What a great night.
UFC 214 went down July 29th from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Three title fights were featured, including a main event grudge match main event between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. After a back-and-forth opening 12 minutes, Jones landed the fight-changing kick to the domepiece sending Cormier crashing to the canvas.
In the co-main event, Tyron Woodley scored his third successful title defense with a unanimous decision over (now) 26-fight UFC veteran Demian Maia.
The third title fight saw Cris Cyborg earn her 16th career knockout by finishing Tonya Evinger in the third round to capture the vacant UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship.
Lots of performances stood out on Saturday night. Volkan Oezdemir, Ricardo Lamas, and Drew Dober knocked out their opponents inside the first round. Brian Ortega scored a fourth-straight UFC victory in the third round of his bout with Renato Moicano, earning “Fight of the Night” honors.
Let’s take a look at the top five fights to make after UFC 214.
5. Robbie Lawler vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
A year layoff paid off for Robbie Lawler, earning a unanimous decision victory over fellow striker Donald Cerrone. Lawler captured the UFC welterweight championship back in December of 2014, defending the belt twice over Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit in two unforgettable bouts.
Pairing Lawler against a top-ranked striker can only be the perfect plan. Now possibly one fight away from another title shot, an eliminator bout sounds like an appropriate plan. How about a match-up with Santiago Ponzinibbio, riding a five-fight win streak and a recent first round stoppage over Gunnar Nelson? Imagine the violence, people.
4. Cris Cyborg vs. Megan Anderson
Cris Cyborg is proving herself to be the greatest female fighter in mixed martial arts history. Her knockout win handed Tonya Evinger the first loss of her career by stoppage due to strikes. The lone defeat of Cyborg’s professional career came in her debut; since, she has earned 18 consecutive victories (16 by TKO). Cyborg built a career for herself in both Strikeforce and Invicta FC before making the move to the UFC last year.
There are not many fighters left in the featherweight division for the now featherweight champion to face. One of the hottest names outside the UFC may give her a true test: Megan Anderson. The two were originally supposed to meet on this card, until personal issues forced Anderson out. Let’s reschedule it ASAP.
3. Volkan Oezdemir vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Volkan Oezdemir is legit. And that 42-second, “Performance of the Night” receiving knockout over Jimi Manuwa proved many viewers wrong. He has sneaked his way through the light heavyweight division very quickly, now moving to 3-0 in the UFC all in 2017. The victory was his 11th by way of knockout, and his fifth under a minute.
With the 205-pound division being so thin for title competition at the moment, there does not appear to be many fights to make. Oezdemir could fight Daniel Cormier, but I do not believe that makes the most sense at the moment. I am all for a title eliminator bout between Oezdemir and Alexander Gustafsson, with the winner receiving a shot at Jon Jones sometime in the early quarter of 2018. Who knows what will happen, knowing that Brock Lesnar is in the discussion as well…..
2. Tyron Woodley vs. Georges St. Pierre
Tyron Woodley stuffed all 21 takedown attempts from UFC veteran Demian Maia, racking up the dominant decision win in his third title defense. “The Chosen One” fought four times within a 365-day period, including two close fights with Stephen Thompson and his knockout victory (plus capture of the welterweight title) over Robbie Lawler.
Maia is ranked #1 (having just lost), Thompson at #2 (a recent loss and draw with Woodley), and Lawler at #3 (knocked out by Woodley in a round). This suggestion probably won’t happen after hearing Dana White’s words following Woodley’s “lackluster” performance. I really, really would love to see the match-up between he and Georges St. Pierre. Keep Pierre at welterweight, and let Bisping and Whittaker fight for middleweight gold.
1. Jon Jones vs. Brock Lesnar
Jon Jones continues to prove why he is among the greatest mixed martial artists of all-time. His third-round knockout over Daniel Cormier set an end to the bitter rivalry, after having won their first pairing in January of 2015. The stoppage earned him “Performance of the Night” honors, his eight recorded UFC bonus. This win recaptured his UFC light heavyweight title after being stripped in April of 2015 following eight title defenses.
Okay, Here me out. I thought about putting Alexander Gustafsson as the option for Jones, but that would leave Volkan Oezdemir in an odd and unfair situation. However, if those two end up fighting in a title elimination bout, it leaves Jones open for a next opponent. A third fight with Cormier would not make any sense, or with a pairing of the winner between Shogun and Saint Preux.
Jon Jones mentioned a week ago that he would love a fight with former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. A follow-up interview from Lesnar had him state that he would be more than glad to face the 30-year-old champion. Following his victory Saturday night, Jones issued another call-out to Lesnar (which can be seen here).
Does the fight make sense? Not with Lesnar being “retired” and a heavyweight. But would the match-up do massive numbers? Without a doubt. Let’s make it happen.
Other fights to make after UFC 214:
Ricardo Lamas vs. Chan Sung Jung
Aljamain Sterling vs. Marlon Moraes
Brian Ortega vs. Darren Elkins
Calvin Kattar vs. Renato Moicano
Aleksandra Albu vs. Nina Ansaroff
Jarred Brooks vs. John Moraga
Drew Dober vs. Damir Hadzovic
Daniel Cormier vs. Glover Teixeira
Demian Maia vs. Colby Covington
Tonya Evinger vs. Liz Carmouche
Donald Cerrone vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Jimi Manuwa vs. Pat Cummins
Jason Knight vs. Arnold Allen
Renan Barao vs. Myles Jury (featherweight)
Renato Moicano vs. Calvin Kattar
Andre Fili vs. Alex Caceres
Kailin Curran: released
Eric Shelton vs. Ashkan Mokhtarian
Josh Burkman: released or retirement