Matches to Make After: Overeem vs. Sakai


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The Demolition man has once again proved that at 40 years old, he is still a legit threat in the UFC Heavyweight division. Not only did he show durability, absorbing 99 strikes, but also the ability to still better a fighter eleven years his elder in Augusto Sakai.

In the first two rounds, Sakai more or less, got the better of Overeem on the feet. The same continued in the third, until Overeem brought the fight to mat in the later stages of the round. Overeem implemented vicious ground-and-pound, clearly stealing the round in the process. In the fourth round, Overeem took Sakai down and controlled, pounded and bloodied the Brazilian to a clear 10-8 round. The 5th round was much of the same, which prompted referee Herb Dean to halt the bout.

With the victory, Overeem now has won four of his last five, with the one loss coming with four seconds left in a five round fight he was clearly ahead on the scorecards. So what’s next for Overeem? What’s next for the rest of this seven-fight card?

Matches to Make: Winners

Alistair Overeem vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik 2 – With the top Heavyweight’s booked up, I feel that it’s time to run this one back. Ultimately, it’s up to Alistair Overeem. At 40 years old and 66 mixed martial fights in, Overeem’s time is nearing the end. He could very well feel that he beat Rozenstruik already, as he dominated the fight up until he got caught in a five-round fight with less than 10 seconds left. I for one, feel that Overeem should have been given more time before the stoppage. Sure, he was hurt, his lip split, but he popped right back up.

Another option for Overeem is to wait on the results of Curtis Blaydes vs. Derrick Lewis. Should Lewis prevail, and given their seems to be tension between the two, this would be a no brainer.

Ovince St. Preux vs. winner of Johnny Walker vs. Ryan Spann – After battling COVID-19 and cutting weight two times to Light Heavyweight, OSP delivered a perfectly timed left hook knockout over Alonzo Menifield. The one-time Light Heavyweight title challenger is in a tough spot at 37 years old. He tested the waters at Heavyweight and lost. At Light Heavyweight, he’s traded wins and loses since challenging Jon Jones for the title.

I hate to say gatekeeper, but at the moment, OSP fits the mold. As far as the next fight. I think the winner of the Johnny Walker vs. Ryan Spann would be perfect.

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Michel Pereira vs. Mike Perry/Alex Oliveira – Slowly but surely, Michel Pereira is entering the mix for first team All Violence. The human highlight reel delivered a complete performance against Zelim Imadaev. The next step, isn’t a fight against Jorge Masvidal for the BMF belt – like he wants. It’s against someone like Mike Perry, depending on his legal issues. OR I would entertain a fight against Alex Oliveira – which would be quite entertaining if you ask me.

Andre Muniz vs. Andrew Sanchez – Contender series alum Andre Muniz improved to 2-0 inside the octagon, as he submitted a tough Bartosz Fabinski. A guy who is known for taking his foes down over and over, while controlling them for three rounds. That type of performance from Muniz deserves a step up in competition. I’d say Andrew Sanchez, whom has eight UFC fights and is coming off an excellent knockout victory. It’s also another test against a wrestler, but one who actually will throw hands too.

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Brian Kelleher vs. Ricky Simon – It only took 39 seconds for Brian Kelleher to dispatch Ray Rodriguez, who was “Boom’s” third opponent change in a week. The original opponent was supposed to be Ricky Simon, which I thought was a fight that made a lot of sense.

Viviane Araujo vs. winner of Andrea Lee vs. Roxanne Modafferi – Since entering the UFC, Viviane Araujo has been fast-tracked. She has fought the two former title challengers in Jessica Eye and Alexis Davis – within her first three fights in the UFC. So, fighting someone like Montana De La Rosa was more up to par for my liken. She did not disappoint either, earning two 30-27’s and a 29-28 on the judge’s scorecard. What should be next is the winner of Andrea Lee vs. Roxanne Modafferi. They would presumably be ahead of her in the UFC rankings and both women provide a nice step up in competition.

Hunter Azure vs. Davey Grant – After losing his first professional bout, Hunter Azure bounced back with a hard fought decision victory over Cole Smith. The MMA lab product came into the UFC with some hype, and while he had the setback – this performance showed that he’s one to watch at 135 pounds. What I think should be next, is a fight against Davey Grant. The Ultimate Fighter veteran is riding a two-fight win streak, and is coming off an excellent fight – which he won by knockout. Despite suffering a fractured jaw, Grant claimed he would be ready to get back it soon, and a fight against Azure would make for a fun one.

Matches to Make: Losers

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Augusto Sakai vs. Alexey Oleinik – There is no shame in losing to Alistair Overeem – clearly the Demolition Man is still skilled and a hard out for any heavyweight. This defeat was Augosto Sakai’s first in the UFC and I just don’t see it dropping his stock. I feel like a fight against another experienced veteran in Alexey Oleinik would be in order. Clearly, Sakai needs to work on his takedown defense and this type of fight would show if he’s improved.

Alonzo Menifield vs. Khadis Ibragimov – After storming into the UFC with two vicious knockout victories, Alonzo Menifield has now found himself on the end of back-to-back defeats. At this point, a fight down the pecking order is needed to revive the young sluggers career. If Khadis Ibragimov is still in the UFC, and they believe in him – perhaps this fight wouldn’t make sense. However, if they are looking to get Menifield’s confidence up, while extending a fourth chance to Ibragimov – then why not.

Zelim Imadaev vs. Jason Witt – After entering the UFC with a perfect 8-0 record, Zelim Imadaev has stumbled to find any success. The Russian prospect has lost three consecutive fights and could frankly be cut. If not, a fight against Jason Witt could be in order. If you recall, Witt stepped in on super short notice against Takashi Sato. Unfortunately, the fight last 48 seconds, as Witt was knocked out. Given the notice and willingness to step up, Witt should be given a second chance and a fight against the slumping Imadaev would make sense.

Bartosz Fabinski vs. Alessio Di Chirico – One of the more surprising results, was to see the ultimate grinder Bartosz Fabinski lose. Then again, of his four professional losses, three now have come via submission. While the UFC may not love his style, perhaps a make or break fight against Alessio Di Chirico should be in order. The Italian has solid takedown defense and has currently lost three consecutive fights. This fight would push both men to the limits, and with something to prove given their situations.

Ray Rodriguez vs. Gabriel Silva – The 32 year old veteran Ray Rodriguez finally made his UFC debut. Unfortunately for him, it came on 24 hours notice and lasted only 39 seconds. Despite the defeat, the UFC should give Rodriguez another opportunity. A fight against Gabriel Silva, who is 0-2 in the UFC should be in order. Silva came into the UFC undefeated, was dealt a tough debut against Ray Borg and then got bested by Kyler Phillips in his second fight. If another opportunity is out there for him, I liken this matchup for both.

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Montana De La Rosa vs. Molly McMann – After winning her first three UFC fights, Montana De La Rosa has lost two of her last three fights. Both losses came when she received a bump in competition. At 25 years old, with her grappling, submission, toughness and evolving striking – there is plenty of time for De La Rosa to tap into her potential. A good next fight would be against Molly McCann. The one they call “Meatball” is as tough as they come. While she stumbled in her last go, prior she had rallied off three straight wins. McCann brings forth wrestling and striking that would make for a fun fight.

Cole Smith vs. Vince Morales – After starting his UFC career with a victory over Mitch Gagnon, Cole Smith has yet to taste a second victory. The one they call “The Cole Train” has dropped two consecutive fights. One being by split decision and the other unanimous – the latter of which he had moments of advantageous positions to potentially finish the fight. A good next fight would be against Vince Morales. The “Vandetta” is 1-3 inside the Octagon, having lost his last two fights – the last of which came via leg kicks. So, with both struggling to claim victory, this would be a good bounce back fight for the winner.

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