MMA Fan’s Guide To FIFA World Cup: Russia 2018

Back by popular demand!


It’s world cup week so everyone in the sporting universe can’t help but get caught up in big tournament fever. Can Brazil do it? Will France live up to their potential? Can Messi/Ronaldo get Argentina/Portugal over the line? Most folks don’t know the answers to these questions; some don’t even know what the questions mean! That’s where I step in with my team-by-team guide to the 2018 world cup for the MMA fan in your life. Enjoy!


Group A




Fighter equivalent – Darren Till


Hometown advantage might see them surprise a few people.


Odds – 40/1




Saudi Arabia



Fighter equivalent – Jan Blachowicz


Good locally, but unlikely to cause too many problems to the big boys.


Odds – 1000/1






Fighter equivalent – Nik Lentz


One extremely dangerous asset but limited outside of that.


Odds – 200/1








Fighter equivalent – Anthony Johnson


Devastating attack which probably won’t be enough to win anything.


Odds – 28/1






Group B




Fighter equivalent – Stephen Thompson


One of the best in the world but the final hurdle could be a problem at world level.


Odds – 25/1








Fighter equivalent – Georges St-Pierre


Technically superb and unbeatable for years with possibly a little bit still left to achieve.


Odds – 6/1








Fighter equivalent – Gian Villante


Not terrible, but not great either.


Odds – 500/1








Fighter equivalent – Ricky Rainey


Not bad at a lower level, unlikely to ever win at a higher level.


Odds – 500/1






Group C




Fighter equivalent – Cody Garbrandt


All the talent in the world, could be champion again soon but also may implode at any moment.


Odds – 13/2








Fighter equivalent – Bec Rawlings


Would probably be better off competing in a rougher, more violent sport.


Odds – 300/1







Fighter equivalent – Renato Moicano


Plucky South Americans with the sum of the parts being greater than the individual assets.


Odds – 150/1








Fighter equivalent – Corey Anderson


Talented beasts who are probably not getting too much higher than their current position.


Odds – 100/1






Group D




Fighter equivalent – Conor McGregor


The most talented attack in the world. Getting them to perform is the biggest issue.


Odds – 9/1








Fighter equivalent – Aleksei Oleinik


The trickiest of underdogs. Can catch anyone if they aren’t fully prepared for what they bring.

Odds – 200/1








Fighter equivalent – Joe Benavidez


Very good technically but just below the very best.


Odds – 33/1








Fighter equivalent – Donald Cerrone


Have qualities in all areas but none of which are enough to get them to the very top.


Odds – 200/1





Group E




Fighter equivalent – Amanda Nunes


Brilliant attack, improving all the time. Might just be the best in the world.


Odds – 9/2








Fighter equivalent – Brad Tavares


Always a steady mid-level talent that shows up and performs respectably.


Odds – 100/1






Costa Rica


Fighter equivalent – Dheigo Lima


Fun to watch but won’t be around the big stage for too long.


Odds – 500/1








Fighter equivalent – Alexander Volkov


Steady and hard to beat.


Odds – 150/1






Group F




Fighter equivalent – Stipe Miocic


One of the biggest hitters about to face their biggest test.


Odds – 5/1








Fighter equivalent – Thomas Almeida


Always fun to watch. Usually ends up entertained but disappointed.


Odds – 100/1








Fighter equivalent – Johny Hendricks


Still good but their ability to take them to world level has been relocated somewhere in America.


Odds – 125/1





South Korea


Fighter equivalent – Amanda Cooper


Will probably be outclassed and finished off early.


Odds – 500/1






Group G




Fighter equivalent – Zabit Magomedsharipov


Exceptional talent in every area of the game. All that’s left to do is to prove it against the very best.


Odds – 11/1








Fighter equivalent – Ash Griffiths


Don’t know anything about them apart from the fact they are taking on someone we know.


Odds – 1000/1








Fighter equivalent – Mike Jackson


Also coming in here to take on someone we know.


Odds – 750/1








Fighter equivalent – Frankie Edgar


Talk a great game. Insane fans. Won the world title like 50 years ago. Won’t win it again in the near future.


Odds – 16/1






Group H




Fighter equivalent – Bryan Caraway


Only see them every few years but they always seem to still be relatively good.


Odds – 66/1








Fighter equivalent – Glover Teixeira


Way better upon inspection than taking them at face value. Plenty of talent.


Odds – 150/1








Fighter equivalent – Jimi Manuwa


Great attacking options which will be useless because of deficiencies elsewhere.


Odds – 40/1








Fighter equivalent – Felice Herrig


Very hard-working. Difficult for anyone but should be beaten by more talented outfits.


Odds – 300/1


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