First and Worst: Week of February 10 – February 16, 2014

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: Raphael Assuncao vs. Pedro Munhoz, UFC 170

My pick for the best fight announced this past week is the upcoming bantamweight battle at UFC 170 between Raphael Assuncao and UFC newcomer Pedro Munhoz, who is filling in for an injured Francisco Rivera. It’s thought that, with a win, Assuncao will earn the next crack at the UFC bantamweight title against Renan Barão, although nothing has been promised yet.

Unlike the worst fight of the week, which is also a replacement bout, at least this fight makes sense. Sure, Assuncao vs. Rivera would have been a killer fight, but Rivera broke his hand, so the UFC signed the best bantamweight prospect in the world (and the reigning RFA champ) to fill his spot.

I think that Munhoz is an excellent fighter, and although I do favor Assuncao in this matchup, I can’t count out Munhoz, who has looked like an absolute beast on the regional circuit. Sure, this is a huge step up for him, but he has been destroying everyone that’s been put in front of him in RFA, and he’s earned his shot in the UFC.

Although it would have been better for Munhoz to debut against someone ranked lower, the UFC needed to get Assuncao a fight, and they signed the best bantamweight not currently in the UFC, Bellator, or WSOF to do so. Bravo, as this this should be an excellent fight, and both men could be in the running for a Performance of the Night or Fight of the Night award at UFC 170. I’m looking forward to it.

UFC 170

Raphael Assuncao vs. Pedro Munhoz

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Worst: Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins, UFC 170

My pick for the worst fight announced this past week is the light heavyweight bout at UFC 170 between former Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion Daniel Cormier and UFC newcomer Patrick Cummins. Cummins is a late fill-in replacement opponent for Rashad Evans, who pulled out of the fight earlier in the week with a knee injury.

I know the UFC was put in a tough spot with UFC 170 coming up this weekend and Cormier needing an opponent, but are you telling me they couldn’t find someone better than Cummins? Really, UFC, this is the co-main event of a $60 pay-per-view card?

This fight sucks, and I’m not afraid to say it. With all due respect to Cummins, if he was as good as some are saying he is, he would have been signed with the UFC earlier than this past week, not working the drive-thru in a coffee shop. And no, I don’t think that “makes for a great story” as some of the media is saying – I actually think it’s kind of sad that the promotion is selling him as a competitive opponent for Cormier, a world-class athlete, and one of the best mixed martial artists on the


Cummins seems like a good prospect, but this isn’t a fair fight for him or Cormier, and most importantly for the fans. Having only four pro fights (against opponents with losing records, to boot) doesn’t get you a fight with Cormier, one of the best fighters in the world, on PPV. Not a chance — or, at least it shouldn’t.

The people who are defending this matchmaking are saying hey, at least we get to see Cormier fight, and hey, Cummins beat him up in practice. Well first off, Cormier is a guy who has broken his hand many times. This is MMA, and anything can happen – and it often does. So if he goes in there and knocks Cummins out but breaks his hand in the process, none of us should be shocked. To me, the risk of injury – and of course being KO’d by a flailing four-ounce glove by Cummins – is much too high for Cormier, and not only do I think he shouldn’t have accepted the fight, I think he should have never been offered it in the first place.

I understand Cormier cut all that weight to get down to 205, but his reward was supposed to be a fight with Evans, the former champ, not some guy working at Starbucks. Even if Cummins shocks the world and knocks Cormier out, this is some of the worst matchmaking in the history of the UFC, and I cannot believe there are so many people defending this as the co-main event of UFC 170.

Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins

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UFC 170: Rousey vs. McMann is due to take place on February 22, 2014 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click the stars to rate how good you think UFC 170 will be.

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