UFC Fight Night: Mir vs. Duffee wrapped up last night, and while it didn’t have all the big names and fireworks that UFC 189 had over the weekend, there were still plenty of scintillating bouts between veterans and up and comers, filler fighters, and regional circuit veterans.
For the main card winners, these are the fights to make going forward.
UFC Fight Night 71: Next Fights for Main Card Winners
Should Fight: Ben Rothwell
Both fighters are veterans of the game. Frank Mir has been fighting in the UFC for the past 14 years and has experienced the highs and lows that the game has to offer. In a division where late career resurgences are becoming the norm, it only makes sense for Mir to mix it up with someone else who is finding himself in a bit of resurgence. Enter Rothwell. The IFL standout and veteran of over 40 professional bouts is on a three fight win streak, and recently made noise with an awkward callout of the entire division. If Mir wants to continue his climb back toward title contention, a bout with “Big Ben” makes sense.
Should Fight Myles Jury
Generally the UFC doesn’t like to put rising stars into a bout with someone coming off of a loss. However, in this case there should be an exception. Ferguson is one of the hottest fighters in the lightweight division at the moment, having won his last six fights, and nine of his last ten. The cherry on top of that winning streak was his carving up of former Strikeforce champion Josh Thompson. A fight with Jury would serve as a chance to leapfrog into the upper echelon of the weight class. For Jury, it would be a chance to build another winning streak, and rebound from his one sided Donald Cerrone loss this past January. Both men are close enough to a title shot where the stakes in this potential fight could create a stir in the division.
Should Fight: Alexis Davis
The hype train behind Holm as the legitimate threat to Ronda Rousey may have slowed since her UFC debut, but it is far from derailed. In a slow burner with Marion Reneau, Holm used her kicks to keep the 38 year old on the outside, and coasted to a decision. While it wasn’t the most thrilling of fights, it did display that Holm’s ceiling hasn’t been reached yet. A bout with former title challenger Alexis Davis makes the most sense here. Davis is coming off a victory against rival Canadian Sarah Kaufman, has no opponent booked as of yet, and is ranked ahead of Holm. If the UFC wants to build Holm into a star challenger, the next step up the ladder is a bout with Davis.
Should Fight: Rani Yahya
Both veteran bantamweights picked up victories yesterday, however it was Gamburyan’s that was the more impressive of the two. Out grappling and out-striking veteran bantamweight Scott Jorgensen, Gamburyan picked up the judges nod. He should be matched up with someone also coming off of a win, and you don’t have to look too far to see Brazil’s Yahya. Despite a lackluster showing, he did enough to two of three judges approval to beat former Sengoku champion Masanori Kanehara. If the UFC decides to put a Gamburyan and Yahya fight together, the winner will be on a three fight win streak and headed toward the top 15 of the division where greener pastures await.
Should Fight Johnny Case
Both Kevin Lee and Johnny Case are young lightweights on impressive winning streaks, and both are looking to take that next step forward in the rankings. In the shark tank that is the lightweight division, these two can do worse than to be paired up with each other. Lee put on quite a show submitting James Moontasri, and Case rides the momentum of an 11 fight win streak. Putting these two prospects together would determine who is ready for a move up in the game, and who needs to refine their skill-sets.
Should Fight: Ben Saunders-Kenny Robertson winner
Alan Jouban has the potential to be a star. He’s handsome, a creative striker, and he fights with an intensity that is a pleasure to watch. On top of all that he’s won three of four inside the Octagon (with the lone defeat a questionable decision to Warlley Alves. Bringing him up against moderately more experienced opposition is the right call, and the perfect fight would be against the winner of Saunders and Robertson. Both veterans are experiencing modest winning streaks, and a fight against the up and coming Jouban would make sense for the victor.