One hell of a night, Brazil.
UFC 212 went down in the books Saturday, June 3rd from the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro. The card’s biggest Brazilian name Jose Aldo could not get it done in his home crowd, losing his featherweight title in the main event to Hawaii-native Max Holloway. It was a hard-fought first round, but round two saw a swing in momentum for Holloway until the TKO stoppage came in his favor during round three. The loss for Aldo was his second in his last three, with Holloway extending his current win streak to eleven.
Top five fights to make after UFC 212
And how about Claudia Gadelha? We knew her skill level, but wow; she tore through Karolina Kowalkiewicz like butter. A first-round submission win was exactly what Gadelha needed to get her name thrown back into the title contention discussion.
Numerous other fighters found success on Saturday night. Paulo Borrachinha, Yancy Medeiros, Matthew Lopez, and Deiveson Figueiredo all earned impressive TKO victories. One of the most shocking finishes of the night came from short-notice replacement Brian Kelleher, submitting BJJ black belt and #13-ranked bantamweight Iuri Alcantara by guillotine in the first round.
Following a successful night in Rio, we at MMASucka provide the top five fights to make after UFC 212.
5) Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Cezar Ferreira
When you attempt to grapple with Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Antonio Carlos Junior, it’s not going to be pretty. And that’s exactly what we saw, seeing “Sapato” choke Eric Spicely in round number two. He now rides a three fight win streak streak, losing once in the past two-and-a-half years to Dan Kelly.
Both Carlos Junior and Cezar Ferreira have defeated and loss to similar fighters in experience level. The two are both very credentialed in BJJ, and both compete in the middleweight division. I believe now could be the perfect time to pair both up against each other, which could make for an exciting and technical grappling affair.
4) Claudia Gadelha vs. Tecia Torres
I don’t believe anyone thought Claudia Gadelha would steamroll Karolina Kowalkiewicz that easy and that fast. The first-round, rear-naked choke submission was Gadelha’s first finish since July of 2013. The finish also earned her “Performance of the Night” honors, her second earned UFC bonus after six fights with the promotion.
It is hard to deny Gadelha a title shot after that magnificent performance. However, she has already had two fights against the strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk seeing neither go in her favor. Rose Namajunas could be the next challenger to provide some diversity in those receiving attempts for the belt. Assuming Gadelha does not get the next shot, a match-up against Tecia Torres appears to be the one of the more feasible options.
3) Raphael Assuncao vs. John Lineker
Despite many social media members and staff (including myself) scoring the fight for Marlon Moraes, Raphael Assuncao got the split decision victory Saturday night. A lone unanimous decision loss to TJ Dillashaw has been his only defeat in his last 10 fights since March of 2011.
The UFC’s bantamweight division is one of the most stacked and entertaining in comparison to other weight classes. There are a couple options I see for Assuncao next, the biggest possibility being against John Lineker. Both suffered decision losses to Dillashaw and have yet to compete against each other. Let the two battle; the winner from that point may be one or two wins away from a shot at the 135-pound title.
2) Vitor Belfort vs. Anderson Silva
The decision was a hard one to call, but the three judges saw more in Vitor Belfort giving him the decision nod over Nate Marquardt. After dropping three straight, this win was his first since November of 2015 and first decision win since 2007.
Numerous people including myself think that Belfort should retire. Yes, his losses have come to top competition of the division, but each one has been a brutal defeat. He continues to prove us wrong, though, and shows ambition to continue fighting. If any fight seems reasonable for the crafty veteran next, it has to come in a rematch against Anderson Silva. We all know what happened in their first meeting (if, for some reason you don’t know: click this). Let’s see what happens if these two 40+ year-old legends battle once more.
1) Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar
What a performance from Max Holloway. Round one saw a small scare, getting tagged on the feet a couple times from the vicious power of Jose Aldo. Holloway would eventually take over as the minutes progressed, knocking down Aldo in round three before following up with brutal ground-and-pound seeing referee John McCarthy forced to step in. The crowd was speechless. Holloway’s now 11-fight win streak is the fourth longest streak among active competition in the UFC.
I feel like we are limited on options here. Both Ricardo Lamas and Cub Swanson suffered losses to Holloway on his win streak. Other featherweight fights are booked, including Bermudez/Elkins and Choi/Fili. It is possible we see Aldo get a rematch for the belt, knowing his past dominance in the division. However, it may be good to see someone new to face Holloway, has has defeated most of the higher-ranked featherweights. I believe Frankie Edgar is the best option even though he has suffered two decision losses to Aldo for the belt; one being last year. Holloway and Edgar have never fought, and now seems like the perfect time. Make sure it is in Hawaii.
Other fights to make after UFC 212:
Paulo Borrachinha vs. Krzysztof Jotko
Yancy Medeiros vs. Sergio Moraes
Matthew Lopez vs. Erik Perez
Brian Kelleher vs. Rob Font/Douglas Andrade winner
Viviane Pereira vs. Felice Herrig/Justin Kish winner
Luan Chagas vs. Nordine Taleb
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Jenel Lausa
Jose Aldo vs. Cub Swanson
Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Carla Esparza/Maryna Moroz winner
Nate Marquardt vs. Rafael Natal
Oluwale Bamgbose vs. Alex Nicholson
Erick Silva vs. Mike Pyle
Marlon Moraes vs. Aljamain Sterling/Renan Barao winner
Eric Spicely vs. Jack Hermansson
Johnny Eduardo vs. Augusto Mendes
Iuri Alcantara vs. Joe Soto
Jamie Moyle vs. Jessica Aguilar
Jim Wallhead vs. Charlie Ward
Marco Beltran vs. John Moraga/Ashkan Mokhtarian loser