What’s Next for Main Card Winners and Losers
UFC Fight Nights 55 and 56 from Sydney and Uberlandia, respectively just finished and the two combined marked potentially the best double-header cards the UFC has produced all year. UFC Fight Night 55 produced an historic 11 finishes – EVERY SINGLE FIGHT IN THE CARD WAS FINISHED. Eat this moment up as this is a once-in-a-decade type of moment! Meanwhile, UFC Fight Night 56 had its fair share of finishes and enthralling fights albeit some were controversial.
Here’s what the future holds for the big winners and losers from both nights:
Ovince Saint Preux
OSP perhaps made the biggest splash of the weekend by demolishing Brazilian legend and future Hall of Famer, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in 34 seconds. The fight ended so quickly the restless Brazilian crowd didn’t know what had happened. Then in peculiar fashion, the Haitian would proceed to call out Fabio Maldonado and Anthony Perosh? UFC Aftermath: “Come on, man!”
Next Opponent: Anthony Johnson: “Rumble” was on the cusp of a title shot or a headliner with Alex Gustafsson until his unfortunate legal case; now that this has been resolved, Rumble should be looking to get back on track. Both Rumble and OSP are coming off impressive knockouts of two big name opponents and this fight could prove to be a “good ol’ slobberknocker” by Jim Ross lingo. This could be a Fight Night main event in early 2015
Rockhold delivered on his promise to finish Michael Bisping though it took him an extra round. The AKA fighter was clearly the bigger better fighter, outstriking the Count and finishing him with a massive head kick followed by a choke. He becomes the first fighter to submit the Brit and emphatically sealed his spot for at least a number one contender’s fight.
Next Opponent: Yoel Romero: whilst a rematch with Jacare Souza sounds really sexy, he’s most likely fighting Chris Weidman for the title sooner than later. Romero recently pulverized Tim Kennedy (albeit controversially), whom Rockhold also beat in Strikeforce. A featured number one contender’s fight could be in the works for both of them in the near future
Iaquinta came away with his biggest win and best performance as he knocked out Ross Pearson on Friday notching another win for Team Serra-Longo, who has been on a roll as of late. Pearson was a fringe top-15 opponent and finishing him impressively has Iaquinta knocking on the rankings.
Next Opponent: Abel Trujillo-Tony Ferguson Winner: both Trujillo and Ferguson find themselves in similar positions as Al Iaquinta: heavy-handed fighters with a win or two away from cracking the top-15. The winner of their bout for UFC 181 could be on a collision course with Al Iaquinta in a feature fight on a main card
The TUF: Brazil 3 winner found himself in a tough spot on Saturday night; Alves engaged Alan Jouban in a back-and-forth firefight, which saw him outstruck and brutalized by the American for half the fight. And yet he would go on to win the judges’ decision despite most MMA media outlets including (some) fans in attendance protesting the result; Alves’s “win” will go down as a hollow victory at best
Next Opponent: Santiago Ponzinibbio: Alves’s controversial victory barely moves him up the really deep welterweight standings. Ponzinibbio recently competed in Brazil and knocked out a mutual opponent of Alves in Wendell Oliveira. These two could meet in a future Brazilian card in a fight that promises more of the same (and hopefully minus the dubious result)
The “Reaper” marked his return to the middleweight division with a huge exclamation mark as he put a spanking on the bigger Clint Hester marking the first time he’s been finished by way of strikes. The Aussie looked like a fighter reborn and should quickly make an impact in a division hungry for contenders
Next Opponent: Derek Brunson-Ed Herman Winner: both Brunson and Herman have been toiling the “gatekeeper” status within Zuffa for quite a while. The winner is likely moving on to challenge up-and-coming fighters such as Robert Whittaker in the near future most likely in the next Australian card should things fall under the Aussie’s favour
The “R” word will not be brought up in this article regarding the iconic Shogun; yet the Brazilian has now been knocked out in two consecutive violent fashions, this time in only half a minute to a fighter not really known for his knockout power. While many of his “fans” clamour for him to step down, Shogun still has fight left and should tread carefully in his next upcoming bouts
Next Opponent: Antonio “Rogerio” Noguiera: this is the most obvious fight to make; both Shogun and “Lil Nog” are big name Brazilian fighters on the decline. The two have fought previously in Pride and it seems fitting to make this rematch ten years in the making
As bleak as things were for Shogun, Bisping also found himself on the wrong end of a violent finish. Britain’s most popular MMA fighter was clearly overmatched against Luke Rockhold who toyed with him for the majority of the fight. Bisping put an admirable performance but it was for naught. Can the title talks for the Count finally be put to the rest now? UFC Aftermath thinks so.
Next Opponent: Mark Muñoz: the two were supposed to headline a UK card in 2013 but an injury to Bisping derailed that fight. Muñoz has since dropped fights to Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi. Title contendership has all-but closed for both fighters yet both are still highly ranked and can at least headline or co-headline the next show in the UK
Pearson likely shared in the dismay of his fellow Brit when he was knocked out and finished by Al Iaquinta. Pearson came into the fight as a slight favourite on the heels of the biggest win of his career: knocking out former title challenger, Gray Maynard. The loss is likely going to set Pearson back a few spots as his bid for a top-15 spot will be momentarily put on hold
Next Opponent: Michael Chiesa: fellow TUF alum, Chiesa also came up short in his Fight of the Night scrap with Joe Lauzon. The two are still within striking distance of the top-15 rankings and a win over the other would put them in a nice spot to finally break into the elusive list
“Brahma” won his fight but lost the decision. The American was a victim of dubious judging as he came up short in the scorecards despite inflicting more damage and finishing the fight stronger. Still, as in the case of Ross Pearson against Diego Sanchez, the UFC might treat Jouban like the rightful winner and still book him with a winning and/or higher ranked fighter
Next Opponent: Alex Garcia: the Tristar prospect suffered his first UFC loss at the hands of Neil Magny earlier this summer when he blew out his knee and lost a close decision. Both Jouban and Garcia are talented prospects with bright futures that seemingly got dealt the short end of the stick and a scrap between the two will not only produce a Fight of the Night worthy show but potentially an early glimpse at future top-15 fighters
Hester saw his seven-fight winning streak come to a crashing halt at the hands of a resurgent Robert Whittaker on Friday. “Headbussa” was a slight favourite coming into the fight as the bigger more athletic fighter but he eventually succumbed to Whittaker’s heavy hands. Hester still put on a solid Fight of the Night performance and his loss shouldn’t sully his ranking much
Next Opponent: Luke Barnatt-Roger Narvaez Loser: these two gargantuan middleweights will square off in a few weeks with the winner looking to move up the rankings while the loser could meet the reeling Hester. For UFC Aftermath, a good match-up in terms of the size similarity and the prospect of a finish as all three have combined to finish close to 80% of the fights they win
OTHER WINNERS & LOSERS:
Soa Palelei: Todd Duffee-Anthony Hamilton Winner
Claudio Silva: Kenny Robertson
Dhiego Lima: Albert Tumenov
Juliana Lima: TUF 20 Runner-Up
Walt Harris: Derrick Lewis
Leon Edwards: Wendell de Oliveira
Jorge Oliveira: Newcomer
Nina Arsanoff: Newcomer