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Israel Adesanya put on a striking clinic against Paulo Costa – finishing the Brazilian in round two. Using distance, Izzy landed at will against Costa. For whatever reason, Costa decided against using his usual pressure and volume striking, but instead decided to be a non-moving target for Izzy to pick apart.
As for the co-main event. Sometimes, the unlikely happens in the UFC and you can’t help but to be shocked, yet feel good at the same time. Jan Blachowicz is the example of that. Once upon a time, Blachowicz could not stop a takedown to save his life. Due to that particular weakness, Blachowicz at one point was 1-4 in his last five UFC fights. Perhaps due to the shallowness of the division, Blachowicz didn’t receive his walking papers despite the skid. Instead, Blachowicz improved and won seven of his next eight fights – leading to a title shot. One in which Blachowicz cashed in and he is now the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.
Matches to Make: Winners
Israel Adesanya vs. Winner of Robert Whittaker vs. Jared Cannonier – Dominant was Israel Adesanya, who put on an absolute striking clinic on Paulo Costa. By round two, Adesanya clipped the Brazilian and put him away – successfully defending his Middleweight Championship for the second time. Next up, should be the winner of Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannoiner.
While Adesanya already walloped Robert Whittaker, a win over Cannonier would make two straight wins since the defeat. That includes a chess match victory over Darren Till. In my opinion, the former Middleweight Champion would be more than deserving of a second crack at Izzy. As for Cannonier, a win over Whittaker makes it four straight wins since moving down to Middleweight. The ‘Killa Gorilla’ would present a fresh challenge for the champ.Embed from Getty Images
Jan Blachowicz vs. Winner of Thiago Santos vs. Glover Teixeira – The power that got Blachowicz to the UFC, that earned him a title shot – showed up in the biggest fight of his life. Dominick Reyes is known for his durability, but the ‘Polish Power’ proved to be too much. Blachowicz clipped Reyes in round two, and proceeded to reign down punches until the referee stepped in. An unlikely champion is Blachowicz, but with his power, he’s got the ability to sleep any challenger.
Next up should undoubtedly be the winner of Thiago Santos vs. Glover Teixeira. Santos has not fought since sustaining injuries in a competitive title bout against Jon Jones. However, he is still at the top of the division and notably is the only one who has beat Blachowicz in his last nine fights. As for Teixeira, a win over Santos would make it five consecutive wins. The former title challenger isn’t getting any younger at 40 years old – but even at that, you can’t deny he wouldn’t deserve the next title shot.
Brandon Royval vs.
Askar Askarov – There’s a storm a brewing in the Flyweight division, and it’s ‘Rawdog’ Brandon Royval. While a fight against Askar Askarov would of been an epic battle of scrambles – Royval is stepping in for Alex Perez to fight Brandon Moreno at UFC 255.
Ketlen Viera vs. Raquel Pennington – Ketlen Viera needs to stay healthy, as she is one of the few fighters in the Bantamweight division who hasn’t fought Amanda Nunes yet. A logical next fight for the Brazilian would be against Raquel Pennington. And as crazy as this sounds, a win over Raquel Pennington could potentially leapfrog her into a title shot.Embed from Getty Images
Hakeem Dawodu vs. Cub Swanson – I’ve got to say, the way Hakeem Dawodu has rebounded since his UFC debut defeat has been special. Some prospects go by the wayside when they get upset. However, Dawodu has taken it in full stride and is tapping into his potential. While three of his five consecutive wins have come via split decision, two of them – against Kyle Bochniak and Julio Arce were absurdly incorrect. In fact, according to MMADecisions, not one media member had it for Bochniak or Arce.
What should be next, is a fight against Cub Swanson. The veteran is in somewhat of a gatekeeper role – which I hate to say. However, make no mistake, Swanson is a tough out for anyone. I feel if this fight were to made, the striker vs. striker matchup has barnburner written all over it.
Brad Riddell vs. Vinc Pichel – Three UFC fights, three wins for Brad Riddell. While the last two fights have been competitive, the Aussie continues to persevere and edge out his foes. A logical next step, would be a bump in competition – one that would potentially garner a spot in the UFC’s rankings for both men. A fight against Vinc Pichel would do just that.
Jake Matthews vs. Belal Muhammad – I thought that Jake Matthews was a little too patient with Diego Sanchez, as he was clearly the faster and stronger fighter. Regardless, Matthews prevailed and has now won six of his last seven fights. Up next, should be a fight against Belal Muhammad. ‘Remember the Name’ has been on fire of late, winning seven of his last eight fights. In a crowded Welterweight division, both men seemingly are creeping up to the top fifteen. Perhaps this fight would get one of them over the hump.
Ludovit Klein vs. Nathan Maness – Despite missing weight, I was very impressed with Ludovit Klein. So much that, I feel we might have something here. Whether Klein becomes a contender or a must watch fighter – let’s build up the 25 year old finisher slowly. A fighter like Nathan Maness would be a competitive next step.Embed from Getty Images
William Knight vs. Jordan Wright – It’s been quite a year for William Knight, who is a perfect 3-0 since the calendar flipped. Coming off an impressive win over Aleksa Camur, Knight has the looks of a fighter who can ascend in a shallow Light Heavyweight division. A good next fight would be against Jordan Wright. The ‘Beverly Hills Ninja’ is a perfect 11-0, with every victory via stoppage – including a UFC debut TKO victory in round one over Ike Villanueva. If anything is guaranteed, this fight won’t go the distance.
Juan Espino vs. Chase Sherman – At 39 years of age, Juan Espino is going to need to fight more often if he’s going to ever be considered a contender. After winning the Ultimate Fighter 28 in 2018, it took nearly two years to get back into the octagon. A step up in competition is needed here, and I think Chase Sherman fits that bill.
Danilo Marques vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu – Not the best debut I’ve seen, but a win no less for Danilo Marques. Up next, a fight against Kennedy Nzechukwu makes sense. The Nigerian bounced back from his UFC debut defeat, to defeat a very tough Darko Stosic via decision.
Matches to Make: LosersEmbed from Getty Images
Paulo Costa vs. Derek Brunson – There could be a chance that Paulo Costa moves up to Light Heavyweight, but given the aftermath of the defeat to Israel Adesanya – revenge could certainly be on his mind. Given the landscape of the division, Costa is going to need to win two or three more fights to even be considered. A good next fight would be against Derek Brunson. The American is on a resurgence, winning three consecutive fights – including finishing a previously undefeated contender in Edmen Shahbazyan. A fight here for both men, gets them one step closer to a rematch against Adesanya.
Dominick Reyes vs. Winner of * vs. Nikita Krylov – Unfortunately, Dominick Reyes stumbled in his second title shot and is going to need to rebuild himself back up. A good next would be against the winner of Nikita Krylov against whomever the replacement for Volkan Oezdemir is.
Kai Kara-France vs. Alejandre Pantoja – Kai Kara-France might of lost last Saturday, but he partook in a wildly exciting fight. Another fight that would deliver in comparison would be against a savage like Alejandre Pantoja.
Sijara Eubanks vs. Lina Lansberg – While Sijara Eubanks couldn’t deliver on a quick turnaround, she didn’t lose stock. A good next fight would be against Lina Lansberg – who is always seemingly involved in grueling fights.Embed from Getty Images
Zubaira Tukhugov vs. Herbert Burns – Many media members scored the fight against Hakeem Dawodu for Zubaira Tukhugov, and I certainly could see it. Regardless, it’s a loss in the books. A good rebound fight would be against Herbert Burns. Both men are in similar standings and the wrestler vs. submission specialist would be a fun one to watch.
Alex da Silva vs. Gabriel Benitez – If Alex da Silva had better cardio last Saturday, he could of very well upset Brad Riddell. Regardless, he looked sharp and I’d like to see him back in there against Gabriel Benitez.
Diego Sanchez vs. Emil Meek – I’m not entirely sure what’s the next step for Diego Sanchez. Perhaps a fight against Emil Meek wouldn’t make sense if it’s his last, but if Sanchez continues fighting – it’s a fight that would probably be more competitive than his last.
Shane Young vs. Chris Fishgold – Shane Young suffered his first professional defeat via stoppage, which could result in taking some time off. When he returns, I’d like to see the New Zealand native take on Chris Fishgold.
Aleksa Camur vs. Dalcha Lungiambula – Aleska Camur suffered his first professional lost last Saturday. However, at 25 years old and being a training partner of Stipe Miocic – there is plenty of time to develop. A good next fight would be against the former EFC stalworth Dalcha Lungiambula.
Jeff Hughes vs. Ben Sosoli – Jeff Hughes has been cut. Khadris Ibragimov vs. Marcin Prachnio – Khadris Ibragimov has been cut.