Mika Zibanejad Helps the New York Rangers from Looking Foolish in Buffalo

Mika Zibanejad saved the New York Rangers from a really bad April Fools prank. Zibanejad scored off an Artemi Panarin pass to lead the Blueshirts to a 3-2 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres. The Rangers appeared to be destined for a regulation win until Buffalo scored late in the third period to send the game to overtime.

The goal and the win spared the Rangers from a loss against the team with the worst record in the NHL. On Wednesday, the Sabres ended a shootout-era record of 18 games without a win by beating the Flyers 6-1.

In his post-game interview, Zibanejad talked about his overtime goal. “It’s a little bit of different game 3 on 3. We got a 2-on-1 and we took advantage of it. We took the two points and we move on.”

Zibanejad tallied his sixth overtime goal with the Rangers, which is the fourth-most in franchise history.

After giving up a first-period goal to Sabres Rasmus Asplund, Colin Blackwell tied the game with a goal in the second period. Blackwell has registered three goals/points in the last three games, according to NYR Stats&Info. He currently ranks fourth on the Rangers in even-strength goals and is tied for fifth on the team in goals his season with nine.

Ryan Strome assisted on Blackwell’s goal. Strome now has an 11-game point streak, which is the longest active point streak in the NHL. It is also tied for the third-longest point streak in the league this season.

The New York Rangers controlled the action in the last two periods

Filip Chytil scored at the 6:14 mark of the third period. His goal gave the Rangers the lead which held up until Buffalo’s Tage Thompson scored with 3.6 seconds left to send the game to overtime.

The Rangers controlled most of the action in the last two periods. The Blueshirts outshot the Sabres by a margin of 47-23, including a 37-11 margin in the final two periods and overtime.

Even though the Rangers had 47 shots on goal, head coach David Quinn still feels that the Rangers still need to shoot more often. After describing how the Sabres overtime goal gave them a kick in the butt, Quinn said in his post-game Zoom conference that “we still have to have more of a shooting mentality.”

Igor Shesterkin stopped 21 of the 23 Sabres shots on goal. He appeared to have been hurt when form Ranger Steven Fogarty was called for interference after sliding into Shesterkin. Shesterkin told the media after the game that he feels fine.

The two teams meet again in Buffalo on Saturday night with a 7 p.m. puck drop.

 

 

 

 

 

New York Giants could patch up the interior of their offensive line in round two of the draft

new york giants, wyatt davis

The New York Giants knocked the ball out of the park in free agency. They addressed their biggest need by signing wide receiver Kenny Golladay as their new alpha dog offensive weapon. The Giants then made another splash with Adoree’ Jackson, upgrading their second cornerback position and giving them one of the best secondaries in the NFL.

The Giants also addressed their edge rusher position, adding a couple more rotational pieces in Ifeadi Odenigbo and Ryan Anderson. But one positional weakness went mostly untouched. The Giants added one depth piece to the interior of their offensive line (Zach Fulton) but did not make a significant upgrade to the position.

The Giants’ offensive line is the biggest weakness on the roster. Their guards are unreliable and unproven. New York needs to upgrade its interior offensive line. Thankfully, the 2021 NFL Draft should provide the Giants with an abundance of IOL options in round two.

Second round interior offensive lineman prospects

Wyatt Davis

Ohio State’s Wyatt Davis is arguably the top interior offensive line prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. If the Giants were able to land Davis in round two, they are getting an instant starter at right guard. Wyatt Davis has actually drawn comparisons to former Giants right guard Kevin Zeitler. He would be a perfect scheme fit and replacement to Zeitler for New York.

But Wyatt Davis is not guaranteed to be on the board at 42 overall. There is a chance Davis gets drafted in the back end of the first round. However, if he is there for the Giants in round two, Wyatt Davis would be a home run selection. Wyatt Davis totaled 865 pass-block snaps in his career at Ohio State. On those snaps, Davis allowed only 4 sacks and 1 quarterback hit (PFF). He is a phenomenal pass protector and a mauler in the run game. Davis could start instantly on the Giants’ offensive line.

Creed Humphrey

If you want an athlete on the offensive line, then you want Creed Humphrey out of Oklahoma. Per Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus, Creed Humphrey ran a quicker short shuttle at his pro day (4.46) than Jerry Jeudy did at the 2020 NFL Combine (4.53).

The left-handed center out of Oklahoma dominated at his Pro Day. Creed Humphrey put up ridiculous numbers, like his 5.09s 40-yard dash, his 33-inch vertical at 6 foot 4 inches, 312 pounds, and his 29 reps on the bench.

Humphrey is a premiere pass-protecting center. According to Pro Football Focus, Humphrey allowed only 28 pressures over the last three years on nearly 1,300 pass-blocking snaps. While he did play center in college, many feel as though Creed has the talent to play offensive guard at the NFL level. This could make him a great fit for the New York Giants in the second round.

Quinn Meinerz

One of the draft’s biggest risers this year is Wisconsin-Whitewater’s offensive line prospect Quinn Meinerz. The division-three hog molly was absolutely dominant at the 2021 Senior Bowl, sending him skyrocketing up draft boards.

Quinn Meinerz is another prospect that lit up the theoretical scoreboard at his Pro Day. Per Anthony Treash of PFF, Quinn Meinerz at his pro day surpassed the 90th percentile historically among iOL in the 40, vertical, broad, short shuttle, and 3-cone.

Throughout his collegiate career, Meinerz played offensive guard exclusively. At the Senior Bowl, he took his first reps at center and impressed every scout at the event. He did not face or competition during his playing days at Wisconsin-Whitewater, but he dominated the NFL prospects he faced at the Senior Bowl. Knowing how much the Giants enjoy drafting Senior Bowl standouts, Quinn Meinerz could be a legitimate option in round two.

Landon Dickerson

The Giants took a couple of risks this offseason on free agents with injury histories. Kenny Golladay played only 5 games in 2020, but they still handed him $18 million on average annually. Adoree’ Jackson played only 3 games in 2020, yet they also gave him $13 million on average annually.

Alabama interior offensive lineman Landon Dickerson tore his ACL in 2020 and missed the College Football playoffs. But he is still an intriguing option for the Giants to consider in the second round.

Dickerson is a phenomenal run-blocker, earning Pro Football Focus’s highest run-blocking grade in the SEC last season with a grade of 92.8. Landon is also incredibly versatile, a trait Joe Judge values highly. While he might be listed as a center, Dickerson is an option for the Giants because he played multiple positions in college. Dickerson logged snaps at every position on the offensive line during his time at Alabama. He played the majority of his snaps at center, but did play over 200 snaps at right guard in 2019 and could make the transition back there in the pros.

Despite his talent on the field, Dickerson is a player that many teams will avoid drafting due to his medical history. Dickerson tore his ACL as a freshman in 2019 at Florida. He then suffered a significant ankle injury in 2020 that caused him to miss nine games. Then, of course, the torn ACL in 2020. Landon has suffered a significant injury every season of his career. If he can stay healthy at the next level, Dickerson has the talent to be one of the best interior offensive linemen in the NFL.

Bellator 255 Preview: Patricio Pitbull – Emmanuel Sanchez 2

Patricio Pitbull Freire

Tomorrow night, Bellator will finally return for their first fight night of 2021. In the main event of the evening, two-division champion, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (31-4) will be defending his featherweight title against Emmanuel Sanchez (20-4).

This matchup is a rematch from their first fight at Bellator 209 back in late 2018. That night, Sanchez was able to push Pitbull hard, but ultimately he couldn’t outwork the great Pitbull and Patricio Pitbull scored a decision win.

This matchup is for the featherweight title, but it’s also a semi-final matchup in the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix. The winner of this fight will take on the unbeaten AJ McKee in the finals later this year.

Patricio Pitbull is arguably the best fighter in Bellator history. The two-division champion is riding a six-fight win streak that includes a win over UFC lightweight contender, Michael Chandler.

Emmanuel Sanchez seems to be peaking at just the right time. After his failed attempt to defeat Pitbull back in 2018, Sanchez has won three fights in a row. His last win came at Bellator 252 and he looked extremely impressive in a decision win over Daniel Weichel.

Bellator 255 Prediction

Patricio Pitbull is a massive favorite to retain his Bellator featherweight title. I’ve seen some lines creep up to -400 and even as great as Pitbull is, I think those lines are a little off.

Yes, Pitbull won the first matchup, but Emmanuel Sanchez had his moments. Sanchez was able to win rounds against the Bellator champion and I think he’s even better than he was the first time.

Sanchez has very good cardio, offensive wrestling, and his boxing has looked really good as of late. I’m a big fan of his straight right hand. If he’s aggressive tomorrow night, he will stay in the fight just with his activity.

It’s hard to find a weakness in the game of the two-division Bellator champion. Pitbull is good on the ground and he has dynamite in his hands. The champion is dangerous everywhere, but we have seen him struggle if a wrestler can take him down and hold him.

A key for Sanchez tomorrow night could be a high striking pace and some timely takedowns. If he can do that, I think he can pull the upset at Bellator 255. However, that’s an extremely tall order.

Patricio Pitbull is one of the best fighters in the world regardless of promotion. There’s a reason he’s the two-division Bellator champion and I think he narrowly holds onto the featherweight title tomorrow night. However, I’m expecting a war between these two.

Prediction: Patricio Pitbull by Unanimous Decision

Kevin Holland steps in to take on Marvin Vettori at UFC Vegas 23

Kevin Holland

UFC Vegas 23 has a new headliner. Kevin Holland (21-6) broke the news on his Twitter page today that he is stepping in for Darren Till to take on Marvin Vettori (16-4-1) in the main event.

Just a couple of days ago, we learned that Darren Till broke his collarbone and had to pull out of the main event. The UFC immediately started looking for replacements and Holland offered his services.

Holland just fought back at UFC Vegas 22 a couple of weeks ago. The Trailblazer took on Derek Brunson in the main event. Holland entered the contest having gone 5-0 in the UFC during 2020.

Had Holland won a couple of weeks ago, he’d be right in the title picture. However, that didn’t happen. Derek Brunson used his wrestling to put a stop to the Kevin Holland hype train.

After the fight was over, Holland said he was contemplating a move to the UFC‘s welterweight division. However, when Till pulled out of next weekend’s main event, he saw it as a perfect bounce back opportunity.

UFC Vegas 23’s New Headliner

Marvin Vettori is no stranger to last minute opponent changes. If you recall, Vettori was actually supposed to take on Jacare Souza back at UFC 256 and Kevin Holland was supposed to take on Jack Hermansson.

However, Holland tested positive for COVID and needed to be pushed back. The UFC put Vettori in to face Hermansson and they gave Jacare Souza to Kevin Holland. Both Vettori and Holland won impressively.

The Italian Dream has won four in a row since his split decision loss to UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya. Every time Vettori enters the octagon, he’s showed a ton of improvement.

He’s proved himself and shown that he’s going to be a dangerous contender at 185 pounds. This is a huge fight for both men. If Holland wins, he gains back all the ground that he lost at UFC Vegas 22.

On the flip side, if Vettori wins, it would be his fifth win in a row. The UFC would likely put Vettori in a title eliminator which means he would be only one win away from a shot at the middleweight title. Should be a fun buildup to next weekend’s new main event.

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees lose the Opener in the tenth 3-2 to the Jays

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

New York Yankee fans waited over a year to see a Yankee Stadium game with fans in the stands. Today was the Opening Day of the 2021 baseball season for the New York Yankees as they faced the Toronto Blue Jays. Many baseball know-it-alls believe the Blue Jays will be the major competition in the East for the Yankees, this writer included.

Today, after the festivities were over Gerrit Cole, took to the mound for the Yankees. The starter for the Blue Jays was their ace, Hyun Jin Ryu. The Opening Day celebration started with introducing the Blue Jays coaches and players to polite applause by Yankee fans. Then came the Yankee coaches and players’ introduction to huge applause of Yankee fans, far beyond the 10,840 in attendance. The Yankees pitched well in the game but lost it 3-2 in the tenth inning.

After the introductions, Cole faced Semien and ground him out. Biggio went down on strikes, and Bichette ground out as Gerrit Cole had a great start with a 1-2-3 inning. At the bottom, Hyun Jin Ryu faced DJ LeMahieu and ground him out. Aaron Judge struck out, and Aaron Hicks struck out swinging for a fast first for both pitchers.    It was evident from the first inning that all the New York Yankees were wearing the number 16 on their sleeve in honor of Hall of Famer Whitey Ford, whose number was retired in 1974. Ford passed away this winter.

Hernandez led off against Cole in the second singled just beyond Gleyber Torres. Guerrero Jr. singled up the center move Hernandez to second. Gurriel singled, driving in Hernandez for the early Jays lead. Tellez popped out to Jay Bruce. Grichuk struck out swinging. Jansen has always been a difficult out for the Yankees, but this time Cole struck him out. Cole’s command was off as his strike-to-ball ratio was not good. Jays 1 Yankees 0. At the bottom, Giancarlo Stanton popped out. Gleyber Torres, who had 5 homers in the spring, singled to left. Gio Urshela struck out swinging. Gary Sanchez homered well over the left-field fence driving in two for the Yankee lead. Jay Bruce ground out. Yankees 2 Jays 1.

At the top of the third, Cole took the mound with 38 pitches thrown. Semien flew out. Biggio was down looking. Bichette struck out for a fast half for Cole. Clint Frazier lead off the bottom of the third. It’s his first opening day start. Frazier ground out to the infield. LeMahieu ground out to third. Judge ground out as well for a scoreless third inning.

Hernandez, at the top of the fourth, went down looking. Guerrero Jr. walked. Gurriel Jr. struck out for Cole’s seventh strikeout of the game. Tellez flew out to Judge to end the half. Aaron Hicks led off the bottom by striking out. Stanton ground out in the infield. Torres struck out, making it a quick inning for both pitchers. Yankees 2 Jays 1.

Grichuk led off the Jays with a long out to left field in the fifth inning. Jansen got a base hit to left. Semien flew out to Frazier. Biggio did the same, flying out to Frazier. At the Yankee half Urshela flew out to right. Sanchez flew out to left field. Bruce walked. Frazier singled, but the Jays asked for a check with New York umpires. Frazier was called safe. LeMahieu was nearly out on an excellent scoop but the second baseman Semien. Yankees 2 Jays 1.

Gerrit Cole out for the sixth inning struck out Bo Bichette. Hernandez homered to tie up the game. Guerrero Jr. walked, and that was Cole’s day; he fell one strikeout short of the most opening day strikeouts for any Yankee pitcher. (8). He was replaced by Chad Green, facing Gurriel Jr. Chad Green one pitch and a double play, and the inning was over for the Jays, but they tied it up. Aaron Judge led off the bottom with a single to center. Hicks singled for the force out of Judge. That was it as Chatwood took over for Ryu. Stanton went down swinging. Torres walked to move Hicks to second with two outs. Urshela made the final out. Yankees 2 Jays 2.

Green on the mound for the seventh popped out Tellez to Urshela. Crichuk singled past Green into centerfield. Jansen popped out to LeMahieu. Chichuk tried to steal, and the bullet arm of Sanchez caught him stealing, ending the half. Sanchez led off the bottom with a single to left. Bruce hit a long one that was caught on the warning track. Clint Frazier got his second hit of the game a single to left, moving Sanchez to second, with one out. LeMahieu walked to load the bases. Aaron Judge hit into an inning-ending double play. The game tied at 2.

Out to pitched the eighth was Jonathan Loaisiga, one of the best Yankee pitchers in spring training. Semien struck out against Loaisiga. Biggio flew out to Hicks in center. Bichette ground to LeMahieu, who threw to Loaisiga for the final out of the half. Rafael Dolus took over the pitching for the Jays at the bottom. He walked Aaron Hicks. Stanton went down on strikes. Torres popped out to the infield. Urshela went down swinging. On to the ninth inning. Yankees 2 Jays 2.

New acquired sidearmer Darren O’Day had the mound for the Yankees in the ninth. Teoscar Hernandez singled on a late throw from Torres. Guerrero Jr. popped out to LeMahieu. Gurriel Jr. struck out swinging. Tellez flew out to Judge. At the bottom, the Yankees had the chance for a walk-off like they did in the home opener in 1957. Gary Sanchez led off with a walk. Mike Tauchman pinch ran for Sanchez. Which was a good move as Tauchman stole second base. Jay Bruce struck out. Clint Frazier at the plate Tauchman stole third. Frazier walked. DJ LeMahieu singled, but Tauchman was called out as he tried to make it home. Aaron Judge, with two outs, strikes out to end the ninth.

10,850 fans in the stands got free baseball as the game went to the 10th inning, with Nick Nelson on the mound for the Yankees. According to the rules, Tellez started the inning at second. Crichuk doubled, driving Tellez in for the Jays 10th inning lead. Jensen struck out. Semien struck out. Baggio struck out, but the Jays took the lead. Jays 3 Yankees 2. At the bottom of the 10th, with last licks on the line for the New York York Yankees, Aaron Hicks was at-bat, with Judge on second base. Hicks went down looking. Giancarlo Stanton struck out. He stuck out with the Yankees losing the opener down to the final out with Torres at the plate. Final score Jays 3 Yankees 2. Ramano got the win, Nick Nelson the loss, and Merryweather the save.

Suppose today’s game is any indication it will be an interesting competition this season between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. Anyone could have won this game; it just so happened to be the Jays in the 10th inning.

Bellator looking at signing Alistair Overeem and Junior Dos Santos

Bellator is looking to potentially add two of the greatest heavyweights in MMA history. Scott Coker said today that the promotion was looking at potentially signing Alistair Overeem (47-19, 1 NC) and Junior Dos Santos (21-9).

Both heavyweights were released by the UFC in early March. Releasing Dos Santos made sense for the UFC seeing as he’d lost four in a row, but many were caught off guard with their decision to release Overeem.

Nevertheless, both heavyweights have been on the open market for a month and Scott Coker is interested in both of them. Bellator‘s heavyweight division is really nothing to write home about.

Their heavyweight champion is a natural light heavyweight in Ryan Bader and there’s not a lot of star power there. The only real star in their heavyweight division is a 44 year old Fedor Emelianenko (39-6, 1 NC).

Coker said that Bellator isn’t interested in long term deals, but he’s definitely interested in those two. He said, “We’re not going to sign these guys to, like, a two-year, six-fight deal or build them up. They’ve already proved themselves. They are legends of the sport already. But what I will say is we do have legends of the sport here. If we go down the road, and we think a Fedor opponent will work, Alistair and Fedor will be very interesting to me. Junior Dos Santos and Fedor will be very interesting to me.”

Will Bellator book one against Fedor?

Bellator has been looking at fights for Fedor Emelianenko. Fedor is looking for a final fight and the promotion wants to make it a big deal. They’ve even had preliminary discussions around having an event in Russia with a full crowd.

Fedor has faced many of the greats, but he hasn’t faced either Alistair Overeem nor Junior Dos Santos. Him and Overeem came close to fighting in Strikeforce, but the fight never materialized.

Now, Bellator can make it happen. Of course, there’s also the former UFC heavyweight champion in JDS. Both fights are interesting to Coker and I believe both would interest fans. Yes, none of them are in their primes anymore, but I think a lot of fans would still tune in.

WATCH: Yankees’ Gary Sanchez pops a 2-run homer to open up the 2021 long-ball account

yankees, gary sanchez

With the New York Yankees trailing the Toronto Blue Jays 1-0 in the second inning on Opening Day, catcher Gary Sanchez took matters into his own hands.

Sanchez, who posted a .200 average during the spring and had a terrible 2020 campaign, opened up his checking account in the home run department.

Sanchez launched a two-run blast to give the Yankees a one-run lead, with the ball traveling 407 feet. Just prior, infielder Gleyber Torres had a dink single to left field, getting on base and presenting Sanchez with an opportunity to drive in a runner.

 

Breaking: Mets – Nationals Opening Day game has been suspended due to COVID-19 protocols

Simeon Woods-Richardson

The New York Mets won’t be taking the field on Thurday on MLB’s Opening Day, as their game against the Washington Nationals has been suspended, according to multiple outlets.

The game was scheduled to begin at 7:09 pm ET, with multiple Cy Young award winners Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer taking the hill.

The reason for the suspension is because in the last few hours, one Nationals player tested positive for COVID-19, and other four were isolated because of contact tracing.

“Breaking: today’s Mets-Nationals Opening Day game has been postponed due to COVID-19 protocols, source confirms. No makeup info as of this moment, but stay tuned for that,” MLB.com’s beat writer Anthony DiComo wrote on his official Twitter account.

It is possible that the Nationals are having an outbreak, and MLB decided not to put anybody else at risk. The Mets and the Nats aren’t scheduled to play on Friday, but are expected to take the field on Saturday.

Those plans, however, can change at any minute.

The Mets are living happy hours despite the suspension

The Mets have lived a wonderful last few hours, after it was revealed late Wednesday night that All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor had agreed to sign a long-term contract that will keep him in New York for the next 10 years, with a total value of $341 million.

Mets’ fans, however, won’t be able to see Lindor’s first official game with the team today, and will have to wait until further notice.

The Mets couldn’t complete the signings of any of the big three free agents available; Trevor Bauer, George Springer, and JT Realmuto. However, they pulled off an impressive trade that netted them Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco, and now both of them are tied to the organization for the foreseeable future.

We will provide more information as it becomes available.

An underlying dynamic the Islanders need to get right against the Capitals

For the most part under head coach Barry Trotz, the Islanders have been an exceptional team on home ice, both when they still played in Brooklyn and at Nassau Coliseum. But something has still been amiss for his club against a certain opponent — a division foe I might add — when they have played host to them for the last two-plus seasons.

The Isles are 0-4-0 against the Washington Capitals on home ice since the start of the 2018-19 season.

The most recent matchup when the teams faced off on Long Island was last February — before the coronavirus hit and before they met in Toronto in the bubble postseason — and the Islanders blew a 4-1 lead in the third period only to go on and lose 6-4. The disastrous collapse was compounded with now former-Islander Devon Toews’ mocking of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s bird celebration which left Trotz infuriated.

It’s an odd little factoid, almost as weird as the team not having lost in the nation’s capital for two seasons before they were defeated there back in January. Yet, the dynamic of the Isles’ failures against their D.C. rivals as the home squad is vital, as starting tonight the two squads will meet four more times in the next four weeks — two in the next six days — all at the Coliseum. These are massive points up for grabs.

“It’s a Washington team we haven’t had obviously success against this year, so it will be nice to get them at home in a time where we’re desperate for a win,” Jordan Eberle said this week. “If you look at the last couple of games, we’re moving in the wrong direction, so we want to turn this homestand into some wins and start climbing the standings again.”

The Islanders currently sit two points behind the Caps for the top spot in the East, but the division is still very much up for grabs. Both teams are in a good position to make the postseason and these next few tilts could be the deciding factor of who will be the division champion. Of course, there’s the possibility of the Penguins stealing the top spot, as they’re red hot right now and are within striking distance. Still, the onus is on Mathew Barzal and Co. to take care of business and get the Isles back on track after this fog they’ve been in over the past two weeks.

The Isles have been the best home team in the NHL this season which should also give them a shot in the arm as they welcome Washington for the first time.

With 20 games left in the season, getting even with the Caps could really help propel the Trotz’s skaters in the final stretch of their season. But they need to show they can beat them on home ice.

With the trade deadline 11 days away, the talk about what the Isles and g.m. Lou Lamoriello is only ramping up more and more. There was fire added to those flames last night when TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that there’s heavy speculation the organization could be in on trying to acquire Taylor Hall.

Hall, 29, has been a hot topic among the Islanders faithful even before captain Anders Lee went down with a season-ending ACL injury three weeks ago. His numbers have been awful this year — 18 points in 35 games — but a lot of that could also be attributed to him playing on a historically bad Sabres club.

The Islanders are expected to get d-man Noah Dobson back in the lineup tonight, which could provide a nice boost for the Islanders. The 21-year-old has been out since going on the NHL’s COVID-19 list back on March 14th. Thomas Hickey has been in place of Dobson while he was sidelined and done a serviceable job.

Dobson though elevates the Islanders at both ends of the ice and his steady demeanor is something the team has been missing without him.

Is the UFC going to book Jose Aldo – Dominick Cruz?

Two former UFC champions and all time greats could be on a collision course. Those two former champions are the former bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz (23-3), and former featherweight champion, Jose Aldo (29-7).

Yesterday, Aldo told MMA Fighting that he would love to fight Dominick Cruz next. Aldo said, “It’s a big fight to make, Dominick and me, because of our importance. We were both WEC champions and then came to the UFC as champions, so it’s a big fight to make.”

Originally, Aldo appeared to be on a collision course with former bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt. However, the UFC decided to go in a different direction and ultimately booked Garbrandt against Rob Font. 

With that, Aldo is left without a fight. At this stage in Aldo’s career, he’s not wanting to fight more guys like Chito Vera. Aldo defeated Vera back in December to pickup his first win at bantamweight and snap a three-fight losing streak.

However, that fight was more about getting back in the win column. Now that he is, he wants the UFC to give him a big name. A guy in a very similar position to Aldo is Dominick Cruz.

Will the UFC book Cruz – Aldo?

Dominick Cruz appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show this week where he talked about upcoming opportunities. He echoed Aldo’s statements in that he wants the UFC to only give him big names from now on.

Cruz returned at UFC 259 and picked up a win over rising contender, Casey Kenney. Similar to Aldo, the fight was more about getting Cruz back in the win column after the last few years.

Cruz and Aldo are arguably the greatest fighters to have ever come out of the WEC. They were the first UFC champions in their respected weight classes and many often wondered how a fight between the two great champions would go.

Honestly, there’s never been a better time for the fight than now. Both are ranked inside the UFC’s top ten at bantamweight and both are at a very similar position in their careers. I believe this is a fight that will be made and I wouldn’t be shocked to see it booked for July or August.