Armchair Matchmaker

UFC on ESPN 10 Post-Fight Matchmaker

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UFC on ESPN 10 featured a bevy of first-round finishes and fighters that missed weight. The third fight card at the UFC APEX brought action, again providing an entertaining night of fights for fans around the world affected by COVID-19. This UFC on ESPN 10 Matchmaker looks at the main card winners and determines the next opponents that they should face next.

UFC on ESPN 10 Post-Fight Matchmaker

Maria Agapova vs. Justine Kish

It has been a rough 2020 for Hannah Cifers, as she has been stopped three times and twice in the last three weeks. In her most recent loss, Cifers lost by TKO to debuting Maria Agapova less than three minutes into the first round. At just 23 years old, Agapova could be a force to be reckoned with in the flyweight division in the future. She called out Shana Dobson after the fight, but that fight is not a logical next step for her. A more reasonable opponent would be Justine Kish, who is coming off of a win over Lucie Pudilova in January. This would be a fun fight between two European strikers.

Jordan Espinosa vs. Tyson Nam

Jordan Espinosa shut out Mark De La Rosa on Saturday night, moving to 2-2 in the UFC. The Dana White Contender Series alum was ranked 13th before the win but likely needs another win or two before facing top-ten opponents. He called out Tyson Nam after the fight, and that is a fight that makes sense. Earlier in the night, Nam scored a highlight-reel knockout to record his first UFC win. Nam has fought each of his three UFC fights at bantamweight but plans to drop to flyweight for his next fight. An Espinosa-Nam matchup gives the winner their first UFC win streak and a chance to inch closer to contention.

Andre Fili vs. Edson Barboza

In a back-and-forth exciting fight, Andre Fili picked up a split decision victory over Charles Jourdain. “Touchy” Fili has faced some of the top names in the featherweight division but has never been able to find consistency inside the Octagon. At 9-6 in the UFC, he has never won more than two fights in a row during his tenure. He has always been on the edge of the division’s rankings though and is always in for an exciting fight. A fun fight would be between him and newly-minted featherweight Edson Barboza. Barboza has had a tough run of late, losing five of his last six. Barboza has faced a bevy of elite talent and is always a tough out. This awesome striking matchup has “Fight of the Night” written all over it.

Charles Rosa vs. Ricardo Ramos

After taking a bludgeoning against Bryce Mitchell just five weeks ago, Charles Rosa rebounded to defeat Kevin Aguilar by split decision. Rosa has now alternated wins and losses in his eight UFC outings. All of his losses, however, are against high-level competition. “Boston Strong” Rosa is in a strange spot, not quite in a position work towards the rankings yet, but he also has the potential to be competitive with almost anyone in the featherweight division.

A fight with Ricardo Ramos would be an excellent barometer for both fighters to determine where they are in terms of contention. Ramos is 5-1 in the UFC but against generally lesser competition than Rosa. Ramos made his featherweight UFC debut in November, submitting Luiz Eduardo Garagorri in the first round. He has shown flashes of brilliance, and a fight with Rosa is a sensible next step in his career as he works towards contention. Rosa, meanwhile, would get an opportunity to stifle a hot prospect and prove that he can be more than a pseudo-gatekeeper.

Marvin Vettori vs. Krzysztof Jotko

The grudge match between Karl Roberson and Marvin Vettori was finally settled in the co-main event, with “The Italian Dream” Vettori winning by submission in the first round. Vettori has now won three in a row and stands at 4-2-1 in the UFC. His only two losses, however, are to Ultimate Fighter winner and perennial contender Antonio Carlos Junior, and current champion Israel Adesanya. While he has called for a rematch with Adesanya, that is unlikely to be granted to him for at least a couple more fights. A good next opponent would be Krzysztof Jotko. They are each riding three-fight win streaks, have similar fighting styles, and are right on the cusp of entering the division’s rankings. The winner of this matchup would not only get a ranking, but they would also be in line to face some of the division’s elite afterward.

Cynthia Calvillo vs. Katlyn Chookagian

Cynthia Calvillo‘s first foray in the flyweight division was successful, as she took a dominant decision victory over the division’s previous top contender, Jessica Eye. She moves to 6-1-1 in the UFC and has not lost since 2017. With her weight issues behind her and a win over a former title challenger, she has immediately launched herself into title contention. She will not receive a title shot immediately, however. Champion Valentina Shevchenko is set to face former Calvillo foe, Joanne Calderwood, next. In the meantime, another former title challenger, Katlyn Chookagian, called out Calvillo following her win. This is a sensible fight to make, and a Calvillo win could quickly earn her a title fight.

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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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