The UFC returned to the APEX on Saturday night with UFC Fight Night 173. The card underwent several last-minute changes, with two fights changing opponents and three fights cancelled outright 48 hours before the event. Nonetheless the event went ahead as planned, with each of the main card’s four fights holding their own intrigue. The UFC Fight Night 173 Post-Fight Matchmaker takes the winners from those fights and picks their next opponents.
UFC Fight Night 173 Post-Fight Matchmaker
Bobby Green vs. Jim Miller
While the first fight between Bobby Green and Lando Vannata ended in a draw, the second fight was more definitive as “King” Green defeated Vannata by unanimous decision. The win marks two straight in less than two months for Green following two straight losses. For Green’s last fight, Jim Miller was the fight that was suggested in that edition of Post-Fight Matchmaker. That fight still makes sense, as both fighters are storied veterans who are always in for an action-packed fight. They have been in similar positions for a long time, at now is a better time than ever to match them up.
Vicente Luque vs. Robbie Lawler
Vicente Luque put on a vintage performance, knocking out Randy Brown with a knee and punches as the second round was drawing to a close. That is now two knockout wins in a row for “The Silent Assassin” following a unanimous decision loss to Stephen Thompson last November. Since his UFC debut loss, Luque has only lost to the aforementioned former title challenger Thompson and current top-five contender Leon Edwards. Luque is always a contender for Fight of the Night, and could quickly become a contender with a few more wins. The Post-Fight Matchmaker for Luque’s previous fight suggested a fight with Robbie Lawler, and that is still a fight that makes plenty of sense. Luque could use a win against a proven veteran with a resume like that of “Ruthless” in a fight that would surely be fireworks.
Jennifer Maia vs. Valentina Shevchenko
Joanne Calderwood was supposed to be next in line to contend for the flyweight title, but that is no longer the case. With champion Valentina Shevchenko recovering from medical procedures, Calderwood elected to stay active and took a fight against Jennifer Maia in the meantime. Maia, however, submitted Calderwood with an armbar towards the end of the first round. Although Maia lost to Katlyn Chookagian in her prior fight, she has put herself in a prime position for a title shot in a division desperately needing contenders. Shevchenko confirmed as much, and champions almost always get fights that they ask for, as long as the fighter they are asking for is an active contender. Expect to see the Chute Boxe-trained Maia face “The Bullet” for the belt next.
Derek Brunson vs. Jack Hermansson
The Edmen Shahbazyan hype train has been derailed for the time being, as Derek Brunson shut “The Golden Boy” down and won by TKO early into the third round. Brunson has been a much-improved fighter since setting up shop with Sanford MMA in South Florida in 2019. As Brunson declared in his post fight-celebration, he is now 3-0 with the camp since the moving following a loss to Israel Adesanya, who is now the middleweight champion. This vast improvement should earn him a fight with Jack Hermansson, as mentioned in the Post-Fight Matchmaker following “The Joker”‘s defeat of Kelvin Gastelum a couple weeks ago. A win for either fighter would vastly help their case for a title shot.
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