UFC Fight Night 139 is now in the books following a thrilling event Saturday night, November 10th, from the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The organization celebrated their 25th year of competition, returning to the city where it all began in November of 1993. In the night’s main event, Yair Rodriguez pulled off one of the greatest knockouts in UFC history with a final-second in the fifth round, intelligently planting an elbow to the rushing forward Chan Sung Jung. The contest would earn both a “Fight of the Night” bonus, along with a “Performance of the Night” bonus for Rodriguez, capping off a special night for the world’s biggest mixed martial arts promotion.
In the night’s co-main event, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone made work with a first-round armbar over the always entertaining Mike Perry. Cerrone found satisfaction with the other “Performance of the Night” bonus while also setting numerous records as a result from his finish.
Two newcomers in strawweight Maycee Barber and lightweight Devonte Smith made sound with their impressive finishes over their respected opponents. Former inaugural UFC women’s featherweight champion Germaine De Randamie decisioned Raquel Pennington, who missed weight the day before Beneil Dariush also managed to return to the win column, defeating Thiago Moises by decision for his first victory in over two years. Lastly, submission specialist and former ADCC world champion Davi Ramos made quick work over former The Ultimate Fighter competitor John Gunther with a first-round rear-naked choke.
What is next for those who came out victorious or defeated Saturday night? After this memorable night in Denver, let us take a look at the top five fights to make after UFC Fight Night 139.
5. Devonte Smith vs. Ross Pearson
It took Devonte Smith less than a minute to land a beautiful 1-2 on the chin of Julian Erosa, finishing off the fight seconds later with ground-and-pound. This was his first victory under UFC contract, having earned one following a brutal elbow knockout in August this year over Joseph Lowry on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. The win on Saturday night was his eighth by knockout or technical knockout and his fourth straight in the first round.
Smith may be one of my new favorite personalities in the UFC. His post-fight interview was a good one, along with a solid call-out of scrappy veteran Ross Pearson. Unfortunately, “The Real Deal” is only 1-5 in his last six fights and is close to either retirement or being released from the promotion. Despite this, he still manages to put on great showings for the fans. Pearson even responded to the call-out with a Tweet showing interest in the match-up. I’d expect a finish in this one.
4. Maycee Barber vs. Mackenzie Dern
Let us briefly flashback to July of this year. Maycee Barber took on Jamie Colleen at Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, battling for a potential contract to fight inside the octagon. Barber would land a takedown with less than 90 seconds left in the third and final round, finishing the fight soon after with brutal ground-and-pound. She would receive a contract, with Saturday night being her first signed fight. Just like in that fight, Barber would do much of the same stopping debutant Hannah Cifers with ground-and-pound and elbows in the second round.
Barber has a big future ahead of her, especially since she is undefeated as a professional at only 20 years old. Not many fighters this young have found such success this earlier on into their career. In her post-fight interview, she called out one of the other biggest prospects in the strawweight division: undefeated Mackenzie Dern. The successful BJJ practitioner made her name known in mixed martial arts through Legacy FC, LFA, and Invicta FC before signing with the UFC. Dern has already earned two more victories in 2018 over Amanda Cooper and Ashley Yoder. I love this callout from Barber and would love to see who comes out victorious if they fight.
3. Davi Ramos vs. Gilbert Burns / Olivier Aubin-Mercier winner
Davi Ramos is an absolute animal. He made quick work of former The Ultimate Fighter competitor John Gunther, snatching the neck just shy of two minutes into the first round. The submission victory was not only his third straight but his third in-a-row by way of rear-naked choke. This particular method is his fourth total in nine career victories. His other two UFC victories came in December 9th of 2017 over Chris Gruetzemacher and in May of this year over Nick Hein.
I shared it once before: I really want a fight between Ramos and Demian Maia, both men former ADCC champions (Ramos in 2015, Maia in 2007). However, Ramos has no intentions of going to welterweight, so I thought of the next best option. Gilbert Burns and Olivier Aubin-Mercier will meet next month at UFC 231 on December 8th. Both Burns and Aubin-Mercier suffered losses in their last fights, but the two are both extremely talented in their abilities. The winner should fight Ramos, which would make for an exciting battle of Brazilian jiu-jitsu in a fight that would logically make sense.
2. Donald Cerrone vs. Justin Gaethje
Many were not picking him to win including the majority here at MMASucka, but Donald Cerrone managed to get it done in tremendous fashion. After a few transitions on the ground, Cerrone managed to find a limb of Mike Perry, wrapping up and finishing the fight by first-round armbar. With the finish, “Cowboy” locked up two all-time UFC records: the most victories among all weight classes (21 total), and the most stoppage victories among all weight classes (15 total). On top of that, Cerrone holds 19 post-fight bonuses, an all-weight class included record between UFC and WEC competition. Check out all that he managed to accomplish with this victory over at MMAJunkie.
There will never be another Cowboy like the Cowboy. The man has accomplished so much throughout his 13-year mixed martial arts career, more than most fighters will ever be able to do in a lifetime. Even at 35 years old, Cerrone still is a dangerous threat for anyone who steps in his path. After his fight, in an interview with long-time friend and training partner Paul Felder, he announced that a return to lightweight would be next (following a 10-fight run at 170 pounds). He has his eyes set on a run for the title, hopefully one day able to face off against Khabib Nurmagomedov. However, the UFC apparently already has a name for him next.
My guess is Justin Gaethje, another exciting striker and finisher who just stopped James Vick with a brutal uppercut a few months ago. Two of the most game fighters in the entire world fighting? Sign. Me. Up.
1. Yair Rodriguez vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov
The most thrilling finish to a fight in UFC history. Potentially the greatest knockout to ever occur inside the octagon. An automatic “Fight of the Year” and “Comeback of the Year” for 2018. An all-time classic took place in the main event for the UFC’s 25th Anniversary event. Yair Rodriguez and Chan Sung Jung will be one we remember for the rest of our lives. Rodriguez was on his way to losing the fight by a decision, down on the scorecards 3-1, 3-1, and 2-2 from each judge. But the final second elbow called an end to the fight, knocking out Jung unconscious face-first into the canvas.
I heard Jimmy Smith suggest a fight between Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens, which I would not be opposed to seeing next for both men (who suffered losses to Frankie Edgar within the past two years). However, the only fight I think the world wants to see that MUST happen is a pairing with Zabit Magomedsharipov. The two were expected to fight at UFC 228 until an injury forced Rodriguez out of the fight. Some believed he was “ducking” the most feared fighter in the featherweight division. Let’s reschedule this bout and see who comes out victorious in what would truly be a fantastic fight. If this is unable to come to fruition, a pairing with Stephens would be just as fun…. and vicious.
Other fights to make after UFC Fight Night 139:
Germaine de Randamie vs. Aspen Ladd
Beneil Dariush vs. Rustam Khabilov
Mike Trizano vs. Jason Gonzalez
Ashley Yoder vs. Chan-Mi Jeon
Bobby Moffett vs. Julio Arce
Eric Shelton vs. Mark De La Rosa
Chan Sung Jung vs. Jeremy Stephens
Mike Perry vs. Bryan Barberena
Raquel Pennington vs. Yana Kunitskaya / Marion Reneau winner
Thiago Moises vs. Julian Erosa
Hannah Cifers vs. Jodie Esquibel
Luis Pena vs. Thibault Gouti
Amanda Cooper: released, sign with Invicta
Chas Skelly vs. Chris Fishgold
John Gunther vs. Christos Giagos
Joseph Morales vs. Ashkan Mokhtarian
Joby Sanchez vs. Elias Garcia
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