UFC Fight Night 145 (AKA UFC Prague) is now one for the books. It was a successful first trip to the Czech Republic for the promotion.
The night was headlined by hard-hitting Brazilian Thiago Santos and longtime Polish contender Jan Blachowicz in a bout which had title implications at 205. Santos came away with a third-round TKO victory on this occasion. It will be hard to deny ‘Marreta’ a shot at the winner of the UFC 235 main event after this.
UFC Fight Night 145
Now 3-0 at 205lbs, Thiago Santos has beaten some solid competition after moving up from middleweight. Headlining his second card within a year, Santos has cemented himself as the front runner in the light heavyweight division. In what is a fairly shallow 205 division, and with 16 finishes to his name, we could very well be seeing Santos against the winner of the main event at UFC 235. Already holding a victory over Anthony Smith, and with enough power to trouble anyone at 205, Marreta is a fun fight for whoever comes out on top in Vegas.
He called his shot following his victory in the UFC Prague main event, stating he wants the next shot at the title. If this doesn’t come to fruition however, who could see him against next? Does he have to prove himself one more time before a title shot? A match up between the Brazilian and long-time contender Alexander Gustafsson could have potential. With the UFC announcing its return to Sweden in June, we could possibly see this match made.
Former 185lbs champ Luke Rockhold was also vocal on Twitter about Santos’ performance. With a move up to 205 for Rockhold, could the hard-hitting Brazillian be the man to welcome him to light heavyweight? One thing we know for sure, Thiago Santos will be keeping a very close eye on this weekends main event.
Petr Yan. We’re quickly running out of words to describe how good the Russian has looked in his UFC career. Rushing to 4-0 in the UFC in just six months, with two finishes and two decision victories, Yan is a problem for anyone at 135lbs.
The high pressure, hard-hitting Russian was able to shut out the notoriously tricky John Dodson, winning 30-27 on all cards. Only former champ Demetrious Johnson and John Lineker landed more strikes on Dodson than Yan. It is worth noting that these two fights were five-round decisions, whereas Yan landed frequently on him over just fifteen minutes. Yan’s heart was tested in the fight, getting dropped by Dodson, but he managed to go on to win the round.
Following his impressive win at UFC Prague, Yan called out perennial contender Jimmie Rivera. Rivera is highly ranked and highly regarded, and is also coming off a loss, and could be a good match-up for ‘No Mercy’.
Having only competed a week prior to Yan, the timeline for these two men work for each other. Yan, however, is in an awkward position of a high-risk fighter with a lower reward for anyone in and around the top five. Despite this, in the UFC, the best fight the best, and there are a number of interesting fights for the Russian newcomer. Brett Okamoto put it perfectly on Twitter, showing just how many fun fights there are for Yan at 135.
The former Cage Warriors lightweight champion picked up his first UFC win on the prelims at UFC Prague. Landing five out of ten takedowns, it was clear what his plan was from the first bell.
Shooting a single on Daniel Teymur just three seconds into the fight, the Brit was largely able to control the Swede throughout the fight on the ground. Props to Teymur for constantly getting up, but the wrestling ended up being too much. Fishgold almost finished the fight in the first round, locking in what appeared to be a deep armbar, but Teymur managed to escape well.
The UFC matchmakers clearly think highly of Fishgold, who was handed ranked Calvin Kattar in his debut. Although he lost the fight by KO, the Englishman clearly learnt a lot from the fight.
So what’s next for the Scouse? We could well see him back in the summer, especially with a card being announced for Stockholm in June. Now he’s notched his first win, and should the UFC want to put two prospects against each other, Hakeem Dawodu could be a viable contender. This would provide the classic ‘striker vs grappler’ match-up for the fans. Another potential fight could be against Makwan Amirkhani, in an all European affair. Amirkhani is yet to fight outside of Europe in the UFC, so the Sweden card could be perfect for this match-up.
These go to Michal Oleksiejczuk, Ismail Naurdiev and Dwight Grant.
Olesksiejczuk pulled off an impressive finish in the first round of his fight with Gian Villante. Following a USADA suspension, the Polish native looked good and could become a contender in a fairly shallow 205 division. He is likely to be ranked following this victory and will hopefully stay active and continue to climb the ranks.
Ismail Naurdiev got his UFC career off to a strong start, dominating Michel Prazeres. Winning 30-26 on two of three cards, the Austrian was able to outmaneuver the Brazilian, who was on an eight-fight win streak. Improving to 18-2 (MMA) Naurdiev is confident in his skills and should be looking to get on the Sweden card in June. A potential next match-up could be Nordine Taleb, in an all European match-up.
DWTNCS alumni Dwight Grant picked up a Performance of the Night victory at UFC Prague. The former Bellator man viciously knocked out Carlo Pedersoli Jr. with just a second left in the first round. Showing brilliant takedown defence and keeping the fight where he wanted it, Grant impressed in his second UFC outing.
UFC Fight Night 145
Headlining his first UFC card, and riding a four-fight win streak, Blachowicz came into this bout high on confidence. Despite this, Santos finished the Polish native in the third round.
Appearing to be the gatekeeper to a top three position in the 205lbs division, we have to wonder what is next for Blachowicz. We could see him against the loser of Dominick Reyes and Volkan Oezdemir, who fight in London in March. Having been finished for the first time in his UFC career, Blachowicz will be eager to right this wrong. One thing is for sure however, the Polish native will have to restart his journey to the top once again following this loss.
This was a tough one for all of us at MMA Sucka, as we’re big Veronica Macedo fans. On paper, Macedo can give anyone at 125lbs a problem, holding a brown belt in both Karate and BJJ and a black belt in Taekwondo. Despite this, her UFC career has never really got off to the start many thought it would.
Taking a short notice fight at bantamweight, Macedo was finished by Ashlee Evans-Smith in her promotional debut. Her second fight came against Andrea Lee, in a FOTN decision loss, and she was once again finished by Gillian Robertson at UFC Prague.
There is a high possibility we could see Macedo cut from the UFC as there aren’t many fighters who go on a three-fight losing streak and keep their place. We could very well see her fighting for Invicta in her next bout, but at just 23 years old, there is plenty of time for improvement.
Teymur, similar to Macedo is on a three-fight losing streak and is without a win in the UFC. Losing a FOTN decision in his debut, Teymur has now been finished in his last two fights. Despite dropping down to featherweight in search of a win, Teymur hasn’t had any sucess. Again, like Macedo, we may see Teymur cut after a largely unsuccessful stint in the UFC. It is likely we could see him on a local European circuit in his next bout.
What’s next for the UFC?
With a successful trip to Europe, the UFC returns to the US at the T-Mobile Arena for UFC 235. A title fight will headline the event between light heavyweights Jon Jones and Anthony Smith. We’ll have to see how this match up plays out, but Santos will definitely be watching it closely.
The 170lbs belt is also on the line in a fight between champ Tyron Woodley and TUF winner Kamaru Usman. This promises to be a closely contested match up between two high-level fighters, with a combined record of 33-4.
Also worthy of note on this card is the promotional debut of Ben Askren, former Bellator and ONE welterweight champion. Askren takes on former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler. Former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt also returns for the first time since his rematch with TJ Dillashaw. ‘No Love’ goes up against #7 Pedro Munhoz.
UFC 235 also sees the return of fan favourites Zabit Magomedsharipov and Johnny Walker. With many big names on this card, it promises to deliver a fun night of fights. Keep an eye out on MMASucka.com for lots of fight week content!
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