First and Worst: Week of October 21 – October 27, 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: Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva, TBA 2014

My pick for the best fight announced this week is a light heavyweight bout that will take place in mid-2014 between TUF Brazil 3 coaches Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva, and which is expected to be one of the most highly-anticipated fights of next year.

This is a fight that many fans of the sport, including myself, have been calling for ever since Sonnen started talking smack about Brazilians a few years ago in the lead-up to his first fight with Anderson Silva. Sonnen made many rude comments that offended Wanderlei. The bad blood then reached an all-time high this fall, first when Silva sent out a viral video calling Sonnen out, and then after the two had an altercation at a fan event in Las Vegas which was put on the internet . This got even more fans excited for a potential matchup.

So this rivalry has been brewing for quite a long time, and the UFC will finally capitalize on it next year on TUF Brazil 3, when these two coach opposite one another on the Brazilian version of the UFC’s reality show.

As far as a matchup goes, I think Sonnen vs. Silva is very intriguing. On one hand you have Sonnen, who is one of the top wrestlers in the light heavyweight division, and on the other hand you have Silva, who has been one of the most dangerous standup fighters in the world for the last 15 years. It’s an excellent style clash, and that’s why I’m personally so excited about it, because I honestly don’t know who will win.

However, I’m sure the majority of fans are going to be more excited about all the drama on TUF and what these two will say in the media in the lead-up to the fight. And honestly I can’t blame them, because I expect the trash talk between Sonnen and Silva to be very entertaining, just as the little jabs these two have directed at one another over the last few years has been.

This is going to be a fantastic fight, as these are two of the most entertaining fighters both in and out of the cage, and the UFC made the right choice by booking it.

Worst: Alexander Gustafsson vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, UFC London 2014

My pick for the worst fight announced this past week is the upcoming light heavyweight bout between Alexander Gustafsson and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira that will headline the UFC London 2014 event next March.

It’s ironic that I call this the worst matchup announced in the last seven days, because it was a fight that I personally thought should have been booked, so let me explain my reasoning.

The fight makes sense because the UFC wanted Jon Jones to fight Glover Teixeira, and because Gustafsson and Phil Davis won’t fight each other. So as far as the top 10 fighters left that were unbooked, Little Nog was the only guy that made sense for Gustafsson to fight.

But just because the fight makes sense doesn’t mean it’s a good fight.

Yes, I know that Little Nog is coming off a big win over Rashad Evans, but that fight had more to do with Evans beating himself than anything else. There’s nothing that Little Nog did in that fight that made me believe he’s a true contender at 205, while in the case of Gustafsson, he’s coming off a close loss to Jones that opened up everyone’s eyes to just how good this guy is.

Although Little Nog has pulled off the upset before, I don’t think many are going to give him a chance against Gustafsson, and I would agree with that sentiment, as there’s no doubt in my mind that Gustafsson is going to finish Little Nog – a man I have great respect for – in impressive fashion.

I think this fight has more to do with the fact that the UFC has 35 shows next year and needs headliners for cards. So instead of doing Jones vs. Gustafsson 2 right away, they can be split up against two fighters who they should beat, and therefore the UFC can build momentum for both of them as they head into a giant rematch next summer. And that makes sense.

But it doesn’t mean I have to like an uncompetitive match, and I think that’s what Gustafsson vs. Little Nog will be – an easy win for The Mauler. And I’m not sure why beating Little Nog will make anyone more confident in Gustafsson heading into his rematch with Jones, but I guess the UFC knows something we don’t.

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