Armchair Matchmaker

UFC Fight Night 172 Post-Fight Matchmaker 

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UFC Fight Night 172 featured eye-opening performances in each of its main card fights. The card brought fans new contenders, three impressive submissions, and a new champion. The UFC Fight Night 172 Post-Fight Matchmaker will pick opponents for the fighters who put on these great performances.

UFC Fight Night 172 Post-Fight Matchmaker

Askar Askarov vs. Alex Perez

Askar Askarov remained undefeated on Saturday night, outgrappling Alexandre Pantoja to win a close decision. After finishing all of his fights prior to joining the UFC, Askarov has now gone to three straight decisions. Nonetheless, the win over Pantoja puts him on the cusp of a title fight in a thin men’s flyweight division. Another surging contender is Alex Perez. He is 6-1 in the UFC, only going to a decision once. Most recently, Perez is coming off of a TKO win over perennial contender Jussier Formiga. The winner of the Askarov-Perez matchup would be in a prime position to be the next title challenger.

Ariane Lipski vs. Gillian Robertson

The “Violence Queen” Ariane Lipski lived up to her nickname when she submitted Luana Carolina with a vicious kneebar. After losing her first two UFC appearances, the former KSW champion has rebounded with back-to-back wins. This puts her right on the outside of the women’s flyweight division rankings. Gillian Robertson is in a similar position, recently submitting Cortney Casey about a month ago. “The Savage” has not been to a decision in each of her seven UFC fights. This fight would not only be a barnburner, but would also move the winner into the division’s rankings with bigger fights to come.

Rafael Fiziev vs. Renato Moicano

Fans were in awe of the performance of Rafael Fiziev, whose kicking offense and defense were on display in a bonus-winning masterclass over Marc Diakiese. He has now won two straight since dropping his UFC debut in April 2019. Based on the performance Saturday night, the 27 year old Fiziev has the potential to quickly make his way through the division. A matchup with Renato Moicano makes a lot of sense for both fighters. Moicano made his lightweight debut in March, securing a quick submission win over Damir Hadzovic. As Moicano continues his run in the lightweight division, a fight with Fiziev can further prove that he can contend in his new weight class. Fiziev, meanwhile, gets a step up in competition by fighting Moicano. The fight is sure to be striking fireworks.

Jack Hermansson vs. Derek Brunson/Edmen Shahbazyan winner

Jack Hermansson made quick work of Kelvin Gastelum, submitting him with a heel hook just 78 seconds into the fight. The impressive finish rejuvenated his contendership within the division following a devastating loss to Jared Cannonier. “The Joker” planned out his path to a title shot in the post-fight interview, but is unrealistic in a division as stacked as middleweight. He will likely need to rack up more than two straight wins to receive a title shot. This flies in the face of the idea of Yoel Romero fighting for the title last though, since he was coming off of a loss prior, but Romero has been a contender at the top of the division for a long time and was extremely close to winning in each of his prior title shots.

A more reasonable next fight for Hermansson would be the winner of the upcoming fight between Derek Brunson and Edmen Shahbazyan. Brunson has been hovering in the top ten rankings for a long time now, and has looked like an improved fighter in his last two fights. A win over Shahbazyan would set Brunson up for a pivotal fight in his career with Hermansson to prove whether he can break the “gatekeeper” label to become a legitimate title contender. The 22 year old Shahbazyan, meanwhile, has been on a surge since debuting in November of 2018. His last three fights have not even lasted half of a round, and has only left the first round once in his entire career. If “The Golden Boy” can continue this dominance over someone like Brunson, an opponent like Hermansson would be an excellent next test.

Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno

The men’s flyweight division has a new kingpin at long last. Deiveson Figueiredo dominantly proved that his first finish over Joseph Benavidez in February was no fluke. “Deus da Guerra” bludgeoned Benavidez with a flurry of knockdowns and submission attempts until “Joe B” was finally rendered unconscious by a rear-naked choke with twelve seconds left in the first round. Notwithstanding his first career loss to Formiga in March of last year, Figueiredo has looked nothing short of unstoppable. Formiga would be a good option for a rematch with this being considered, but has lost three in a row in the fights following the win.

Enter the soon-to-be top-ranked flyweight contender, Brandon Moreno. Moreno is currently ranked third. Figueiredo will be promoted to champion, though, and second-ranked Benavidez will likely fall as a result of his devastating loss. Moreno is riding a four-fight unbeaten streak, including a draw and unanimous decision to the aforementioned Askarov and Formiga, respectively. The 26 year old has faced much of the division’s elite in both stints of his UFC career, and has not been finished in any of his official professional fights. “The Assassin Baby” has been a much improved fighter since returning to the UFC. His contention for a title would serve as proof of such.

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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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