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vs. Alexander Volkanovski – In a fight destined to a barnburner, saw Brian Ortega suffer a shoulder injury that halted the bout in the opening round. Unfortunate, but a part of the game, Rodriguez nabbed an important win. One that should see him challenge for the Featherweight title. Obviously, Volkanovski has been clamoring for a shot at the Lightweight title and quite frankly, has every right to. However, with the announcement of Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev in October, there is a timeline that could see Rodriguez get a title shot in December.
Amanda Lemos vs. Marina Rodriguez – While Rodriguez deserves a title shot, given Zhang’s popularity and performance against Joanna Jędrzejczyk, there is little chance the former Champion isn’t getting the next crack at the title. On the backburner, Rodriguez will presumably need to emphatically make her case for a title shot. This is where an opportune Lemos steps in, who has developed herself into one of the more feared finishers in the division.
Li Jingliang vs. Michel Pereira – After a stretch that saw Jingliang drop two of three fights, the “Leech” bounced back with an excellent stoppage victory over Muslim Salikhov. Still ranked in the top fifteen, a fellow ranked opponent in Michel Pereira would make for a logical next fight. It would also be really exciting.
Matt Schnell vs. Matheus Nicolau – In an all-time performance, that saw an unbreakable will to win, Schnell pulled off an epic comeback victory over Su Mudaerji. Following the victory, which undoubtedly elevated his stock immensely, Schnell called out Matheus Nicolau. A perfect next fight for both top ten fighters.
Shane Burgos vs. Ilia Topuria – After improving his record in New York to 7-0, Burgos seems like a shoe-in to return to the octagon in November at MSG. A logical fight would be against a fellow top fifteen foe in the undefeated Ilia Topuria.
Lauren Murphy vs. the winner of Viviane Araujo vs. Alexa Grasso – Coming back from a rough title loss to Valentina Shevchenko, Murphy returned to the octagon with a flawless victory over Miesha Tate. While Murphy called out the winner of Manon Fiorot vs. Jessica Andrade (or Katlyn Chookagian), if Fiorot wins, she has every right to challenge for the title. With that in mind, what makes more sense is the winner of Viviane Araujo vs. Alexa Grasso. A fight that takes place in August.
Punahele Soriano vs, Gregory Rodrigues – Ending a two-fight skid, with an excellent knockout victory, Soriano finds himself back in a position to climb the totem. Seeing that Gregory Rodrigues just won a month ago, I could definitely see the UFC pair the two heavy hitting sluggers against each other.
Ricky Simon vs. Rob Font 2 – Despite being buried on the preliminary card, Simon picked up a huge win over the undefeated Jack Shore – which extended his win streak to five. Potentially finding himself in the top ten come Monday, Simon is in line for a big fight. Obviously wanting a piece of Sean O’Malley, after yet again calling him out, Simon realistically could strive for bigger things. For one, nearly the entire top-ten is booked. Only Rob Font, Pedro Munhoz and Petr Yan are available. Given Munhoz just fought and has an eye injury, he wouldn’t make sense. Yan being ranked one, probably wouldn’t take the risk. Which leads me to a rematch against Font. The number seventh ranked fighter.
Bill Algeo vs. Ricardo Ramos – Surviving what seemed like a fight ending triangle-choke, Algeo went on to stop Herbert Burns. Showing off his well rounded game along the way, Algeo put the Featherweight division on notice with his second consecutive win. A fun next fight to make, would be against Ricard Ramos.
Dustin Jacoby vs. Ryan Spann – Since returning to MMA, Jacoby has been on a mission. Unbeaten in the last nine fights, Jacoby notched an excellent knockout victory over a solid foe in Da Un Jung. Firmly entrenched in the top fifteen, it’s time for Jacoby to climb. Sitting at twelfth and coming off a submission win over Ion Cutelaba is Ryan Spann. A perfect next foe.
Dustin Stoltzfus vs. Joseph Holmes – With three straight losses coming in, Stoltzfus’ UFC career hung in the balance. After a tight first round, Stoltzfus got his game flowing and took the last two rounds to notch UFC victory number one. Given his placement near the bottom of the division, it’s only right to pair him against a fighter in a similar position in Joseph Holmes – who too just notched his first UFC victory in May.
Emily Ducote vs. Luana Pinheiro – Following a solid debut victory over Jessica Penne, Ducote has firmly entrenched herself into the division’s top fifteen. A good next step, without pushing her too quickly, would be against a fellow top fifteen fighter in Luana Pinheiro.
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vs. Bryce Mitchell – Unsure how long Ortega is expected to miss with his shoulder injury, it’s hard to grant his request of a rematch with Yair Rodriguez. Given the injury could result in a lengthy absence, this prediction is based on timing. As long as Mitchell has another fight soon, and wins, I could see him earning a top five foe. Ortega would stylistically be an intriguing fight, that could see two of the best grapplers in the division tangle.
Michelle Waterson vs. Amanda Ribas – If the UFC would add an Atomweight division, Waterson would be the first to fight for the title. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like something that the UFC has in the woodworks. Given that, Waterson will have to have to continue her trek in a division full of bigger foes. A perfect next fight would against Amanda Ribas. A fellow ranked fighter, who unsuccessfully forayed up to Flyweight in her last fight.
Muslim Salikhov vs. Tim Means – While a win would of catapulted Salikhov into the top fifteen, the loss was his first in the past six fights. Still on the outside looking in, but not too far off, a fight against an exciting veteran in Tim Means would make for an exciting clash.
Su Mudaerji vs. David Dvorak – In an epic fight against Matt Schnell, one which earned “Fight of the Night” honors, Mudaerji fell short. Rocking Schnell multiple times, it had appeared like Mudaerji was nearing a stoppage. Unfortunately for the Tibetan, that wasn’t the case, as Schnell pulled off a tremendous comeback. While the loss hurts, Mudaerji’s ranking and stock should remain relatively unimpacted. With that said, a top ten fight against David Dvorak wouldn’t be out of the realm.
Charles Jourdain vs. Alex Caceres – While Jourdain did not sway the judges, who’s scorecards were all over the place, the Canadian swayed the fans with an impressive third round. Given Jourdain almost won the fight and notched his name among the division’s top fifteen, he shouldn’t be penalized in his next fight. One in which should be against Alec Caceres, who fell out of the top fifteen following a defeat to Sodiq Yusuff.
Miesha Tate vs, Cynthia Calvillo – Not sure if Tate will continue to fight after seeing her plan to leapfrog herself into a title shot fail. However if she does and at Flyweight again, a fight against Cynthia Calvillo would be ideal for both. Especially considering they are in ruts and urgently needing a victory to get there careers back on track.
Dalcha Lungiambula vs. Jordan Wright – If the UFC grants the former EFC champion, who has lost three straight, another shot, a fight against a fellow struggling Middleweight in Jordan Wright would make sense.
Jack Shore vs. Casey Kenney – Suffering his first professional defeat, Shore may require some additional time off. However, upon his return, a fight against Casey Kenney, who thwarted from the division’s top fifteen following back-to-back losses against Dominick Cruz and Yadong Song would make sense.
Herbert Burns vs. Darrick Miner – If Burns suffered a leg injury, he will presumably be out for the rest of the year. Unsure of his timeline, a fun fight in the horizon would be against a fellow submission artist in Darrick Miner.
Da Un Jung vs. Ion Cutelaba – Seeing a fifteen-fight unbeaten streak snapped, as well as a chance to crack the division’s top fifteen not come to fruition, Jung will have to get back on the horse. A fun next fight that could position Jung back to knocking on the division’s top fifteen, would be against the madman that is Ion Cutelaba.
Dwight Grant vs. Alen Amedovski – Dropping his third straight and fourth in the last five, there is a possibility that Grant may be cut. However, if granted another shot, a fight against someone somehow on the roster still in Alen Amedovski would make for an ideal pink slip fight.
Jessica Penne vs. Kanako Murata – With all the lost time due to a suspension, it was tough to see Penne’s two-fight win streak halted. At 39 years old, her chances at a title shot may be over – unless the UFC opens up an Atomweight division for her and Michelle Waterson. However, if Penne continues, a fight against Kanako Murata would make for an intriguing clash of styles.