First and Worst: Week of December 8 – December 14, 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: Alan Jouban vs. Richard Walsh, UFC 184

My pick for the best new fight announced this past week is the welterweight battle at UFC 184 between Alan Jouban and Richard Walsh. The card takes place February 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, and this matchup will be a part of the preliminary card.

I really like this fight for a few reasons. First off, both men are coming off of controversial decision losses, with Jouban falling to Warlley Alves in Brazil at UFC Fight Night 56 and Walsh falling to Kiichi Kunimoto in Japan at UFC Fight Night 52. I feel like the UFC realized how close those fights were, and instead of pushing both of these men down the crowded welterweight ladder, the promotion is instead giving each man a shot to move up.

I also like the fight because it’s a good stylistic matchup. With Jouban, his striking is phenomenal and he has a great rubber guard. Contrast that with a tough, in-your-face grinder in Walsh, and you have the makings of a classic striker vs. grappler matchup. So from a stylistic point of view, it’s a very good fight.

I also like the fight because it makes sense considering the rankings. Walsh, a TUF Nations veteran, is 1-1 in the UFC while Jouban is also 1-1. Both men also have a similar number of pro fights, with Walsh having 10 bouts (plus his TUF exhibition matches) and Jouban having 13. So it’s a very even fight from that aspect as well.

Overall it’s just good matchmaking, and in a week light with fight announcements, this bout stood out as the best, at least in my eyes.

UFC 184

Alan Jouban vs. Richard Walsh

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Worst: Neil Magny vs. Kiichi Kunimoto, UFC Fight Night 60

My pick for the worst new fight announced this past week is the upcoming welterweight bout at UFC Fight Night 60 between Neil Magny and Kiichi Kunimoto, which takes place February 14 at 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado. With Magny being a native of Colorado, and considering he’s on a long win streak, it’s likely this bout will be on the evening’s main card.

A few weeks ago, Magny was booked to fight Josh Koscheck in a fight I just didn’t think made any sense. Magny is currently riding a five-fight win streak and has been nothing short of impressive, while Koscheck has lost his last three in a row. The UFC had second thoughts on that matchup and instead decided to pair up Koscheck with Jake Ellenberger. That left Magny without a fight, and with the UFC visiting his home state, the UFC had to find someone for him. They decided that should be Kunimoto.

Personally, I wanted to see Magny fight someone with a name in the top 15 coming off of a win, such as Rick Story or Ryan LaFlare, but instead the promotion decided to pair Magny up with Kunimoto, who is 3-0 in the UFC but really isn’t much of a name, nor is he really a step up in competition for Magny. Kunimoto may be 3-0 in the Octagon and on a seven-fight win streak overall, but most thought he didn’t deserve to get the nod over Richard Walsh in a controversial decision in his last fight, and one of his other wins came by DQ when he was knocked out with illegal strikes. I’m not trying to put down Kunimoto too much here, because I do think he’s a solid fighter, but I don’t think he has done anything to deserve a fight with Magny.

I just don’t see what this fight accomplishes. If Magny wins, sure it’s six wins in a row in the UFC, but over relative nobodies. For Kunimoto, a win over Magny would definitely raise his stock at 170 lbs, but at the same time, Magny isn’t really a true contender, so it doesn’t really put him that close to the top 15 even if he gets the upset (and I don’t see that happening, to be honest).

I just have a feeling this is going to be a typical three-round grinding decision, and at the end of 15 minutes, one man will pick up another win on his record. But will it mean anything as far as the division goes? I don’t think so.

UFC Fight Night 60

Neil Magny vs. Kiichi Kunimoto

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UFC 184: Rousey vs. Zingano (formerly UFC 184: Weidman vs. Belfort) is due to take place on February 28, 2015 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

Click the stars to rate how good you think UFC 184 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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