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A card that felt like a PPV delivered, with excellent preliminary bouts to entertaining main card action too. While the headliner featuring Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley featured the most buzz, the fight itself didn’t particularly live up to it. Covington dominated the fight from start to finish and once again finds himself back in the mix at 170 lbs.
Matches to Make: Winners
Colby Covington vs. Jorge Masvidal – As much as I wouldn’t mind to see Jorge Masvidal fight Nate Diaz for a second time, I feel that it would be a shame if the UFC didn’t pull a switch-a-roo – and pit the former training partners against each other. Colby Covington already put to bed a former training partner in Tyron Woodley, why not keep this angle going? Throw in the fact that Masvidal teamed up with Woodley ahead of the fight against Covington – and it just seems like a no brainer.Embed from Getty Images
Donald Cerrone vs. Nick Diaz – While Donald Cerrone wasn’t happy with his performance, he did prove that he still can take punishment. And while he wants to run it back with Niko Price early next year, I believe a better opportunity awaits in Nick Diaz. The Stockton native is targeting a return to the sport in early 2021. Given Diaz’s over five-year absence, a game veteran in Donald Cerrone would be an appropriate and entertaining return fight.
Niko Price vs. Li Jingliang – I understand that Niko Price would run it back with Donald Cerrone, but something tells me that Price is going to want to fight earlier than Cerrone’s suggested timeline of early 2021. And if so, it should be a fight that is going to be entertaining and makes sense. In my opinion, the perfect dance partner that fits the bill – is Li Jingliang. Prior to losing to Neil Magny, Jingliang had won seven of his last eight fights. Of those seven wins, five were T/KO finishes. Might I add that Jingliang has racked up a combined five bonuses in his last seven fights. To that, sign me up!Embed from Getty Images
Khamzat Chimaev vs. Michael Chiesa – Find me a fighter that has stormed into the UFC as dominantly and nearly untouchable as Khamzat Chimaev. According to UFCStats, in three fights, Chimaev has only seen four strikes. Two of which landed, but only one being significant. Even crazier, Chimaev has landed 196 total strikes in those three fights. While Demian Maia was talked about as Chimaev’s next opponent, I no longer want to see that. Let’s shoot for a more relevant fight – against Michael Chiesa. The Ultimate Fighter 15 winner checks in at number eight in the UFC rankings. Since moving up to Welterweight, Chiesa is 3-0, with a big victory over Rafael dos Anjos. He’s not opposed to fighting Chimaev – so why not?
Johnny Walker vs. Ovince St. Preux – I called for this matchup after OSP knocked out Alonzo Menifield – and I’m still all about it. Johnny Walker’s accession to contender status is still a ways off, especially with his troubling lack thereof striking defense shown in his last three fights. A fight against a game veteran in OSP, who would make Walker pay for the mistakes should be in order. Not to make Walker pay, but to see if he makes the necessary adjustments to fulfill his potential.
Mackenzie Dern vs. Tecia Torres – While I initially was thinking of a fight that pitted Mackenzie Dern against Virna Jandiroba – I don’t necessarily think derailing either would be in the best interest. Instead, Dern should fight a veteran like Tecia Torres in my opinion. The ‘Tiny Tornado’ checks in at #11 in the UFC ranking, three spots ahead of Dern. Torres is coming off an impressive performance against Brianna Van Buren in June, putting a halt to a four fight losing streak. At the moment, Torres is in a gatekeeper role, but a win over Dern would firmly exit her that notion.
Kevin Holland vs. Marvin Vettori – Despite winning via split decision, Kevin Holland’s stated that he thought he lost the fight against Darren Stewart and would like to run it back. I on the other hand see an entertaining fight available – like one against Marvin Vettori. The ‘Italian Dream’ has won three fights in a row and has been constantly calling out fighters on his social media. Given Vettori’s confidence to talk the talk, why not pair up ‘Big Mouth’ Holland against him. The trash talk and the fight would definitely excite. With the pairing of Marvin Vettori against Omari Akhmedov, that puts a halt to my idea. I guess set up the rematch of Kevin Holland against Darrent Stewart.
David Dvorak vs. Tim Elliott – With the win on Saturday, David Dvorak has silently rattled off fourteen consecutive victories. While he’s yet to show his finishing instincts in the UFC, I believe with more fights, comes more comfortability in the octagon. What should be next, is a fight against Tim Ellitott. The veteran checks in a tick below Dvorak in the UFC Flyweight Rankings, but provides an excellent test – while not fast-tracking Dvorak.
Damon Jackson vs. Daniel Pineda – After being grappled into oblivion for two rounds, Damon Jackson never relented – catching Mirsad Bektic with a fight ending guillotine in the third round. It was a much needed win for Jackson, as he was cut from the promotion back in 2016. With the impressive victory, and given Jackson’s style – I’m feeling a fight against another guy who made the most of his second opportunity recently in Daniel Pineda. I mean, the judges would be irrelevant here, as both men are bonafide judges.
Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Alexa Grasso – If Mayra Bueno Silva can stay healthy, I see her becoming a player at Flyweight very shortly. She’s got a well rounded game, with excellent grappling abilities. I feel like the next step would be a bump in competition against someone like Alexa Grasso. The former Strawweight, successfully debuted at Flyweight against Ji Yeon Kim in late August. Her striking and speed translated ten pounds up, and I’m sure Silva would oblige her on the feet if this fight were to go down.Embed from Getty Images
Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Karol Rosa – Jessica-Rose Clark returned to the Bantamweight division in emphatic fashion, finishing Sarah Alpar (twice) in the third round. While injuries and run at Flyweight have halted her progression, she looks to be physically in tip top condition. I’d like to see Clark now fight a striker, like Karol Rosa. The Brazilian is 2-0 in the UFC, and is riding on a four-fight win streak. This would be a higher profile fight for Rosa, while also giving us a better chance to see Clark’s revamped striking.
Darrick Minner vs. Steven Peterson – It’s crazy to me that Darrick Minner was such a big underdog last Saturday. While I understand his UFC tenure hasn’t been successful, he’s shown in previous fights that he’s a submission specialist. The fact that any fighter would choose to grapple, only gives Minner a possibility to catch them. Anyways, with the victory, Minner rightfully should fight someone also in the lower end of the Featherweight division. I’m thinking Steven Peterson would fit that build. The one they call ‘Ocho’ is coming off a highlight reel knockout victory and interestingly enough, has never been finished via submission. Regardless, this would be a fun one.
Randy Costa vs. Benito Lopez – Since losing his UFC debut, Randy Costa has reeled off two impressive knockout victories. While Costa was green coming into the UFC, he certainly is shedding that label of late. However, let’s not go crazy and bump him up too much. Let’s give him a fellow striker, who can take punishment and dish it back – someone like Benito Lopez. The ‘Golden Boy’ also has a knockout victory over Journey Newsome on the regional scene. He’s 2-1 in the UFC, and has delivered very entering fights thus far. This fight would not disappoint and I could definitely see it being a potential Fight of the Night.
Andre Ewell vs. Kyung Ho Kang – With the victory over Irwin Rivera, Andre Ewell has now won two fights in a row and three of his last four. Funny enough too, of the four UFC victories, three have come via split decision. Regardless, a bump up in competition is warranted and I feel that Kyung Ho Kang would be ideal. ‘Mr. Perfect’ has won three fights in a row, and the last two coming via split decision. Kang has yet to fight in 2020, but the UFC going to Fight Island often presents an opportunity to get one fight in by year’s end.
Tyson Nam vs. Matt Schnell – After Tyson Nam annihilated Jerome Rivera, he called out Joseph Benavidez. Personally, I don’t see Benavidez taking the fight. It doesn’t make any sense for him, and if he fights again, it’s probably at Bantamweight. Given the landscape, the original bout against Matt Schnell presented an opportunity for Nam to crack the top ten. Why not set it up again?
Matches to Make After: LosersEmbed from Getty Images
Tyron Woodley vs. Robbie Lawler – Unfortunately, most fighter’s experience regression. For Woodley, it’s been a tough last three fights. The inability to let his hands go or seemingly get up for a fight anymore has been tough to see. If Woodley does choose to continue fighting, the Robbie Lawler rematch would one of the few fights that makes sense. *Robbie Lawler is slated to fight Mike Perry at UFC 255. However, win or lose, this fight still would make sense*.
Gerald Meerschaert vs. Jack Marshman – It’s been a tough go for Gerald Meerschaert of late, and I can’t imagine a seventeen second knockout defeat made it in any better. While Meerschaert’s job could be in jeopardy due to a stretch that has seen him win only two of his last seven fights – I still believe he’s good for the division. A suggested idea is to build Meerschaert back up with a lower fight in the division – against Jack Marshman. The ‘Hammer’ has an up and down UFC career, but that’s mostly due to fighting really tough competition. Not to say this fight wouldn’t be that, but it’s a lesser opponent than he’s been used to. Either way, it’s a make or break type fight for both.
Ryan Spann vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk – I feel that if Ryan Spann would of just given up the position of trying to take Johnny Walker down from the cage, he could of avoided being elbowed into another dimension. However, it’s easier said then done. A good bounce back fight for Spann, could be against Michal Oleksiejczuk – who has lost two fights in a row, but notably started his UFC career with two impressive first round finishes. I venture to guess, if this fight were to happen, it wouldn’t go the full three rounds.
Randa Markos vs. Felice Herrig – I’m not sure what the gameplan of Randa Markos was, but it couldn’t have been to jump into the guard of MacKenzie Dern. I mean, her advantages were clearly on the feet. Regardless, Markos is now on a bit of snide and really has failed to build any momentum in the octagon – never winning more than one fight in her fifteen UFC fights. What should be next is Felice Herrig. ‘The Lil Bulldog’ returned to the octagon after a near two year layoff and was promptly submitted by Virna Jandiroba in the first round. It was Herrig’s third consecutive lost. Given both women’s slides, this fight would present an opportunity to rebound.Embed from Getty Images
Darren Stewart vs. Omari Akhmedov – Given Martin Vettori is fighting Omari Akhmedov, I guess the Kevin Holland rematch makes more sense now for Darren Stewart.
Jordan Espinosa vs. Ryan Benoit – The Flyweight division isn’t exactly a deep one, so while Jordan Espinosa has only won one of his last four fights – he still remains in the top fifteen of the division. A fighter who is in a similar struggle, just outside the the top fifteen, would be Ryan Benoit. Both men need to get it going to remain in the UFC, so this would be a make or break type fight.
Mirsad Bektic vs. Nik Lentz – At one point, Mirsad Bektic was being touted as a potential world champion. Now, he’s fighting to practically remain in the UFC. After stifling Damon Jackson for two rounds, Bektic once again faltered in the third round. The loss made it three consecutive and at age 29 – while there is still time, the next few fights are coming way outside the top fifteen. In my opinion, Nik Lentz fits that bill.
Mara Romero Borella vs. Nadia Kaseem – There is a definite chance that Mara Romero Borella is cut. She’s lost four consecutive fights, and has been finished in three of them. If not, a fight against Nadia Kaseem makes sense. The Aussie has lost two fights in a row, both being by finish. For either women, a win a must.
Sarah Alpar vs. Julija Stoliarenko – While Sarah Alpar took a beating, she showed glimpses and certainly the toughness needed to stick in the UFC. A good next fight would be against Julija Stoliarenko, who is coming off a loss in her UFC debut as well.
T.J. Laramie vs. T.J Brown – I’m not sure why T.J. Laramie engaged in grappling Darrick Minner right away, but he will learn from this. A good next fight would be against a fellow T.J., in ‘Downtown’ Brown. The Arkansas native has yet to taste a victory in the octagon, losing his first two UFC fights. This would be an opportunity for both men to see that first win.
Journey Newson vs. Irwin Rivera – Both lost last Saturday, and haven’t quite lived up to expectations in the octagon. Would be an ideal pairing.