UFC Fight Night 65 Interest Rankings

Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao may have been the fight of the century, but that’s only because it happened before Anthony Perosh vs Sean O’Connell.UFC Fight Night 65 Poster

So UFC Fight Night 65 kicks off in Adelaide, Australia later tonight on Fight Pass, and as is the case for Fight Pass cards, it’s not the most inspiring event. There’s a major drop-off from what should be a fantastic heavyweight fight between top contenders Mark Hunt and Stipe Miocic and the rest of the card.

With that being said, I’m still interested in a lot of the match-ups (likely because I’m a degenerate), and in an effort to map said interest out, here’s my super elite rankings of the fights I’m interested from most interested to least. It goes without saying that this is CLEARLY how the Reebok fighter pay should be allocated.

1. Mark Hunt (10-9-1) vs Stipe Miocic (12-2)
There’s a high variance in the quality of heavyweight fight. Rarely is there a middle-ground of “that was an okay fight”. It’s either a sloppy, slow-paced fight or a memorable fight that’s a slobbernocker or a finish.

This one should fall in the latter category. Mark Hunt rarely disappoints with his powerful striking and atomic butt drops, and the athletic Stipe Miocic has really progressed at a rapid rate with his technical striking. The winner of this one puts himself on the short track for a title shot.

2. Brad Tavares (13-3) vs Robert Whittaker (13-4)
What hurts this fight from a perspective standpoint is that it’s in the co-main event slot. If you eliminate the expectation of what the penultimate bout of the night should be, this promises to be a relevant and exciting middleweight bout. Whittaker has looked better since moving up to middleweight, and his aggressive striking approach should bring the best out of a technically sound Brad Tavares.

3. Jake Matthews (8-0) vs James Vick (7-0)
This is a significant fight for both lightweight up-and-comers. Only 20 years old, Jake Matthews has shown enough thus far in every facet of his game to provide enough promise to be a future contender in the lightweight division, and James Vick has the kind of reach and boxing to eventually become a stalwart in the UFC lightweight division. Matthews should be able to push the pace and give Vick the kind of challenge that he hasn’t faced quite yet.

4. Daniel Hooker (11-5) vs Hatsu Hioki (27-8-2)
Hooker’s constantly involved in fun striking matches, while Hioki is constantly involved in fun grappling matches. Regardless of where the fight plays out, this should be a strong contender for fight of the night, and I’m always excited to see Hioki. Hioki’s had a tough go in the UFC since arriving so much expectation, but I think this will be the point where he turns it around and pieces together a nice run of submission wins.

5. Bill Simmons
As far as I know, Bill Simmons won’t be fighting Saturday night, but still, what the hell happened yesterday with John Skipper announcing that Simmons won’t be back with ESPN after September? As a fan of sports and writing, thanks for Grantland, Simmons.

6. Jonavin Webb (8-0, 1 NC) vs Kyle Noke (20-7-1)
The majority of the interest I have in this fight is with Jonavin Webb. He’s a really interesting prospect that’s had his up-and-downs with CFFC, and I’m curious about how he’ll look against a veteran in Noke.

7. Alex Chambers (4-2) vs Kailin Curran (3-1)
Based on Kailin Curran’s uber-aggressive approach on the feet and with her grappling game and Alex Chamber’s propensity for being in fights that end in a finish, this one should be full of action. Also, the winner has a real chance of having a real presence in a developing strawweight division.

8. Alptekin Ozkilic (9-3) vs Ben Nguyen (13-5)
Flyweight fights promise action, and Ozkilic vs Nguyen should live up to that promise. Ozkilic has shown quite a bit with his wrestling in his 1-2 UFC, and I’m interested in Ben Nguyen, who has earned internet notoriety thanks to this viral video.

9. Lisa Ellis (15-9) vs Bec Rawlings (5-4)
While I’m not super enthused about the ceiling of either female bantamweight, there’s real bad blood between these two. Rawlings is a fun fighter to watch both inside the cage with her pace and outside the cage with her personality, and she could make me look dumb with the comment about her limited ceiling when it’s all said and done. Rawlings has been in tough fighters since early on in her career, and she has enough athleticism to improve her tools at a quick rate.

10. Anthony Perosh (15-8) vs Sean O’Connell (16-6)
You’ve got to respect the Hippo.

11. Dylan Andrews (17-6, 1 NC) vs Bradley Scott (9-3)
Even though he hasn’t been able to convert it into wins, Andrews has shown some nice skills with his striking and wrestling. Bradley Scott’s constant approach should turn this fight into a sleeper fight of the night candidate.

12. Bernie Saunders (9-3) vs Ben Carson (12-4)
Alright, this isn’t a real fight.

13. Vik Grujic (6-4) vs Brendan O’Reilly (5-1, 1 NC)
Each coming off losses, both TUF Nations contestants are both a long ways away from being even in the middle tier of welterweights, but a potential trek to that spot for either one could start tonight.

14. Sam Alvey (25-6, 1 NC) vs Dan Kelly (9-0)
This ranking isn’t fair. It really pains me to rank Sam Alvey so low. He has a wonderful personality, and he’s finished two straight fights in the first. But it was more painful to re-watch Daniel Kelly vs Patrick this past week.