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Monday Morning Matchmaker: UFC Fresno Edition

UFC Fresno lit up the west coast.  A jiu-jitsu specialist emerged as a future title contender, a rising bantamweight contender earned a second win in a month, and five betting underdogs cashed with victories.  Now MMA Today steps into the world of UFC talent relations gurus Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard to predict what’s next for the evening’s competitors.

The Victorious

Brian Ortega vs. Jeremy Stephens/Doo Ho Choi Winner – Ortega proved he can handle the division’s best defeating longtime contender Cub Swanson.  Ortega owns perhaps the best submission skills and ability to finish a fight in the division.  With champion Max Holloway set to defend his belt against Frankie Edgar next, Ortega will likely need another fight in the interim.  He should battle the winner of the UFC St. Louis fight between extremely hard-hitters Stephens and Choi.

Gabriel Benitez vs. Arnold Allen – AKA’s “Moggly” Benitez put on the best performance of his career defeating the (-300) favorite, Knight.  Benitez has been up-and-down in his UFC career.  With UK’s Arnold Allen set to come off his suspension and training at Tristar Gym, give these two featherweights a chance to battle.

Marlon Moraes vs. Bryan Caraway – With little to no options healthy or unbooked at bantamweight, Moraes could face Caraway who sits one slot above him in the rankings and can help propel “Magic” into title contention.

Scott Holtzman vs. Gregor Gillespie – Another decision, but Holtzman remains effective at lightweight using his takedowns and busy ground-and-pound.  Former All-American wrestler, Gillespie is 3-0 thus far in the UFC and Holtzman’s similar style offers a unique opportunity at a barnburner.

Eryk Anders vs. Elias Theodorou – In a battle of the two most recent LFA Middleweight Champions, Anders proved all business showing evolution into a well-rounded mixed martial artist.  The undefeated Anders is proving he’s a guy to watch at middleweight and a battle with well-rounded division-staple Theodorou would make a great addition to any main card in the future.

Benito Lopez vs. Guido Cannetti/Kyung Ho Kang Winner – Team Alpha Male’s Lopez proved his exciting style is UFC-caliber.  Being young (23), a matchup with a veteran seems like a logical next step for the “Golden Boy.” Give him the winner of the UFC St. Louis matchup between Cannetti and the returning, Kang.

Alexis Davis vs. Lauren Murphy – Displaying a huge hematoma, Davis earned the split-decision over fellow veteran, Carmouche.  Match her up with another longtime bantamweight competitor, Murphy who is coming off a win over former Invicta FC champion, Barb Honchak.

Andre Soukhamthath vs. Sean O’Malley – Behind on the scorecards, the Hard Knocks 365 fighter Soukhamthath blasted the three-to-one favorite Sanders and nabbed his first UFC win.  “The Asian Sensation” has extremely versatile striking and would be an absolute wild matchup for the highly-touted “Sugar” Sean O’Malley.

Alex Perez vs. Ryan Benoit – Perez looked absolutely stellar in his dominant win earning a d’arce choke submission.  The Team Oyama product proved he’s just where he belongs.  Dropping back down to flyweight, he’ll find  a good next foe in six-fight UFC vet, Benoit. Benoit is coming off post-fight injuries from UFC Sydney, but if timing lines up, the matchup sure makes sense.

Frankie Saenz vs. Boston Salmon – A controversial split-decision call probably saved Saenz’s UFC career.  At 37, he’ll need to act fast if he wants to climb the ranks.  Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series contract winner, Salmon has been waiting to get his opportunity and a bout with the veteran Saenz would be a stern welcome to the UFC bantamweight division.

Alejandro Perez vs. Brian Kelleher – While the Fresno crowd wasn’t behind the fight, “Turbo” Perez executed enough to earn the biggest win of his career.  Quietly unbeaten in his last five, Perez could use a step up in competition and fan-favorite “Boom” Kelleher is also coming off a huge victory in Poland.

Davi Ramos vs. Chris Wade – Ramos’ comfort at his natural weight class (155lbs.) was evident in his win. His jiu-jitsu credentials matched up against a hard-nosed wrestler who also loves to strike like Wade could produce Fight of the Night.

Trevin Giles vs. Ryan Janes – Giles successfully fended off the jiu-jitsu world champion Neto’s attacks to score the late-knockout.  While still green, Giles has showcased impressive skills thus far at 2-0 in the UFC.  Canadian Ryan Janes impressed in his last outing and the two could put on an exciting battle.

The Defeated

Cub Swanson vs. Chan Sung Jung – Swanson had an opportunity to be next up behind Edgar but was submitted by rising star, Ortega.  Swanson can jump right back in the mix with a win over the soon-to-be-returning “Korean Zombie” Jung.

Jason Knight vs. Wang Guan – Knight stumbled and will find himself outside the top 15.  He’ll need an unranked fighter to get back on track and China’s Guan impressed in his UFC debut against shared opponent, Alex Caceres.

Aljamain Sterling vs. John Dodson – Sterling suffered a brutal knockout loss but he will still remain one of the top bantamweights in the world.  John Dodson is coming off a close split-decision loss to shared opponent, Moraes.  These two could yield a fun outcome.

Darrell Horcher vs. Felipe Silva – Horcher’s takedown defense played Achilles heel in his loss to Holtzman.  One competitor whom will stand and go to war is Brazil’s Silva. Despite coming off a devastating loss, these two could for sure put on a show.

Markus Perez vs. Vitor Miranda – “Maluco” showed an iron chin and signs of potential but ended up taking a loss for the first time in his 10-fight pro career.  Miranda is currently dealing with family matters in Brazil but plans to fight again in the near future. A showdown between fellow Brazilians in their home country is an appealing one.

Albert Morales vs. Tom Duquesnoy – No matter what, Morales is always ready for war.  “Fire Kid” Duquesnoy recently suffered his first UFC loss and is need of an exciting matchup capable of earning Fight of the Night honors.

Liz Carmouche vs. Roxanne Modafferi

Luke Sanders vs. Davey Grant

CJ de Tomas vs. Yadong Song

Merab Dvalishvili vs. Augusto Mendes

Iuri Alcântara vs. Marlon Vera

Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Jason Saggo

Antônio Braga Neto vs. Eric Spicely


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