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UFC AFTERMATH: Fight Night 54

 

PRELIM FIGHTS

Pedro Munhoz (12-1) vs Jerrod Sanders (14-3)
Bantamweight Bout

The opening fight starts off quickly as bantamweights Munhoz and Sanders go at it right away; Sanders makes a terrible mistake missing a takedown attempt and giving up his neck as Munhoz forces him to tap in over just a half minute into the fight.

Result: Munhoz def. Sanders via submission (guillotine choke) (Round 1 – 0:39)

What’s next for Pedro Munhoz?

Munhoz’s only career loss came against Raphael Assuncao and his fight against Sanders looked like a clear squash match; he should now be fighting a much better opponent, maybe Chris Holdsworth, where both BJJ experts could make a case for a top 15 seeding.

Albert Tumenov (14-2) vs Matt Dwyer (7-2)
Welterweight Bout

Albert Tumenov head kicks Dwyer into oblivion; that’s really all there is to say. Dwyer never got anything going as every shot Tumenov threw seemed to rock the Canadian. The fight couldn’t end any sooner.

Result: Tumenov def. Dwyer via KO (headkick and punches) (Round 1 – 1:03)

What’s next for Matt Dwyer?

It’s rare the UFC cuts a fighter after 1 loss so despite Dwyer’s nonexistent showing he’ll get another fight most likely against a relative unknown and a newcomer.

What’s next for Albert Tumenov?

Tumenov destroyed Dwyer and that brief display of violence could lead to him getting a bigger fight right off the bat; Cathal Pendred won his fight with Gasan Umalatov on the card prior to this and the two could be on a collision course for the UFC’s next European card.

 

Chris Kelades (8-1) vs Patrick Holohan (10-1)
Flyweight Bout

The first fight on TV kicks off with a bang as Holohan and Kelades go right at it; Holohan controls the fight early and has Kelades in a dangerous spot but Kelades rallies and puts Holohan on his back landing some serious ground and pound (52% of his strikes were from the ground). Close fight but Kelades looked to be the better fighter in the latter rounds and got the nod from the judges for the mild upset.

Result: Kelades def. Holohan via unanimous decision (29-28 29-28 29-28)

 

Paul Felder (9-0) vs Jason Saggo (10-2) [Fight of the Night]
Lightweight Bout

Felder and Saggo exchanged in a very competitive grappling bout, which saw both men scramble a lot and get a dominant position alternatively. Early in the bout, Felder nearly locked Saggo in a rear-naked choke but Saggo would rebound in the final minutes nearly managing to trap Felder in an armbar before the final horn went off. The fight was close. Saggo landed more takedowns (6-1) but Felder outstruck him (72-45) all three rounds to clinch a contested split decision.

Result: Felder def. Saggo via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

What’s next for Jason Saggo?

Saggo lost a close fight and drops to 1-1 in the octagon though he should keep his job; look for him to continue fighting in the prelims against another unranked opponent, most likely another UFC newcomer.

What’s next for Paul Felder?

Felder won his UFC debut but did so in tight fashion; he won’t get a big step up in competition and should continue fighting in the prelims maybe against Kevin Lee who won his fight a week prior.

 

Olivier Aubin-Mercier (5-1) vs Jake Lindsey (9-2)
Lightweight Bout

Another lightweight bout but this one was entirely different from the previous; Aubin-Mercier and Lindsey were worlds apart. The French-Canadian would prove superior to Lindsey in nearly all aspects out-striking him 82-44 before gaining side control to seal in the fight-ending choke.

Result: Aubin-Mercier def. Lindsey via inverted triangle choke (Round 2 – 3:22) [Performance of the Night]

What’s next for Jake Lindsey?

It’s not looking good for “The Librarian” as he was finished for a second consecutive time; tough to see him staying around longer as he’ll be told to hit the proverbial books.

What’s next for Olivier Aubin-Mercier?

Aubin-Mercier looked impressive in his first UFC win; that said, he’s still way behind in the stacked lightweight division. A fight with Tae Hyun Bang, who won his UFC 174 prelim fight with Kajan Johnson could be in the cards for him.

 

Daron Cruickshank (17-4) vs Anthony Njokuani (15-9)
Lightweight Bout

The prelim main card showcases the third straight lightweight fight between flashy strikers, Daron Cruickshank and Anthony Njokuani. From a striking standpoint, both men were relatively even with Cruickshank outlanding Njokuani 54-44. But Cruickshank dominated the fight in unusual fashion by landing 6 takedowns throwing Njokuani around like a ragdoll en-route to a clear-cut decision win.

Result: Cruickshank def. Njokuani via unanimous decision (30-27 30-27 30-27)

What’s next for Anthony Njokuani?

Njokuani has now dropped two fights in a row but his exciting Muay Thai/Tae Kwon Do hybrid style should keep him employed. Jon Tuck, who lost a week earlier would make a good match-up with the Nigerian Nightmare.

What’s next for Daron Cruickshank?

The Detroit Superstar gets back in the winners’ circle but is still far from contention; he could get Leonardo Santos next who is also on the fringe of breaking into the top 15 after his win over former TUF winner Efrain Escudero.

MAIN CARD FIGHTS

Mitch Gagnon (13-1) vs Roman Salazar (9-3)
Bantamweight Bout

In the first main card bout, Mitch Gagnon would take on UFC newcomer Roman Salazar and would make quick work of him managing to easily take his back for the finish; no surprise as Salazar took the fight on a short notice against a top 20 fighter.

Result: Gagnon def. Salazar via rear-naked choke (Round 1 – 2:03)

What’s next for Roman Salazar?

Salazar was clearly outmatched and didn’t get any chance at all; he did the UFC a favour however taking a last-minute fight and will likely get a fight with a fellow unranked opponent, possibly a newcomer.

What’s next for Mitch Gagnon?

Gagnon made short work of Salazar but he was a -750 favourite (according to bestfightodds.com) for a reason; he should get his fight with Rob Font re-booked otherwise Pedro Munhoz who won on the same card would make for a good scrap between BJJ experts.

 

Nordine Taleb (11-1) vs Li Jingliang (9-3)
Welterweight Bout

In what was probably the most uninspired fight, Nordine “The Beast” Taleb would defeat Li Jingliang by split decision; neither man really showed anything spectacular or praiseworthy as it was a grinding affair all throughout.

Result: Taleb def. Jingliang via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)

What’s next for Li Jingliang:

The Leech suffers his first UFC loss; Shinsho Anzai also lost his UFC debut and these two could lock horns next when the UFC makes its return to Asia.

What’s next for Nordine Taleb?

The UFC seems high on Taleb (lost two TUFs but was still signed) despite his rather uninspiring performances; he might get a step up in competition along the likes of Adlan Amagov, who has been inactive since knocking out Waldburger over a year ago.

 

Elias Theodorou (10-0) vs Bruno Santos (14-2)
Middleweight Bout

One of Canada’s first TUF winners, Theodorou has some hype going in to this fight; he looked impressive in his TUF fights but Bruno Santos is a notoriously tough grinder. Theodorou found himself in risky positions throughout the fight with Santos securing his back a few times. The Canadian was in no danger however and controlled the majority of the fight outstriking the hapless Santos 104-29 towards a victory.

What’s next for Bruno Santos?

Santos is far from the most exciting fighter and his only UFC win came against Chris Camozzi in a controversial split decision; he might still get another fight maybe against Scott Askham who also looked rather unimpressive in his loss to Magnus Cedenblad.

What’s next for Elias Theodorou?

Theodorou looked good in his win but not good enough to warrant a huge step-up in competition; the winner between Clint Hester and Robert Whittaker proves interesting as they should be close in rank and both looking to break into the rankings.

 

Chad Laprise (10-0) vs Yosdenis Cedeno (10-4)
Lightweight Bout

The other Canadian TUF winner, Chad Laprise was in action right after; although known mostly as a fluid technical striker, Laprise would flip the book and show off his grappling skills against dangerous Shito-ryu striker, Yosdenis Cedeno. Laprise would land 4 takedowns including an impressive German suplex en route to a dominant decision win.

Result: Laprise def. Cedeno via unanimous decision (30-27 30-27 30-27)

What’s next for Yosdenis Cedeno?

Cedeno has now alternated wins and losses with the UFC (1-2 overall) but his spectacular striking game and his colourful personality may make him more valuable than his record suggests; the equally entertaining James Moontasri coming off a close loss to Joe Ellenberger would make a good match.

What’s next for Chad Laprise?

Laprise looked fantastic against Cedeno but could still be a few fights away from ranked competition; Yui Chul Nam, the “Korean Bulldozer” is in a similar situation and his burly frame and stand and bang mentality could make for an explosive match-up.

Raphael Assuncao (23-4) vs Bryan Caraway (19-7)
Bantamweight Bout

In what could potentially be a title eliminator fight, two BJJ experts, Assuncao and Caraway fought in a rather lackluster glorified sparring match. Assuncao would outstrike Caraway 83-46 mostly using a variety of leg kicks. Both fighters played rather conservatively especially on the grappling exchanges, which Assuncao also looked better in. The Brazilian would win a clear decision.

Result: Assuncao def. Caraway via unanimous decision (30-27 30-27 30-27)

What’s next for Bryan Caraway?

Despite his big talk before the fight, Caraway lost and may have sealed his gatekeeper status; he will likely end up fighting another top 15 opponent coming off a loss; either Michael McDonald or a rematch with Takeya Mizugaki.

What’s next for Raphael Assuncao?

Poor Assuncao. The man is undefeated at bantamweight (7-0) and has more than earned a shot for the belt but with Dillashaw and Cruz still set to fight, Assuncao may have to fight another guy to seal his title shot; the former champion, Renan Barao may likely be his next opponent in a title eliminator fight.

Rory MacDonald (18-2) vs Tarec Saffiedine (15-4)
Welterweight Bout

The main event showcased two of the division’s top contenders although the storyline here is whether Rory, who has long been heralded as the next big thing in Canada since GSP, can make an emphatic statement in the division. Saffiedine was a dangerous opponent and used his signature leg kicks (22 of 27 significant strikes) to keep Rory at bay. For the meanwhile it was working until the third where Rory eventually catches Saffiedine with a short uppercut followed with a few ground punches to clinch his first finish in two years and potentially sealing the number one contendership for the welterweight title.

Results: Macdonald def. Saffiedine via TKO (punches) (Round 3 – 3:31) [Performance of the Night]

What’s next for Tarec Saffiedine?

Tarec lost last night’s main event in emphatic fashion being finished for the first time in his career; losing to the top contender shouldn’t set him back much however. A bout with another top 15 opponent looking to rebound like Dong-Hyun Kim, may be what’s next when the UFC returns to Europe or Asia.

What’s next for Rory MacDonald?

Rory proved he’s unquestionably the next title contender with another impressive showing and his third straight win; no fight makes more sense than him facing the winner of Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler in UFC 181 potentially for the UFC’s next PPV in Canada.

 

 

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