When the UFC touched down in Tennessee last night, it was with a card chalked full of interesting match-ups, but little in the way of star power. Headlined by former title challenger Glover Teixeira and rising contender and Tennessee native Ovince Saint Preux, that bout saw several momentum swings ultimately culminating in Teixeira’s return to victory. In the co-main event, Beneil Dariush defeated Michael Johnson via a controversial unanimous decision. Alongside those two bouts were plenty of other entertaining scraps (and a plodding heavyweight bout), so it seems only right to see where the winners should go next.
Here are the next fights for UFC Fight Night 73 winners.
UFC Fight Night 73: Next Fights for Main Card Winners
Should Fight: Anthony Johnson/Jimi Manuwa Winner
Teixeira bounced back nicely on Saturday with a strangling of Saint Preux, and he demonstrated a superior grappling game against the Strikeforce import. In doing this, he stopped his losing streak at two and is poised to move back into title contention. He should face someone in a similar position to himself in order to get back into the title picture. Enter Anthony Johnson and Jimi Manuwa, two strikers near the upper crust of the division, both looking to close in on recently crowned champion Daniel Cormier. For Johnson, (coming off of a loss in a title bout), and for Manuwa only one fight removed from a loss (to contender Alexander Gustaffson), a victory for either would put them almost directly into the path of Glover Teixeira. The road to redemption for these gentlemen leads through one another.
Should Fight: Al Iaquinta
Dariush got the W, although not without a fair amount of controversy. There was near unanimity between various MMA media outlets that Johnson should have gotten the nod from the judges, but that did not end up the case. Dariush is clearly an upper echelon talent, but is not quite ready for someone in the top five yet. Al Iaquinta would fit the bill for Dariush’s next test. Similarly ranked, and also coming off of a decision victory with a fair amount of controversy, Iaquinta has an aggressive striking style that would test Dariush in ways reminiscent of Johnson. A win for either fighter would propel them into the top 10.
Should Fight: CB Dollaway
Derek Brunson must has a thing against red heads because that’s the second in a row he’s obliterated in less than five minutes. He put away “Smile’n” Sam Alvey with strikes at just 2:19 of the first round, and is deserving of a higher ranked opponent. Enter Dollaway, who is ranked four spots ahead of Brunson according to the UFC’s rankings. Dollaway has the big name experience, and will be looking to bounce back from back to back losses against Lyoto Machida and Michael Bisping. A win for Brunson would see him ascend the rankings towards larger fights; a win for Dollaway would right ship and keep him in reach of top 10 opponents.
Should Fight: Shawn Jordan
It certainly wasn’t pretty, but Rosholt improved to 5-1 inside the Octagon while grinding out a unanimous decision victory against Timothy Johnson. In his next bout, he should get a more recognizable name in the heavyweight division, yet someone about his level of skill and experience. Enter Shawn Jordan. The former LSU Tiger has wracked up three straight knockout victories, with a hook kick knockout punctuating the streak. If this bout gets made, a win for either would send them into the top 15 of the heavyweight division. A loss wouldn’t be devastating, it would simply relegate them to the kinds of fights they are currently getting.
Should Fight: Alexis Davis
In defeating the number four ranked woman in the UFC’s 135 pound division, Amanda Nunes stamped her credentials as a top talent. Showcasing ferocious striking and a killer instinct on the ground, Nunes put away Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann with a rear naked choke in the first round. Nunes has earned a step up the ladder, closer to title contention. Bring in familiar foe Alexis Davis, whom Nunes was finished by four years ago. The landscape in the division has changed dramatically since that time, and a second bout between the two would be a true testament as to where they stand in the women’s bantamweight division.
Should Fight: Justin Scoggins
Similarly ranked, and both with a fair amount of hype behind them, Borg and Scoggins are two bright prospects in the UFC’s flyweight division. Borg, while missing weight by a pound, still had one of the better performances on the night. He ground out a dominant decision against game late replacement Geane Herrera, avoiding all manner of triangle choke attempts in the process. Scoggins is coming off of a win against Josh Sampo, and is looking to regain some of that momentum he had going his way before falling victim to Dustin Ortiz and John Moraga. A fight here between these two prospects makes sense, and will determine who gets stuck outside of contenderville.
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