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The Crossover – FTR as Top Guys, Is Khamzat Chimaev Next, and Don’t Forget About GGG

After all of the WrestleMania posts, podcasts, and Patreon shows that were part of our coverage, it’s now time to, um, get back to normal? What? We don’t get to take time off? Nope, because there’s some important stuff going on this weekend.

FTR really are top guys

The great Ricky Morton of the legendary Rock ‘n’ Roll Express put out a tweet the other day that was music to my ears.

Ricky’s tweet wasn’t a dig at current wrestling and neither is why I decided to pull that quote. I love a lot of current style wrestling. It’s evolving constantly and will continue to do so until pro wrestling doesn’t exist anymore.

The tweet was perfect timing because we saw the best hybrid tag team in wrestling put on quite the display over the last week. FTR blends the best of old school tag team wrestling with the best of today’s tag team wrestling.

Because of how many great tag teams there are in AEW, FTR had to take a backseat for a lot of 2021. But they’re back in a major way, now holding the ROH tag titles as well as the AAA tag titles.

A lot of things make them great. But the thing that stands out most to me is their ability to have quality matches with everyone. It shows an adaptability and flexibility because of how many different styles there are in AEW. AEW is a cornucopia of wrestling styles, where as WWE has mostly one style. So it’s truly refreshing to see FTR go from The Briscoes one day to The Young Bucks the next, and I imagine, much like a basketball team who runs off a 10-game winning streak, they’re going to want to continue to one-up themselves the next time they’re in the ring.

Is Khamzat Chimaev next?

It seems that the UFC thinks so. Earlier today, Dana White was on The Pat McAfee Show and hesitated to answer a question about whether he’d rematch Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal. At first, I thought it was based on Masvidal’s recent attack on Covington, but the hesitation was actually about his future booking plans.

He said that if Chimaev wins this weekend against Gilbert Burns, they want to set him up for Covington and to possibly do it on ABC, which would be an amazing spectacle.

Here’s the conversation:

It’s all eyes on Chimaev this weekend. There are two title fights at UFC 273 and yet, it seems that most of the public attention is on Chimaev vs. Burns, and more so because of Chimaev himself than the fight, which is his biggest test so far.

Burns is no slouch himself, just over a year out of being in a welterweight title fight. Yet, Chimaev is currently a -550 favorite.

More and more, the UFC is a young person’s sport, or, should we say, a who takes the least amount of punishment sport. And so far, Chimaev has taken none.

From Ryan Frederick’s Guide to UFC 273:

Chimaev comes into this fight with a perfect 10-0 record, including a 4-0 mark since his UFC signing. He took the promotion by storm with two wins over the course of ten days, and then following that with his third win less than two months later. He then dealt with some serious issues from COVID-19, and ended up out of action for over a year. That time off didn’t derail the hype train, as he returned in October with a dominant first-round submission win over Li Jingliang.

Ryan and Paul Fontaine previewed this weekend’s show on In The Clinch. We’ve clipped that preview for YouTube.

Let’s not forget about GGG

It’s been 15 months since we’ve seen IBF middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin in the ring, but he’s back this weekend on DAZN facing WBA middleweight champion Ryota Murata at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Carlos Toro, our boxing writer, as well as one-half of the Pound 4 Pound boxing podcast with Robert Silva is taking some time away from writing and podcasting. But, I asked him for one more favor, which was to give me his prediction for Triple G vs. Murata. He gave me way more.

At this stage of his career, it’s fair to ask if the wars Gennadiy Golovkin went through over the years against Canelo Alvarez, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, and Daniel Jacobs are finally catching up to him. Golovkin was in phenomenal shape in his last fight against an over-matched Kamil Szeremeta, but that was in late 2020. Still, Golovkin possesses much of the power he had in his prime and his jab is still among the best at middleweight.

The key to this fight will be who gets to assert their will first. Ryota Murata, at his best, gives every middleweight in the division hell. He creates a lot of pressure with his forward movement and his a strong left hand, especially when he attackes the body. But the knock on Murata is that when he’s not on his A game from the start, Murata can be a bit of tepid fighter. If Murata comes into the fight like he did in his first encounters with Hassan N’Dam and Rob Brant — where he wasn’t able to establish a firm rhythm for 12 rounds — then it will be a long night for him.

Plus, Murata doesn’t possess superior defense and is susceptible to getting overwhelmed by volume punching, something that Golovkin can easily exploit, not to mention, Murata hasn’t fought since December 2019. A two-plus year layoff is nowhere near ideal heading into a fight against Golovkin. But make no mistake, Murata absolutely has the tools to beat Golvokin, but he will need to execute a perfect gameplan to do so.

I predict Golovkin turns back the clock at least once more against Murata in an exciting “Fight of the Year” caliber war where Golovkin eventually overwhelms Murata with sheer force, stopping him in the 11th round.

Thank you Carlos.

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