This week’s MMA mailbag comes from questions asked on the Live stream discussing the Khamzat Chimaev vs The Leech matchup.

I’m putting money on Volkan against Ankalaev, can he beat him?

Roman on YouTube

James Lynch: I believe he can beat him, but I think Ankalaev has the “IT factor” – that special something that it takes to be a top contender. I haven’t felt that way about Volkan at all.

Volkan’s a guy who’s lost so many fights. Remember, he was beating Anthony Smith, and then he lost by just giving it away. Depending on what the line is, you might consider that bet, but I would pick Ankalaev in that fight just personally.

JHK: It’s hit or miss with Volkan nowadays, and it’s hard to guess what’s going on, you know what I mean? Has he just hit a plateau or can he still improve? Has Covid affected him more than he’s revealed to us? I find this one hard to pick – I see it as a bit of toss-up.

James Lynch: The other thing I’ll say is that Volkan hasn’t been in Florida training there because of visa issues. So he’s been back home, and you’re not getting the best training when you consider that he would otherwise be at Sanford MMA.

Magomed Ankalaev vs Volkan Oezdemir is set to go down at UFC 267: Błachowicz vs. Teixeira on 2021-10-30 15:00 ET in a UFC Light Heavyweight matchup.

Opening odds:

Ankalaev: -300
Oezdemir: +255

Do you see Paddy Pimblett becoming a genuine contender at Lightweight?

Lucus on YouTube

James: No, not yet. He almost got finished in that fight – against a guy in Luigi Vendramini who I think was kind of on that cusp of being cut. Paddy did do something in that fight where you can see glimpses of why maybe he’s more than just an average fighter.

I mean, the speed that he showed for the knockout was very impressive, but the poor striking defense is a big thing. You don’t want him turning into Luke Rockhold – a tremendous fighter, but he has some really bad striking defense and has been hit a lot. That’s not what you want to see from Paddy at this stage.

Let’s not forget also that Paddy had some bumps in the road on the regional scene. The Julian Erosa fight was extremely close. I actually talked to Julian about that the other day. Julian’s like, “you know, now that I look back, I shouldn’t have taken that fight. The matchmaker is also his manager and they sorta knew what they were doing and the judges and all that.”

On the other hand, he’s a good personality. He’s exciting. He’s got a unique look. As DC said – he looks like Owen Hart. I like all that. I think that’s all positive, but I’m not ready to call him a contender just yet.

JHK: Yeah, of course, man, look at him – He’s already popular. So all he has to do now is go in there and win the fights.

I want to see him facing an opponent who can dump him on his back a few times and see how he reacts to that. Can he handle that adversity? He handled adversity with the knockdown in his debut fight, but can he handle the grind, someone man-handling him for 10-15 minutes? If he can’t handle that, then you know, I’ll be more convinced.

With that said, the UFC is gonna get give Paddy good match-ups early on. He’s going to get the Sean O’Malley treatment. I guarantee that’s what’s going to happen.

James: Yes, and they should – you have a guy here who’s obviously garnered a lot of fan interest. You don’t want to throw him to the wolves, but you also don’t want to do a Michael venom Page type buildup.

Du-Plessis or Muniz?

Roman on YouTube

James: People are already obsessed with this fight. It’s not just in here, but a lot of people have been messaging me on Patreon. I like Du Plessis in the fight and I think he’s going to be a favorite.

JHK: This one is a toss-up to me too.

Du Plessis has thunder in his hands, and he showed that in his last fight, which was a little bit of a coming-out party.

But Muniz is a killer too, man. It’s just that nobody really knows him yet. If he can take a shot, and he can take it to the ground, he can wrap that neck up. He snapped Jacare’s arm and he can do that to Du Plessis too.

This is a fight that has fight of the night written all over it.

About the Fanatics Fantasy MMA Podcast

The Fanatics MMA weekly Podcast is hosted by James Lynch and John Hyun Ko, and focuses on one interesting upcoming MMA fight. The boys discuss the build-up, betting odds and give their early picks. Join the live stream every week to drop in your questions during the live Q&A.

Fanatics MMA is a Free UFC picks app developed by the team at The AllStar. Download the app to practice your UFC betting without staking any real money.

Product manager at the AllStar, and the Nerd who made the fantasy MMA app.