Armchair Matchmaker

UFC Fight Night 171 Post-Fight Matchmaker

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It is always a treat when a UFC event is held in the middle of the week and Wednesday night’s UFC Fight Night 171 was no different. It was a fun night of fights and an intriguing event overall. With it in the rear-view mirror now, however, it is time to look ahead to what is next. Here is who the winners of UFC Fight Night 171 should face next in this edition of Post-Fight Matchmaker.

UFC Fight Night 171 Post-Fight Matchmaker

Thiago Moises vs. Jalin Turner

After getting outstruck in the first round, Thiago Moises quickly locked up a heel hook in the second round to submit Michael Johnson. He has now split his four Octagon appearance but is still a promising prospect at just 24 years of age. Another fighter in the same position is fellow Dana White’s Contender Series alum Jalin Turner. A match between the two would be an intriguing clash of styles between the 5’8” former IBJJF champion in Moises and the 6’3” striker Turner. This fight would also determine which young prospect moves up the ladder sooner rather than later.

Andrei Arlovski vs. Fabricio Werdum 2

Andrei Arlovski sure has had an up-and-down career. Going into his fight against Philipe Lins, the former heavyweight champion had only won three out of his last 13 fights after being on the cusp of a title shot in his UFC return. On Wednesday, however, Arlovski was able to turn back the clock, looking impressive in a decision win against 2018 Professional Fighter’s League heavyweight champion Lins. “The Pitbull” at the very least proved that he can not be counted out just yet.

Since their fight at UFC 70, Arlovski and Fabricio Werdum have had similar paths. Both cut from the UFC, they each then returned with a vengeance to become viable contenders in the division. While neither of them are in a position to contend for a title any more, each fighter has evolved over 13 years since their first fight. Book the rematch and let the fans feel nostalgic for a while.

Ricky Simon vs. Brett Johns

Ricky Simon lost his magnificent mullet but did get back to his winning ways after defeating Ray Borg by decision. The former LFA bantamweight champion is now 4-2 in the UFC and will be looking to work back towards contention following his win. Another fighter who recently rebounded after two losses to top-level competition is Welshman Brett Johns. “The Pikey” defeated Tony Gravely by submission in January and would make for an interesting grappling matchup between Johns’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Simon’s wrestling. The winner of this fight will likely re-enter the UFC rankings and get a deserved step up in competition.

Drew Dober vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira

Drew Dober only won once in his first five UFC appearances. He could have easily been cut from the organization, but he has bounced back with a vengeance, losing only twice in the ten fights since. The training partner of newly-crowned interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje will enter the UFC rankings for the first time after an impressive TKO finish of Alexander Hernandez. Dober was originally scheduled to face Carlos Diego Ferreira, who submitted Anthony Pettis earlier in the year. This fight can be re-booked with the winner set up to become a true contender in the most stacked division in the UFC.

Ben Rothwell vs. Ilir Latifi

After losing his first two fights returning from a PED suspension, “Big” Ben Rothwell has since won two in a row. He was able to stick Ovince Saint Preux up against the fence and shut down his offence to earn a decision victory at UFC Fight Night 171. Rothwell still has some gas left in the tank and called out Alexei Oleinik in his post-fight interview. According to the UFC 249 Post-Fight Matchmaker, however, Oleinik should face Shamil Abdurakhimov next. Rothwell was originally scheduled to face Gian Villante, a light heavyweight just like Saint Preux. Next, Rothwell should face Ilir Latifi, another light heavyweight who recently moved up and lost to Derrick Lewis. This matchup could label Rothwell as the “light heavyweight killer” against a solid fighter in Latifi, who would look to get his first UFC heavyweight win against a staple of the division.

Glover Teixeira vs. Thiago Santos

To put it simply, Glover Teixeira absolutely bludgeoned Anthony Smith in the main event. Smith looked good in the first round, but Teixeira took control in the second and controlled the fight until the fight was finally stopped in the fifth. He looked nothing short of dominant, with the fight reminding many fans of Valentina Shevchenko‘s destruction of Priscila Cachoeira. The difference here, however, is that Smith is a former title challenger while Cachoeira was debuting in the UFC. This finish launches Teixeira into title contention again at age 40. Teixeira is not next in line for a title shot; there are three more likely candidates in Jan BlachowiczDominick Reyes, and Thiago Santos. Santos is also on the outside looking in for the race to fight champion Jon Jones, so a matchup with Teixeira gives the winner a stronger case to be the next in line.

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Nate Freeman is from Birmingham, AL, and has been an MMA fan since 2013 after buying UFC Undisputed 2009 for $2 from a second-hand electronics store.

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