Five For Fighting – June’s Best Upcoming Fights

cubvsjeremy

At the start of each month I will pick out my five favourite fights for the upcoming four weeks. After a tiring end to May, with 22 fights on Saturday night, June is shaping up well with Cage Warriors’ biggest show of the year next weekend as well as a UFC PPV and their usual Fox sports programming over the next thirty days. Here are my favourite quintet of bouts.

Jake Bostwick v. Simione Thoresen at Cage Warriors 69 – June 7th

Super Saturday is about as stacked a card as possible in Europe today and, for me, this is the one which could steal the show – although it’s one of many great match-ups. Jake Bostwick is one of Cage Warriors most regular and exciting fighters. He welcomes Simione Thorsen to the promotion after a spell in the UFC. Bostwick has heavy hands and isn’t afraid to throw them while Thoresen is a wizard on the ground. Wherever this fight goes expect fireworks.

Benson Henderson v. Rustam Khabilov at UFC Fight Night 42 – June 7th

Having given up his precariously held lightweight title to old foe Anthony Pettis in August of last year, Benson Henderson bounced back well when beating Josh Thomson in January and will be looking to cement his place in the title picture with another win here against Rustam Khabilov. The Russian, like all UFC Russians, is a sambo master with heavy hands who will have no trouble mixing it with the wiry American. Henderson is a Jack of all trades but a master of none. He is an adequate wrestler and striker but has yet to finish anyone in the UFC. What makes this one unmissable is Khabilov. This is his litmus test. If he can beat Henderson he will climb the rankings and put himself right in the title picture. This may not be the most exciting fight in the world but with Henderson being notoriously hard to beat (on the scorecards especially) it’s intriguing to see how it plays out.

Myles Jury v. Abel Trujillo at UFC Fight Night 44 – June 29th

Anyone who is familiar with these two fighters won’t need too much convincing to watch this one. Trujillo is a powerhouse striker who swings wildly with both hands despite his seeming weakness in the wrestling department. Jury, on the other hand, has a grappling base (he holds a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt) coupled with a magnificently sculpted boxing game which has improved drastically in recent times. This is a real battle of power versus technique. If Trujillo lands one punch it could all be over instantly. Or Jury could avoid that power, pick Trujillo apart before out-classing and finishing him. Whichever way it goes, it will be good.

Rory MacDonald v Tyron Woodley at UFC 174 – June 14th

The only difference between this fight and the previous Jury/Trujillo fight is the wrestling ability of Tyron Woodley. MacDonald is the technical striker here and uses distance to pick off his opponents. Woodley, though, is the master of closing distance. His varied attacks keep his opponent constantly guessing to whether the takedown or the overhand is coming. MacDonald has made a career out of avoiding power, circling and attacking when it suits him. And that ability to avoid the power is huge against Woodley, who has TNT in both gloves. They say styles make fights, this one should concur with that thought.

Cub Swanson v. Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night 44 – June 29th

When this fight was initially made the universal feeling was that is looked a huge risk for Cub Swanson. The Jackson/Winkeljohn student was on the verge of a title shot with Jose Aldo but was pipped at the post by Chad Mendes. Instead, he draws an extremely tough assignment against #10 ranked knockout artist Jeremy Stephens. This is the type of fight top-5 ranked competitors turn down regularly. A lower ranked opponent who is extremely dangerous and looking to make a name for himself (see Khabib Nurmagomedov) is an extremely unattractive proposition. Nevertheless, Swanson has much to lose whoever stands opposite him on the night with a title shot still looming. I see this one playing out almost totally on the feet, although both men are relatively happy on the deck as well. Swanson has been self deprecating in the past over the level of power he has in his hands but with four finishes in his last five he may well have done himself a disservice. There is no questioning the power of Stephens – if he lands that right hand it’s curtains. This one is scheduled for five rounds. I’d be very surprised if it went three

 

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma