Matches to make after the latest UFC bouts

Petar Alavanja Roar Rookie

By Petar Alavanja, Petar Alavanja is a Roar Rookie

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    The latest instalment of UFC brought plenty of excitement and unexpected finishes, with contenders emerging and long-time ones falling.

    In the main event, between the number one and two contenders in the women’s bantamweight division, Valentina Shevchenko fought off the grappling threat posed by Julianna Pena and won with the most unlikely of manoeuvres.

    Given her Muay Thai and kickboxing background, a Shevchenko victory was predicted to be earned on the feet, but the Eastern European capitalised on an overzealous Pena’s ground-and-pound attempts late in Round 2 to pull off a perfect armbar off her back.

    In the co-main event, hometown boy Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone had the Denver crowd rocking during the introductions for his fight with the tough Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal, but it was the latter who created noise in the welterweight division with his victory.

    Cerrone’s kicks had Masvidal’s lead leg heavily bruised halfway through the opening round, until Masvidal was able to time his counters to those kicks, leading to an attack that left Cerrone on the mat, dazed and in danger, but ultimately saved by the bell at the end of Round 1.

    In what was a poor decision in hindsight, Cerrone was let out for the second round by his experienced corner team and ringside doctor, while still clearly showing the effects of the barrage of punches at the end of the previous round. Another counter combination to a Cerrone high kick put Masvidal in the position to have the fight stopped moments later, after a flurry of punches to Cerrone’s head and body.

    In the other main card bouts, surging heavyweight Francis Ngannou extended his UFC record to 5-0, all via stoppage, with a first round TKO of veteran Andrei Arlovski. Ngannou put Arlovski away off the back of a sweet two-punch combo, while both fighters were trading shots.

    The opening bout of the main card also saw Jason Knight upset Alex Caceres, ending an exciting fight in the second round via rear naked choke.

    Fights to make next

    Shevchenko vs Amanda Nunes
    As the number one contender going into her match with Pena, the only fight left is a rematch with current champion Amanda Nunes, this time for Nunes’ bantamweight championship.

    The pair faced off less than a year ago, on the main card of UFC 196, with Nunes taking a split decision. Most felt the Brazilian took the first two rounds and Shevchenko the third after a slow start.

    Both Shevchenko and Nunes are now at the peak of their abilities, and with five full rounds to decide the outcome, fans will be in for a treat.

    Masvidal vs Lorenz Larkin or Dong Hyun Kim
    Masvidal’s huge victory over number five ranked Cerrone is bound to shoot him up the welterweight rankings from his current ranking of 12.

    In May of last year, Masvidal lost a razor-close split decision to the currently sixth ranked Lorenz Larkin, and a rematch with Larkin offers Masvidal the chance to avenge a close loss, while also fighting another top ten ranked opponent.

    If the UFC is not that way inclined, then a fight with number seven ranked Dong Hyun Kim of South Korea makes sense. Kim and Masvidal even have prior history, with a fight scheduled in November of 2015 that ultimately never took place.

    Kim is also on a three-fight win streak, after defeating Tarec Saffiedine at UFC 207.

    Ngannou vs Ben Rothwell
    It is time for a serious step up in competition for Ngannou. Arlovski brought the name recognition but a long-suspect chin made their contest more of a formality than an even contest.

    Dana White has stated that Ngannou can be a long-reigning heavyweight champion, but he is still a fight or two away from a title shot, even in the thin heavyweight division.

    Rothwell is currently the only fighter from number three rank to number nine without a fight scheduled, as he is recovering from an injury that will have him out of action until April, which also gives Ngannou time to rest after two fights in two months.

    A victory over Rothwell would propel Ngannou to the top of the heap of contenders, with the likes of Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum knocking on the door for a number one contender bout or title fight.

    Honourable mentions
    Jason Knight’s submission victory of Alex Caceres brings his win streak to three after losing his UFC debut. A fight with someone at the lower end of the top 15 bantamweights, like an Andre Fili or Renan Barao, would be welcome.

    Donald Cerrone is now out of title consideration in two divisions. Given his reluctance to even spar due to concerns over head trauma, ‘Cowboy’ may even flirt with retirement.

    After a long and storied career it is now time for the UFC and Greg Jackson to instil thoughts of retirement in Andrei Arlovski’s mind before he takes long-lasting damage in the octagon.

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • Roar Guru

      January 31st 2017 @ 4:40am
      Isaac Nowroozi said | January 31st 2017 @ 4:40am | ! Report

      Fighting six weeks after going to war with Matt Brown was a big mistake. He got the head kick KO in the end, but he was tagged hard against Brown, and dropped once as well. After suffering a concussion just six weeks ago, no commission in the world should have cleared him to fight. It’s weird also, because Cowboy has said that he no longer spars because he wants to be 100% in his fights.

      With that being said, Cerrone will fight anyone on any kind of notice. He should take 3-6 months off at least, but he’ll be back and fighting regularly after that. Don’t see him retiring any time soon.

      • January 31st 2017 @ 11:28am
        DJW said | January 31st 2017 @ 11:28am | ! Report

        Totally agree. He won the Brown fight but copped quite a bit of damage himself. Cerrone and Masividal were fighting at a range that eliminated the kicking threat of both, besides the thigh kicks from Cerrone.

        Masvidal looked great to be fair. I wonder if this will be the start of a run up the rankings for him.

        I had Cerrone in a 3 leg multi, cost me my multi. Probably should of considered his close previous fight.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 31st 2017 @ 11:02pm
        Petar Alavanja said | January 31st 2017 @ 11:02pm | ! Report

        Poor judgement by his corner sending him out for that second round too I think 60 seconds was never gonna be enough to recover the necessary amount

    • January 31st 2017 @ 11:29am
      DJW said | January 31st 2017 @ 11:29am | ! Report

      Ngannou is a beast. Should get a top 5 fight next. Don’t think to many heavyweights will be looking forward to facing him.

      • Roar Rookie

        January 31st 2017 @ 11:03pm
        Petar Alavanja said | January 31st 2017 @ 11:03pm | ! Report

        I wouldn’t like to see him fight a werdum or Velasquez just yet maybe one more fight from the real big dogs of the division

    • January 31st 2017 @ 11:30am
      DJW said | January 31st 2017 @ 11:30am | ! Report

      I enjoyed the Li Jiangling fight. He looked gone a few times but came back and won.

    • January 31st 2017 @ 8:56pm
      Siimson said | January 31st 2017 @ 8:56pm | ! Report

      Conor McGregor needs to defend the lightweight belt.
      Whats the point in having a lightweight belt and cannot defend it?

      • February 1st 2017 @ 12:36pm
        DJW said | February 1st 2017 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

        He will fight winner of Khabib vs Ferguson. Both will cause McGregor problems. Agree though, he wins belts and then never defends. Aldo defended his belt like 7 times then lost once and was never afforded a rematch. Disgraceful from the UFC. I don’t think Connor can make that cut anymore but wouldn’t admit to it.

    • January 31st 2017 @ 9:02pm
      Simson said | January 31st 2017 @ 9:02pm | ! Report

      Does anyone have an answer???

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