MMA Fan’s Guide To FIFA World Cup: Russia 2018

Back by popular demand!

 

It’s world cup week so everyone in the sporting universe can’t help but get caught up in big tournament fever. Can Brazil do it? Will France live up to their potential? Can Messi/Ronaldo get Argentina/Portugal over the line? Most folks don’t know the answers to these questions; some don’t even know what the questions mean! That’s where I step in with my team-by-team guide to the 2018 world cup for the MMA fan in your life. Enjoy!

 

Group A

 

Russia

 

Fighter equivalent – Darren Till

 

Hometown advantage might see them surprise a few people.

 

Odds – 40/1

 

****

 

Saudi Arabia

 

 

Fighter equivalent – Jan Blachowicz

 

Good locally, but unlikely to cause too many problems to the big boys.

 

Odds – 1000/1

 

****

 

Egypt

 

Fighter equivalent – Nik Lentz

 

One extremely dangerous asset but limited outside of that.

 

Odds – 200/1

 

 

****

 

 

Uruguay

 

Fighter equivalent – Anthony Johnson

 

Devastating attack which probably won’t be enough to win anything.

 

Odds – 28/1

 

 

****

 

 

Group B

 

Portugal

 

Fighter equivalent – Stephen Thompson

 

One of the best in the world but the final hurdle could be a problem at world level.

 

Odds – 25/1

 

 

****

 

 

Spain

 

Fighter equivalent – Georges St-Pierre

 

Technically superb and unbeatable for years with possibly a little bit still left to achieve.

 

Odds – 6/1

 

 

****

 

 

Morocco

 

Fighter equivalent – Gian Villante

 

Not terrible, but not great either.

 

Odds – 500/1

 

 

****

 

 

Iran

 

Fighter equivalent – Ricky Rainey

 

Not bad at a lower level, unlikely to ever win at a higher level.

 

Odds – 500/1

 

 

****

 

 

Group C

 

France

 

Fighter equivalent – Cody Garbrandt

 

All the talent in the world, could be champion again soon but also may implode at any moment.

 

Odds – 13/2

 

 

****

 

 

Australia

 

Fighter equivalent – Bec Rawlings

 

Would probably be better off competing in a rougher, more violent sport.

 

Odds – 300/1

 

 

 

 

Peru

 

Fighter equivalent – Renato Moicano

 

Plucky South Americans with the sum of the parts being greater than the individual assets.

 

Odds – 150/1

 

 

****

 

 

Denmark

 

Fighter equivalent – Corey Anderson

 

Talented beasts who are probably not getting too much higher than their current position.

 

Odds – 100/1

 

 

****

 

 

Group D

 

Argentina

 

Fighter equivalent – Conor McGregor

 

The most talented attack in the world. Getting them to perform is the biggest issue.

 

Odds – 9/1

 

 

****

 

 

Iceland

 

Fighter equivalent – Aleksei Oleinik

 

The trickiest of underdogs. Can catch anyone if they aren’t fully prepared for what they bring.

Odds – 200/1

 

 

****

 

 

Croatia

 

Fighter equivalent – Joe Benavidez

 

Very good technically but just below the very best.

 

Odds – 33/1

 

 

****

 

 

Nigeria

 

Fighter equivalent – Donald Cerrone

 

Have qualities in all areas but none of which are enough to get them to the very top.

 

Odds – 200/1

 

 

****

 

Group E

 

Brazil

 

Fighter equivalent – Amanda Nunes

 

Brilliant attack, improving all the time. Might just be the best in the world.

 

Odds – 9/2

 

 

****

 

 

Switzerland

 

Fighter equivalent – Brad Tavares

 

Always a steady mid-level talent that shows up and performs respectably.

 

Odds – 100/1

 

 

****

 

 

Costa Rica

 

Fighter equivalent – Dheigo Lima

 

Fun to watch but won’t be around the big stage for too long.

 

Odds – 500/1

 

 

****

 

 

Serbia

 

Fighter equivalent – Alexander Volkov

 

Steady and hard to beat.

 

Odds – 150/1

 

 

****

 

 

Group F

 

Germany

 

Fighter equivalent – Stipe Miocic

 

One of the biggest hitters about to face their biggest test.

 

Odds – 5/1

 

 

****

 

 

Mexico

 

Fighter equivalent – Thomas Almeida

 

Always fun to watch. Usually ends up entertained but disappointed.

 

Odds – 100/1

 

 

****

 

 

Sweden

 

Fighter equivalent – Johny Hendricks

 

Still good but their ability to take them to world level has been relocated somewhere in America.

 

Odds – 125/1

 

 

 

 

South Korea

 

Fighter equivalent – Amanda Cooper

 

Will probably be outclassed and finished off early.

 

Odds – 500/1

 

 

****

 

 

Group G

 

Belgium

 

Fighter equivalent – Zabit Magomedsharipov

 

Exceptional talent in every area of the game. All that’s left to do is to prove it against the very best.

 

Odds – 11/1

 

 

****

 

 

Panama

 

Fighter equivalent – Ash Griffiths

 

Don’t know anything about them apart from the fact they are taking on someone we know.

 

Odds – 1000/1

 

 

****

 

 

Tunisia

 

Fighter equivalent – Mike Jackson

 

Also coming in here to take on someone we know.

 

Odds – 750/1

 

 

****

 

 

England

 

Fighter equivalent – Frankie Edgar

 

Talk a great game. Insane fans. Won the world title like 50 years ago. Won’t win it again in the near future.

 

Odds – 16/1

 

 

****

 

 

Group H

 

Poland

 

Fighter equivalent – Bryan Caraway

 

Only see them every few years but they always seem to still be relatively good.

 

Odds – 66/1

 

 

****

 

 

Senegal

 

Fighter equivalent – Glover Teixeira

 

Way better upon inspection than taking them at face value. Plenty of talent.

 

Odds – 150/1

 

 

****

 

 

Colombia

 

Fighter equivalent – Jimi Manuwa

 

Great attacking options which will be useless because of deficiencies elsewhere.

 

Odds – 40/1

 

 

****

 

 

Japan

 

Fighter equivalent – Felice Herrig

 

Very hard-working. Difficult for anyone but should be beaten by more talented outfits.

 

Odds – 300/1

 

Lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Co-host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Tuesday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma