On paper, May 2016 may have the most stacked line up of fights any month has had in the history of mixed martial arts. UFC Fight Nights 87 and 88, UFC 198, Bellator 154 and 155 are all fantastic efforts put forth by the sport’s two top promotions.

One fantastic matchup scheduled for this Sunday that seems to be getting lost in the maze of great fights is the welterweight contender bout between Gunner Nelson and Albert Tumenov. It is a stylistic clash between two up-and-coming prospects turned contenders. The fight is also as close as it can be to a must win for both fighters.

Tumenov is one the best strikers at welterweight, pressuring his opponents against the cage before he violently picks them apart. He is currently riding a 5 fight win streak, including 3 highlight-reel knockout finishes. However, his ground game has hardly been tested since he was smothered in his UFC debut by Ildemar Alcantara.

Nelson, one of the best grapplers in the division, seems to acknowledge that his best path to victory may be trying to take the fight to the ground. In a recent interview with MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani, Nelson commented of Tumenov, “He looks really good on the feet…I haven’t really seen much of his ground game.”

After losing 2 of 3, a loss to Tumenov could signal the end of Nelson’s run at welterweight and potentially force a move down to lightweight. However, Gunni has indicated in the past that he has no interest in the weight cut down to 155 so a win here is paramount for his career aspirations. For Tumenov, a loss here to Nelson, specifically one where he gets controlled on the ground, would shut down any talk of contender status and label him as strictly an action fighter. With a win, he would almost certainly be set for a top contender bout in the near future.

On the ground or on the feet, Nelson vs. Tumenov promises to be an excellent technical clash of styles that will help set the tone for a great May of fights.

About The Author

Tyler Keane
Staff Writer

Tyler graduated from Babson College and resides in Boston, MA. He has been a contributor at various MMA sites for the better part of the past four years with a focus on the business aspect of the sport. While MMA is his passion, he remains a Boston sports fanatic.