Tom Aspinall vs. Tai Tuivasa – After an impressive performance, one in which resulted in a first round submission victory over Alexander Volkov, Tom Aspinall called out Tai Tuivasa. A fight that couldn’t be more perfect to make. With Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou out of action for nine months, an Interim Heavyweight Title fight is all but coming. However, neither Tom Aspinall or Tai Tuivasa will be apart of it. Instead, it will be Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic. While the Heavyweight title has been one of the least defended title and either Jones or Miocic being apart of it won’t help that cause, it’s the fight to make. The number one contender’s fight though, is one-hundred percent Aspinall and Tuivasa.
Arnold Allen vs. Calvin Kattar – Since joining the UFC in 2015, Arnold Allen has yet to lose. That trend continued in perhaps his best performance to date, stopping Dan Hooker in the opening round. At 9-0 in the UFC, it’s time for Allen to not only main event, but enter the title conversation. Given he’s expressed the desire for both, and has even called out Calvin Kattar, the UFC would be wise to get behind Allen. He’s that good.
Paddy Pimblett vs. Ilia Topuria – Sometimes the matchmakers have to do some work, other times, fights fall in their laps. This is one of tumes that the fights that fell on their laps, as Paddy Pimblett and Ilia Topuria have spat over twitter, had a run-in at the fighter hotel and both won impressively. With a softball practically thrown in the direction of the UFC, it would be a huge whiff if they were to pass on this opportunity. One in which would be a hell of a build-up to the fight.
Gunnar Nelson vs. Michael Chiesa – I’m not sure what Nelson’s ceiling is, but if he wants to make a run at the title, he’s got to stay active. If so, a fight against Michael Chiesa would be a lot of fun. One in which would feature two high caliber grapplers with excellent submission abilities.
Makwan Amirikhani vs. Ryan Hall – With losses in three straight and four of his last five, Makwan Amirkhani desperately needed a victory. And boy did he get one, as he quickly defeated Mike Grundy via submission in round one. Seeing how Amirkhani still has a name and clearly is an excellent grappler, a fight against a BJJ wiz in Ryan Hall would make for an entertaining grappling affair.
Sergei Pavlovich vs. Andrei Arlovski – With an emphatic first round knockout victory over Shamil Abdurakhimov, Sergei Pavlovich extended his win streak to three. A real powerhouse with legitimate knockout power, Pavlovich has the ability to climb the ranks. However, being active would certainly go a long way in aiding that. Nevertheless, a good next test for Pavlovich would be against Andrei Arlovski. The former Heavyweight Champion who is the division leader in wins and bouts. A true veteran and a stiff test for any upstart.
Paul Craig vs. Anthony Smith – Since being knocked out by Alonzo Menifield, Paul Craig has gone 5-0-1 in his last six fights. With back-to-back wins over Jamahal Hill and Nikita Krylov, it’s time to take Craig seriously. He’s a finisher and has perhaps the most dangerous guard in all of mixed martial arts. A next logical step would be either a main event or being on the main card of a PPV against a top five foe. A fighter who meets that qualification and is currently not booked is Anthony Smith. A former title challenger who has rattled off three straight stoppage victories and repositioned himself as a contender in the Light Heavyweight division.
Jack Shore vs. Ricky Simon – With a gutsy victory over Timur Valiev, Jack Shore pushed his record to 16-0. While only five have come inside the octagon, Shore clearly is ready to take on the division’s top fifteen. A good next fight for Shore would be against Ricky Simon. Currently ranked 13th and on a four-fight win streak, Simon would be a stiff test. One in which I would fancy watching, as both men are extremely talented and have the ability to become contenders in this stacked Bantamweight division.
Elise Reed vs. Vanessa Demopoulos – After an impressive win over Cory McKenna, Elise Reed will get a bump up in competition. While the Strawweight division isn’t exactly deep, a fun fight against a fellow fighter with two UFC fights in Vanessa Demopoulos would make sense. Especially considering they both just won their first fight in the UFC
Muhammad Mokaev vs. Carlos Hernandez – A potential Champion in the making has arrived, as Muhammad Mokaev needed only 58 seconds to submit Cody Durden in his UFC debut. While it would be wise for the UFC to build up Mokaev, it’s hard to find a fight that will do so. The division itself is shallow, but perhaps a fight against a Carlos Hernandez would make sense. A fighter who just successfully made his debut.
Alexander Volkov vs. Sergey Spivak – While it’s plausible to set up a rematch between Derrick Lewis, I’m in favor of a fresh face for Alexander Volkov. Still one of the very best Heavyweights, a fight against Sergey Spivak should be in the running. Having been taken down and submitted by Tom Aspinall, Volkov will want to prove that his takedown and submission defense is better than that. Given Spivak’s game revolves around taking opponents down and submitting them, I’d say it’s a perfect way for Volkov to bounce back and regain confidence in his abilities.
Dan Hooker vs. Alex Caceres – I’m not sure what Hooker is thinking as far as what weight class he will fight at next. However, if he gives Featherweight another crack, a fight against Alex Caceres would be a wildly entertaining scrap. One in which Hooker, wouldn’t necessarily have to worry about getting stopped on the feet given Caceres has only three knockouts to his name.
Kazula Vargas vs. Charlie Ontiveros – Zero Chance this would make it past the first round.
Takashi Sato vs. Kenan Song – If Sato is given another chance, this would be an entertaining scrap between two knockout artist.
Luana Carolina vs. Sabino Mazo – This may be a long stretch given the unknown of how long Carolina will be out for, but a fight against a fellow striker in Mazo would be a fun one.
Jai Herbert vs. Devonte Smith – If not cut, this fight would feature two heavy-handed strikers who desperately need a win.
Mike Grundy vs. Danny Henry – If not cut, this would be a contest between two victims of Amirkhani.
Shamil Abdurakhimov vs, Walt Harris – If not cut or retired, perhaps a fight against Walt Harris or Augusto Sakai would do. After all, all three have lost three straight.
Nikita Krylov vs. Volkan Oezdemir – If there is a kryptonite of Krylov’s, it’s submission artist. Oezdemir happens to not be one.
Timur Valiev vs. Raulian Paiva – While this might be a stretch, I don’t see Valiev’s defeat as a stock dropper. He looked good at times and proved his toughness by getting back up after adversity. This would be a nice fight for both, as it would get them back in the position previous to their recent defeat.
Cory McKenna vs. Miranda Granger – One of these fighters have to get out of the bottom of a top heavy Strawweight division.
Cody Durden vs. Victor Rodriguez – Both gentleman are a combined 1-3-1 in the UFC. Potential pink slip fight.