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Fantasy Featherweight Tournament


With the brief lull in MMA action, what better time to get the crazy debates going with some fantasy tournaments in each of the weight divisions.  We will be looking to crown "The Don’s Fantasy Champions” in seven weight classes.  While we know that the UFC will never go back to a tournament format or co-promote with any other organization, our minds and keyboards are not bound by such politics.

Over the next seven days we will look at each weight division and hold 8 man fantasy tournaments in each class.  We will seed the fighters one through eight in a bracket formula and look at who will win each fight and why. 

These types of predictions/projections usually spark great debates among the MMA fans.  First of all it’s difficult to decide which eight fighters will participate and then choosing winners really causes the fun and debates begin…  so bring it on!!!

The seedings are based primarily on rankings from our good friends at with a few minor variations in several weight classes.

The quarter- and semi-final bouts would be three rounds with the final bout being a five round affair.  The seedings are in parenthesis below.




Today we will look at the Featherweight division and the seedings/match-ups are as follows:


(1) Jose Aldo  vs.  (8) Michihiro Omigawa

(4) Bibiano Fernandes  vs.  (5) Josh Grispi

(3) Mike Brown  vs.  (6) Marlon Sandro

(2) Manny Gamburyan  vs.  (7) Joe Warren


Round 1 Match-ups:


Aldo vs. Omigawa – Omigawa has been making quite a splash recently in Japan but facing Aldo is a totally different ballgame.  Aldo been dominant in his WEC (and now UFC) run and is a bad match-up for anyone in the featherweight (and maybe lightweight) division.  Omigawa will come forward only to be knocked out by the buzz-saw that is Jose Aldo.  The only question is when and the prediction here says mid way through round one.


Aldo over Omigawa by KO in round one.


Fernandes vs. Grispi—There would be a lot of experts who would hand this fight to Fernandes easily.  I think this would be a great fight as both are young and talented but somewhat untested.  Fernandez has likely faced the stiffer competition thus far (until Grispi squares off with Aldo) and that should provide the edge needed for Fernandes to smother and attack Grispi on the ground throughout and earn a close but unanimous decision.


Fernandes over Grispi by unanimous decision.


Brown vs. Sandro – Brown was once on top of the world in the featherweight division but recent losses to Jose Aldo and Manny Gamburyan have brought him back to Earth.  Sandro was once looked at as a boring fighter who used his superior grappling to control opponents and win decisions but recently Sandro has been a wrecking ball with his fists taking out opponents in brutal short order.  Brown has proved susceptible to strong strikers with good takedown defense which is exactly what Sandro brings to the table meaning a very bad match-up for Brown.  This one gets into the second round before Sandro lands the big shot that sends Brown to the canvas where Sandro follows up for the TKO win.


Sandro over Brown by TKO in round two.


Gamburyan vs. Warren -- A battle of two tough fighters who probably not gotten the respect they deserve.  Gamburyan has dropped down from lightweight and used his added power to KO the likes of former champion Mike Brown and move near the top of the featherweight division.  Warren is a standout wrestler who has used his takedowns and top control to smother most opponents but Warren came back from the brink of defeat to stun Joe Soto to win the Bellator featherweight title with a devastating second round TKO.  This fight comes down to who can impose his will and Warren is quickly proving that he may be the most mentally tough competitor in MMA which should lead him to a unanimous decision win over Gamburyan.


Warren over Gamburyan by unanimous decision.



Round Two match-ups:


Aldo vs. Fernandes -- Wow, a great semi-final tilt here with Aldo’s striking taking on Fernandes’ grappling.  The difference here will be that Aldo’s advantage in the striking game far outweighs any advantage Fernandes may have on the ground.  Look for another big win from Aldo as he is able to avoid the takedowns from Fernandes and impose his will on the feet on his way to a second round TKO stoppage.


Aldo over Fernandes by TKO in round two.


Sandro vs. Warren – The wrestling of Warren could frustrate Sandro early in the fight as Warren relentlessly attempts his takedowns but Sandro possesses more power in his punches than Joe Soto and Soto nearly finished Warren in the first round of their fight.  The first round will see Sandro on the defensive throughout but in the second round Sandro will find his striking range and even though Warren may be mentally and physically strong, that strength goes out the window if you are punched unconscious which is what Sandro will do in round two.


Sandro over Warren by TKO in round two.





Jose Aldo vs. Marlon Sandro -- This is truly a fantasy bout as both men train with the Nova Uniao group in Brazil so this fight will likely never happen.  In fact this bout was featured in a column I wrote back in July (check it out on from July 25) on fights we’d love to see but probably never will.  In that column I said that Aldo would likely be able to control Sandro with his quickness and power and I have seen nothing since that time to change my mind. It would certainly be a great fight and the fans would truly be the winner if this fight ever did take place.  Aldo would emerge victorious but not without a struggle as this fight goes into the championship rounds before Aldo can wear down his teammate and earn a late stoppage.


Aldo over Sandro by TKO in round five to win The Don’s Fantasy Featherweight Title.

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