HYDEN’S TAKE: TJ Dillashaw vs. Cody Garbrandt, Anderson Silva vs. Kelvin Gastelum, and Francis Ngannou left without an opponent

BY FRANK HYDEN, MMATorch Columnist

Cody Garbrandt (photo credit Mark J. Rebilas © USA Today Sports)

Again, there were no big events this past week, but there has been some big news. UFC Bantamweight Champion Cody Garbrandt will defend his title against T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 217. This will be the second title fight on that card, as it joins UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping defending against Georges St. Pierre. I covered GSP-Bisping last week so I’ll refrain from going on about it here, but Dillashaw-Garbrandt really adds to this card. I’m sure it would have sold very well on its own, what with the return of GSP, but this fight adds depth.

It’s also almost assuredly going to be an exciting fight. Dillashaw presses the action and is all about movement, and Garbrandt is a hard hitter who can turn the lights out in an instant. Also, both men are very tough. That’s why I don’t think this ends early. It’s asking too much to expect someone to knock out fighters the caliber of Dillashaw and Garbrandt early. However, I do expect fireworks, and a late stoppage by Garbrandt. I think Dillashaw is really tough, but he gets stopped late in the fifth round. I think Garbrandt goes all-out for the finish after wearing down Dillashaw.

There have also been reports that the UFC is also targeting a fight between UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Rose Namajunas. If this is true, that immediately becomes the fight I’m most interested in seeing on this card. Nothing against Dillashaw-Garbrandt, which should be very exciting, but I loving watching Jedrzejczyk fight. Rose Namajunas is a badass as well. You have two of the best strawweights in the world, two of the best fighters in the world, going at it. This would just be a tremendous treat to get three title fights on this card. I’m certainly not going to expect it, but it would be awesome if it comes true.

In a fight that I don’t think that many are excited for, the UFC has rebooked the fight between Anderson Silva and Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Fight Night 122. It was originally scheduled for June of this year, but Gastelum was pulled due to his drug test failure after his win over Vitor Belfort. That was overturned to a No Contest, but now Silva-Gastelum has been booked again.

I don’t know, I think we all could have done without this fight being booked. In his last fight, Gastelum lost to Chris Weidman. Before that was the No Contest with Vitor Belfort. Silva beat Derek Brunson in his last fight, but before that he had lost four of his last five fights. These are guys headed in opposite directions. Gastelum is 25 years old and looking to get better with each fight, while Silva is 42 years old and trying to not get worse with each fight. I don’t think the winner gains much from this, other than maybe some rankings points, which currently has Silva ahead of Gastelum anyway. So if Silva were to somehow win, he beats a guy who might be better off at welterweight. If Gastelum wins, he beats a guy who is a legend, but has dropped precipitously in the last few years. I think Gastelum wins, probably by decision, but doesn’t gain much momentum.

Junios Dos Santos was scheduled to fight Francis Ngannou at UFC 215 in September, but has been pulled from that fight after a USADA violation. Ngannou wants Alistair Overeem to step in to face him, which I think would be great, but it’s probably not all that likely considering how close the fight is. JDS says the violation is for a diuretic, not a PED, and his name will be cleared soon. We’ll see, but in the meantime it sucks to have this happen. Ngannou is a fresh new face in the heavyweight division and I was looking forward to seeing him fight again. JDS was going to be a tough opponent for him and I wanted to see how he would deal with the big step up in opponent. If Overeem steps in, that would still be a big step up in opponent, but it would also be short notice. I hope Ngannou can stay on the card, as he looks to make a move up the rankings towards a title shot.

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank

NOW CHECK OUT HYDEN’S PREVIOUS TAKE: Interesting fights coming soon from McGregor vs. Mayweather to the possibility of Lesnar vs. Jones to GSP vs. Bisping

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