back at
UFC on FX 4 last June due to a variety of injuries. Will the long layoff affect
him against Grant, who is the hottest fighter in the whole division?

Grant has been on an absolute tear
as of late, buzzsawing through Matt Wiman, Evan Dunham, Carlo Prater, and Shane Roller since making the drop from welterweight to lightweight. Grant was
already a good fighter when he fought at 170 pounds, but at 155 pounds he’s a
great fighter, and someone who needs to be taken very seriously by the other

This fight should take place
standing, and I expect it to be a real brawl. While Maynard does have the
wrestling advantage, I just don’t know if he’ll use it in this fight, since
Grant is such a skilled grappler himself. Wherever the fight goes, though,
expect it to be absolutely sensational and possibly win “Fight of the Night.”

Worst: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Abel
Trujilo, UFC 160

The worst fight announced in the
past week in my opinion is Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Abel Trujilo, another
lightweight fight booked for UFC 160. Nurmagomedov is already ranked in the top
10 of the UFC’s official lightweight rankings, while Trujilo could jump up into
the upper echelon of the division with a surprise win here.

I say surprise because I honestly
don’t see Trujilo having much of a chance against Nurmagomedov, who has one of
the longest winning streaks in the sport at 19 straight (with no draws). After
defeating veterans Thiago Tavares, Gleison Tibau, and Kamal Shalorus in his
first three UFC appearances, I figured the UFC would have given him a top
contender, but they have instead matched the 24-year-old Russian up with
Trujilo, who has only one fight in the UFC.

Sure, Trujilo’s lone UFC bout was a
dominant TKO victory over Marcus LeVesseur, but keep in mind that was Marcus
LeVesseur. Nurmagomedov is a far superior fighter, and there’s no way Trujilo
is just going to run through him like he did “The Prospect.” This is an
extremely difficult matchup for “Killa,” and the only way I see Trujilo winning
is if Nurmagomedov doesn’t take him seriously and gets caught with a fluke

I’m not sure what the UFC’s plan
with Nurmagomedov is, but perhaps they are trying to build him a winning streak
so they can use him as a showcase fighter when they go to Russia later this
year, similar to Erik Perez and their plans to go into Mexico. Regardless, I
don’t like this fight very much because I see it as pretty one-sided, although
I admit it could be fun while it lasts.


UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Bigfoot II is due to take place on May 25, 2013 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click the stars to rate how good you think UFC 160 will be.

What Do You Think of This Fight/Event?