The last week has 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 some potential match-ups that should be made in the wake of UFC Fight Night 127.
Alexander Volkov vs. Stipe Miocic OR Cain Velasquez
Volkov was able to survive Fabricio Werdum’s ground game in the main event of UFC Fight Night 127. He eventually knocked Werdum down, then put him to sleep with a follow-up. Volkov is at most one win away from a title shot if he doesn’t get the winner of Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier. That whole scenario is unpredictable and could play out a few different ways if Cormier wins. If Miocic retains, Volkov will likely be his next challenger. Volkov may also fight Velasquez, if the AKA fighter returns soon, for a crack at a heavyweight title shot. We’ll have to see what happens in July between “DC” and Miocic.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Junior dos Santos II OR Mark Hunt II
When you’re atop a division so long, you begin to run out of fresh match-ups. A Werdum vs. dos Santos rematch would be enticing, makes sense and would be a good win for either man. The original fight happened in 2008. A decade later, and a lot has changed. However, dos Santos is currently on the sidelines due to a positive test for a banned substance.
If “JDS” is forced to sit on the sidelines too long, Werdum vs. Mark Hunt II is another viable option. Werdum knocked out Hunt to win the vacant heavyweight title in November 2014.
Jan Blachowicz vs. Ilir Latifi II
Blachowicz got his loss to Jimi Manuwa back in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 127 in an exciting match-up. A Ilir Latifi rematch should be next for Blachowicz, who defeated Latifi back in October 2014. Latifi was a moderate favorite entering the bout before losing by TKO. He’d likely love to get that one back. Latifi stands as the top-5 LHW, while Blachowicz should move up right near him after defeating No. 4-ranked Manuwa.
Jimi Manuwa vs. Misha Cirkunov
Manuwa and Cirkunov are both coming off two consecutive losses, and haven’t fought yet. The fight would be fun stylistically as it’s classic striker vs. grappler. The fight would have high stakes as well, so we’d likely be treated to the best both have to offer.
Tom Duquesnoy vs. Ryan Hall
During Duquesnoy’s unanimous decision victory over Terrion Ware, Dan Hardy brought up an interesting point. He’d like to see “The Fire Kid” move up to featherweight. Duquesnoy held both the bantamweight and featherweight titles under BAMMA. He has been underwhelming so far in the UFC from the blue-chip prospect fans were expecting, but featherweight could rejuvenate him. Hall would be a good test at 145 for Duquesnoy, who, if he can keep it standing, should style on the grappler.
Leon Edwards vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
Edwards got the last-second TKO over Peter Sobotta to kick off the UFC Fight Night 127 main card. Edwards, who entered the bout as the 15th-ranked welterweight, is now on a five-fight winning streak. He deserves a step up. A fight with Ponzinibbio could make sense and would be enticing.
Charles Byrd vs. Ryan Janes
Byrd dominated John Phillips en route to a first round rear-naked choke win. Janes would be a moderate step up and would give Byrd a chance to secure a win over an opponent who is above average everywhere.
Danny Roberts vs. Max Griffin
Roberts emphatically got back in the win column with a knockout over Oliver Enkamp in the first round. Max Griffin is coming off of his own win over Mike Perry, in which he nearly finished “Platinum.” Perry holds a knockout win over Roberts, but the fight was close enough to warrant an intriguing Roberts vs. Griffin match-up. Hopefully, fans would be treated to a stand-up war.
Danny Henry vs. Julio Arce
Henry stunned fans who were eager to watch the debut of “Mean” Hakeem Dawodu. He clubbed n’ subbed Dawodu in just 39 seconds. Henry, now 2-0 in the UFC is a potential prospect at featherweight. Arce, a graduate of the Dana White Contender Series, has established himself as prospect to watch. The UFC has shown it’s not above matching up prospects to face one another (Stamann vs. Duquesnoy, Gall vs. Northcutt). Henry vs. Arce would be a fight that could establish the next 145’er to look out for.
Paul Craig vs. Aleksandar Rakic
Craig pulled off a seemingly impossible literal last-second triangle submission to stun Magomed Ankalaev, who had dominated much of the previous 14:59. It was the first of two last-second finishes featured on UFC Fight Night 127. Craig likely saved his UFC job with that win. Rakic makes sense for his next opponent.
Kajan Johnson vs. Mairbek Taisumov
Johnson won a tight split decision over Stevie Ray and continued his underdog streak. If Taisumov can’t land a top-15 in his return fight, a win over Johnson would certainly get him one.
Dmitry Sosnovskiy vs. Cyril Asker
Sosnovskiy finished Mark Godbeer via submission, but the undefeated heavyweight prospect’s performance showed there’s room for much-needed improvement. Specifically, his cardio. Hopefully, the UFC doesn’t throw him to the heavyweight wolves quite yet and lets him figure out his cardio over the course of 2-3 fights. As of now, Sosnovskiy is beatable in the lower tier of heavyweight. Asker is looking to get back in the win column, and would be another test to see if Sosnovskiy can hang in the UFC as he slowly climbs up.
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