Armchair Matchmaker: Potential Middleweight Title Eliminator

Middleweight title eliminator
CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 27: Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza of Brazil looks on prior to his middleweight bout against Derek Brunson during the UFC Fight Night event inside the Spectrum Center on January 27, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton /Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

This past weekend showcased some exciting MMA fights. Plenty of knockouts, submissions and tightly contested decisions have caught the attention of the MMA world. While those who won celebrate and those who lost go back to the drawing board, fans want to know: what’s next? Armchair Matchmaker takes a look at a potential UFC middleweight title eliminator and more from UFC on FOX 27. In addition, we also take a look at some fights to make following Bellator 193. 

Main Card

Main Event: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Chris Weidman (UFC)

Souza silenced any doubters with a convincing knockout win over Derek Brunson at the UFC’s event in Charlotte. Many were skeptical if age was catching up to “Jacare” after he was viciously TKO’d by middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. Souza put those concerns to bed. Now, he’s back on another hunt for the title shot he should have received years ago. Who better to fight him than another man looking for a crack at the title in Weidman? Honestly, it’s surprising that “Jacare” and Weidman have never met in the Octagon. Now’s the time. The winner would be in a good position to claim a title shot.

Co-Main Event: Lorenz Larkin vs. Andrey Koreshkov (Bellator)

Larkin won a clear unanimous decision against Fernando Gonzalez. It was his first win with Bellator, and helped him snap his 0-2 record with the promotion. Bellator brought Larkin in for big impact fights in its welterweight division, so let’s give him another crack at it. Koreshkov is still in need of an opponent. If Bellator decides to rematch Rory MacDonald and Douglas Lima (MacDonald defeated the former champion Lima at Bellator 192), then Larkin vs. Koreshkov makes sense. It would potentially be for a title shot, and it would just be an amazing action fight.

Derek Brunson vs. David Branch (UFC)

Brunson couldn’t get it done in the rematch against “Jacare,” falling 0-2 to the Brazilian. Aside from their initials, Brunson and Branch have another thing in common: they’re both coming off losses to elite middleweights. Branch lost his last bout to Luke Rockhold, who is fighting for the interim middleweight title against Yoel Romero. Brunson and Branch could very well fight for another crack at a top-5 middleweight.

Andre Fili vs. Mirsad Bektic (UFC)

Fili and Bektic both emerged victorious at UFC on FOX 27. With the wins, each of them will find themselves just inside the top-15 at featherweight. The UFC should designate Bektic and Fili to fight for a crack at someone in the top-10 next.

Saad Awad vs. Brandon Girtz (Bellator)

Awad took a close unanimous decision over JJ Ambrose in the co-main event of Bellator 193. Surprisingly, Awad and Girtz haven’t fought yet. Girtz, coming off a win of his own, would likely take a fight with Awad. It’d be a fireworks style fight between two finishers.

Preliminary Card

Gregor Gillespie vs. Clay Guida (UFC)

Undefeated lightweight prospect Gillespie (11-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) continues to impress. He took out Jordan Rinaldi in the first round of their fight via ground and pound TKO. A fight with Guida would be his toughest to date, while making sense from a rankings perspective.

Dennis Bermudez vs. Godofredo Pepey (UFC)

Bermudez lost a tight split decision to Andre Fili on Saturday that left many fans questioning the judges. However, Bermudez has now lost three in a row. He shouldn’t be released due to him being an exciting fighter with two split decision losses in his last three. A fight with Pepey would be exciting and a good opportunity for both men.

Bobby Green vs. Anthony Pettis (UFC)

Green earned an exciting unanimous decision win over Erik Koch this weekend. If he were able to make it two in a row against someone like No. 13-ranked lightweight Pettis, he would not only be propelled back into the top-15, but he would get the big match-up he’s looking for.

Randa Markos vs. Cynthia Calvillo (UFC)

Markos swept the scorecards against Juliana Lima on Saturday night and asked for a step-up. Calvillo lost her first professional fight in December to Carla Esparza, who Markos holds a win over. Calvillo, ranked eighth at strawweight, would be the step up that No. 11-ranked Markos seeks.

Early Prelims

Tyrell Fortune vs. Derek Bohi (Bellator)

Fortune delivered after a step-up from his first three fights. He bested Joe Hernandez on Friday night to improve to 4-0. Bohi (8-5) would be a good next step up in Fortune’s natural progression. Bohi hasn’t fought for Bellator since June 2015, but could potentially be brought back to face Fortune.

Katlyn Chookagian vs. Jessica Eye (UFC)

Chookagian won a unanimous decision over Mara Romero Borella the other night. Jessica Eye is also 1-0 in the UFC flyweight division, having defeated Kalindra Faria. Chookagian and Eye are two natural flyweights who had spent the majority of their UFC careers at bantamweight. A meeting between the two makes sense.

 

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