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World Cup 2022 Dream Team – UFC Edition

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The Fifa World Cup kicks off this Sunday in Qatar. The winter world cup has caused controversy for a number of reasons, taking place part-way through the season in Europe, there are human rights issues surrounding Qatar itself as well as concerns around LGBTQ rights in the country.

The tournament features 32 of the world’s best teams, with six from the Asian qualifiers, five from Africa, four from South America, four from central and north America and 13 from Europe. Brazil are the favourites to lift their sixth trophy and capture their first since 2002.

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After making our Euro 2020 dream team, we take a look at who would make a starting 11 for Team UFC in this years World Cup. We will focus on a 4-3-3 formation. The one rule, we can only use fighters from the teams that have qualified so that unfortunately rules out anyone from New Zealand, Russia and China, countries that have a number of high level UFC fighters.

World Cup 2022 Dream Team – UFC Edition

Defence

Goalkeeper

Our goalkeeper has to be tall, nimble and constantly on their toes. Tom Aspinall has a style that could potentially transfer over well to being a goalkeeper. He has quick hands, stands at 6ft 5 in and is extremely light on his feet. He’s headlined twice in London meaning that the moment won’t get the better of him and therefore he can handle the pressure.

Right Back

Brandon Moreno from Mexico takes our right-back spot. He’s quick, he has a relentless gas tank and is extremely adaptable. He knows what it’s like to come from adversity and succeed having been cut from the UFC, only to return and win the belt. Moreno has to be in our team.

Centre back partners

Ciryl Gane and Michael Chandler make our centre-back partnership. France are in pursuit of their third cup and their second straight world cup, having won in 2018. When competing in Paris in September, Gane has the crowd right behind him and he stepped up to the occasion. He’s tall, quick and got lethal kicks, something that makes him a valuable centre-back.

Chandler is an animal. He’s got relentless determination, is explosive and willing to take damage to get what he wants. Iron is one of the best pure athletes in the UFC and this will play a huge part in our team. The two men will complement each other well with Chandler providing the pace and Gane the power.

Left back

Naturally, we need a southpaw. Who’s got a lethal left foot? Who’s scored potentially the knockout of the year this year with his infamous high kick? None other than England’s own, Leon Edwards. The left kick he landed to win the title was exquisite and with that, he makes our starting 11.

Midfield

Central Defensive Midfielder

Amanda Ribas. Brazil’s flyweight has a significant striking defense of 70.8%, meaning that she knows how to avoid danger and not get hit. The role of a ‘CDM’ is to break up the attacks and Ribas clearly knows how to avoid attacks being thrown at her, making her the perfect CDM in our UFC World Cup team.

Centre Midfielder Pair

Marlon Vera and Ilia Topuria. Vera, representing Ecuador has one of the best engines in the UFC. He threw and landed 291 strikes against Rob Font and lands 4.28 significant strikes per minute in the UFC, proving that his stamina won’t fail him across the 90-minute match. He’s quick, got a good eye for a knockout and he can find a chin, so he can certainly pick out a pass.

Topuria was born in Germany but fights out of Spain. He doesn’t know how to lose, sporting a record of 12-0 with four wins inside the UFC. That determination to win, even when he’s behind in fights is what will make him the midfield maestro that this team needs.

Attack

Right Wing

Manon Fiorot will feature on the right wing four our UFC World Cup dream team. The French native has a dangerous right foot, she’s quick, full of confidence and willing to throw flashy strikes, something that you want from a winger. She’s sensible, knows how to manage a fight and this will be important for our right winger. She needs to know when to cross the ball and when to take on her opponent. A logical option for sure.

Left Wing

Our left wing position will be taken up by Sean O’Malley. He’s a flashy striker, who likes to throw alternative strikes, is quick and constantly looks to out-class and embarrass his opponents. This is what’s needed on the wing in our team. We want him to have the confidence to take on his opponent, which we’re sure he will do. He’s capable of whipping in a cross with his left foot and putting the ball on the head of our big striker.

Striker

The baddest man on the planet, the big Cameroonian battering ram, the UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou. He’s shown adaptability in his game, improving his wrestling both offensively and defensively, he’s got power, throws heavy kicks and is a powerful unit (obviously). He can hold the ball up, stands at 6ft 4in tall and clearly has an interest in football.

Alternatives/Substitutes

  • Amanda Nunes – That Holly Holm head kick alone gets her on the bench
  • Robert Whittaker – Seems like a great guy to have around a dressing room and is a born winner
  • Chan Sung Jung – Zombie is relentless, a workhorse and someone that could make a difference

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Frazer is a 26 year old MMA and boxing enthusiast from Coventry, England.

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