Monday Matchmaker: UFC 228 Edition
UFC 228 proved to be an event for the ages, filled top to bottom with back and forth wars and exciting finishes that left fans around the world hungry for more. It kept up with the age-old notion of not judging a fight card until it happens. We saw reigning welterweight champion Tyron Woodley dominate for his third straight title defense and a slew of other awesome fights to go along with it. On this edition of Monday Matchmaker, we look at UFC 228 and what may be next for the winners and losers:
(C)Tyron Woodley vs. Colby Covington- Now that Woodley has gotten past Darren Till, it’s time for the matchup that should have been pegged originally if not for an injury to Colby Covington after winning the interim title against Rafael dos Anjos. This matchup has a ton of bad blood thanks to Covington’s trash talk and will make for a title fight for the ages. UFC 230 needs a main event and this fits perfectly.
Jessica Andrade vs. (C)Rose Namajunas- Jessica Andrade is the undisputed number one contender to Rose Namajunas’ belt after launching Karolina Kowalkiewicz into orbit with a vicious right hand. Andrade wants the fight in December but who knows when Namajunas is going to be in the right mental state to take a fight based off of her words as of late.
Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Chad Mendes- It usually turns out beneficial when fighters take advantage of their mic time after a solid performance and that’s exactly what Magomedsharipov did, wasting no time in making it known who he wants to fight next. I love the idea of this matchup and it gives us a chance to see if Magomedsharipov is truly ready to contend with the best the featherweight division has to offer.
Jimmie Rivera vs. Aljamain Sterling- Jimmie Rivera bounced back with a solid yet lackluster win over John Dodson. He’s going to have to do a bit more if he wants back in title contention talks. Aljamain Sterling called for the winner of the Rivera/Dodson matchup and after a solid performance, I’d like to see him get that fight.
Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Donald Cerrone/Mike Perry Winner- Abdul Razak Alhassan made it three knockouts in a row with a brutal beatdown of Niko Price to open up the UFC 228 main card. After amassing a 10-1 overall record, Alhassan is due for a step up and is a guy the company is definitely going to want to push. A fight between he and the winner of upcoming matchup between Mike Perry and Donald Cerrone would be a wonderfully violent affair. Book it!
Tatiana Suarez vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk- Tatiana Suarez put together a flawless performance against former champion Carla Esparza and is knocking on the door to a title shot. While Andrade is still firmly ahead of her, a win over the former ruler of the division would put her next in line for a shot at the belt. Joanna Jedrzejczyk would be her biggest test to date but would prove she’s undoubtedly ready for the top of the division.
Aljamain Sterling vs. Jimmie Rivera- See above
Geoff Neal vs. Alan Jouban- Since Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Geoff Neal has been stellar inside of the UFC at a perfect 2-0 both being finish wins. Neal is quickly making a name for himself and a fight with another exciting fighter like Alan Jouban would be a perfect litmus test to indicate where Neal is in his progression, not to mention it would be an absolute slugfest.
Darren Till vs. Rafael dos Anjos- Both Till and dos Anjos were unsuccessful in their respective title and interim title bouts against Woodley and Covington. Both are still upper echelon welterweights though and a win here will put one of the pair right back into title contention in a stacked division.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Claudia Gadelha/Nina Ansaroff Loser- Kowalkiewicz suffered the most brutal loss of her UFC career against Andrade and will be looking to bounce back in her next fight. A top ranked strawweight bout is currently booked between Claudia Gadelha and Nina Ansaroff. The loser of that bout would be in proper place to face Kowalkiewicz next.
Brandon Davis vs. Martin Bravo- Brandon Davis did the UFC a favor taking on Magomedsharipov on such short notice, but this is a brutal business and since coming off of the Contender Series Davis is 1-3 inside of the UFC and will be fighting for his job here, as will Martin Bravo who has also dropped his last two fights.
John Dodson vs. Rob Font- Dodson was his own worst enemy at UFC 228, staying tentative throughout the bout ultimately resulting in a loss to Rivera. Dodson still has it in him to be a top ten fighter but badly needs to up his output if he wants to remain a ranked fighter. Rob Font is another top ten bantamweight coming off of a loss. This bout could result in a stellar knockout for either guy or a three-round staring contest.
Niko Price vs. Yancy Medeiros- Price suffered a brutal knockout loss at the hands of Alhassan but he remains one of the more exciting young prospects in the welterweight division and can bounce back against a fighter like Yancy Medeiros who is also prone to barnburner fights. I see no way this fight goes the distance as it’s way more likely to become an instant classic.
Carla Esparza vs. Michelle Waterson/Felice Herrig Loser- Esparza took a beatdown at UFC 228 as is now looking at back to back loses. A good move would be to take on the loser of Michelle Waterson vs. Felice Herrig, a high profile matchup set to take place at UFC 229. A win against one of the two would bring her right back into relevance in the division she once sat atop.
Cody Stamann vs. Brian Kelleher- Cody Stamann suffered his first UFC loss at UFC 228, but he’s still one of the better prospects in the division and holds a stellar record. I’d say it’s time his progression was slowed a bit and he’s given time to grow. A fight with Brian Kelleher would be a bit of a step back from the competition Stamann has become accustomed to but a good matchup nonetheless.
Frank Camacho vs. Emil Meek- Both Frank Camacho and Emil Meek are two of welterweight’s more exciting brawlers but both find themselves 0-2 in their last two outings. This matchup would be fireworks while it lasted but the loser is likely on his way out the door.