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

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: Brandon Thatch vs. Stephen Thompson, UFC Fight Night 60

My pick for the best new fight announced this past week is the upcoming welterweight battle at UFC Fight Night 60 between Brandon Thatch and Stephen Thompson. The card takes place February 14 at 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado, and Thatch vs. Thompson is expected to serve as either the main or co-main event. And it’s well deserved.

This is an absolutely fantastic matchup between two of the deadliest strikers in the UFC welterweight division, and it should deliver a ton of violent excitement for the fans. Thatch, who is from Colorado, hasn’t fought since last November due to injuries, but in his first two UFC fights he showed why he’s an A-level prospect, with vicious stoppages over Justin Edwards and Paulo Thiago. As for Thompson, he is 5-1 overall in the UFC, and is currently riding a four-fight win streak since his lone career loss to Matt Brown at UFC 145, a loss that in hindsight doesn’t even look bad at all.

It’s a shame that Thatch has been out for so long, but I do expect him to return to the form he left us with when he steps back into the cage next February against Thompson. As for Thompson, in his last fight he didn’t look amazing against Patrick Cote, as he wasn’t able to get the finish despite hurting his opponent on multiple occasions. He respected the veteran Cote too much, but I don’t think he’ll make the same mistake against Thatch, who is younger than him, and who I doubt Thompson particularly respects.

Matching up Thompson’s karate/kickboxing attack with Thatch’s deadly Muay Thai should result in one of the most violent welterweight bouts of 2015, and I absolutely urge you to circle Valentine’s Day on your calendar and remember to watch this fight when that date rolls around, because it’s going to be a good one.

UFC Fight Night 60

Brandon Thatch vs. Stephen Thompson

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Worst: Darren Elkins vs. Hacran Dias, UFC Fight Night 58

My pick for the worst new fight announced this past week is the upcoming featherweight bout at UFC Fight Night 58 between Darren Elkins and Hacran Dias. The card takes place December 20 at Ginasio Jose Correa in Barueri, Brazil, and Elkins vs. Dias is set for the televised preliminary portion of the card.

I understand why this fight was booked, and from a matchmaker’s point of view I get it, but from a fan’s perspective this is about as dull of a matchup as you can find on the upcoming UFC calendar. While both Elkins and Dias are solid fighters, they are both grinders who like to push their opponents up against the fence for 15 minutes, and no, that does not make for an entertaining fight at all.

I guess it’s possible that both fighters’ fondness for fence clinching might cancel itself out, and the fight could take place in the center of the Octagon, but if that’s the case, boy, I’m not looking forward to that either, because neither guy is a good striker at all, and if that happens, we’ll get an ugly kickboxing match. Who wants to see a striking battle between two guys who simply aren’t very good strikers?

Regardless of whether the fight stays standing or it stays on the fence, I don’t think it’s going to be fun to watch, and instead of booking these two fighters together to halt one grinder’s ascension up the featherweight ranks, the UFC would have been wise to match them up with up-and-coming strikers instead, to test their wrestling out. But I digress.

UFC Fight Night 58

Darren Elkins vs. Hacran Dias

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UFC Fight Night 58: Machida vs. Dollaway is due to take place on December 20, 2014 at the Jose Correa Arena in Barueri, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Click the stars to rate how good you think UFC Fight Night 58 will be.

UFC Fight Night 60: Henderson vs. Thatch (formerly UFC Fight Night 60: Brown vs. Saffiedine, UFC Fight Night 60: Thatch vs. Thompson) is due to take place on February 14, 2015 at 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado.

Click the stars to rate how good you think UFC Fight Night 60 will be.

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