Armchair Matchmaker

UFC Fight Night 176 Post-Fight Matchmaker

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UFC Fight Night 176 took place at the UFC APEX on Saturday night that featured some historic finishes and a potential changing of the old guard. This post-fight matchmaker matches up the main card winners with the fighters that they should face next.

UFC Fight Night 176 Post-Fight Matchmaker

Mackenzie Dern vs. Randa Markos

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace Mackenzie Dern did her thing on Saturday night, quickly submitting Hannah Cifers in the first round. Dern’s kneebar was the first leg-based submission in women’s UFC history, recovering from her first MMA loss well. An ideal next opponent for her would be Randa Markos. The Canadian-Iraqi “Quiet Storm” has faced a bevy of top-flight competition while alternating between wins and losses, draw with Marina Rodriguez notwithstanding, throughout her 14-fight UFC career. Most recently, she lost to Amanda Ribas, who also was the one to beat Dern. Markos has always been at or around the strawweight rankings with a well-rounded skillset. She serves as a great barometer for whether or not Dern can move into contention or not.

Roosevelt Roberts vs. Matt Frevola/Frank Camacho winner

“The Predator” Roosevelt Roberts locked up a rear-naked choke on Brok Weaver in the second round after much back-and-forth chatter between the two in the lead-up to the fight. Roberts looked impressive and is now 4-1 in the UFC. After the fight, Roberts called out Matt Frevola, who was scheduled to face him on April 25 before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the event’s cancellation. “The Steamrolla” Frevola, who is 2-1-1 in the UFC, is now scheduled to face Frank Camacho on June 20. The winner of the Camacho-Frevola fight should face Roberts next, as either matchup makes for an exciting stand-up affair.

Billy Quarantillo vs. Gavin Tucker

Billy Quarantillo outworked Spike Carlyle to take a unanimous decision victory in an exciting fight, winning two rounds across the board to Carlyle’s one. Quarantillo is now 2-0 in the UFC and building momentum. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, he was scheduled to face Gavin Tucker on the aforementioned April 25 card. “The Newfoundland Terror” has won two out of his three UFC appearances, albeit facing generally more experienced competition than Quarantillo. The UFC should rebook this matchup to see who is ready to face stiffer competition afterwards.

Augusto Sakai vs. Aleksei Oleinik

Augusto Sakai continued his undefeated streak in the UFC by edging out former World Series of Fighting heavyweight champion Blagoy Ivanov. At 29, Sakai is rising the ranks at a young age for a heavyweight. While he deserves a step up in competition, he does not quite seem ready to face the division’s elite. A solid test for him would be Aleksei Oleinik, who is coming off of a win over former champion Fabricio Werdum. This fight would give Sakai a chance to prove he deserves to become a new name to watch out for in a historically-thin division, or it can help Oleinik continue his final push back into contention.

Gilbert Burns vs. Colby Covington

Saturday night’s main event was a dominant showcase by white-hot contender Gilbert Burns. He beat former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley from pillar to post, nearly finishing him but taking a shutout unanimous decision. Less than a year ago, “Durinho” was a lightweight prospect with decent success. Now, however, he is right in the thick of discussions to face champion Kamaru Usman. Some pundits believe that this win earned the shot for him, while others believe Jorge Masvidal and Leon Edwards are more deserving. In March, Burns called out outspoken Colby Covington, who is coming off of a losing effort in a title fight in December. Now is the time to book this grudge match, with the winner likely earning a title shot next.

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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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