Armchair Matchmaker

UFC Fight Night 180 Post-Fight Matchmaker

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UFC Fight Night 180 featured a bevy of action, with a good balance of devastating finishes and striking masterclasses. All of the main card winners looked impressive in their own right. They will move on and look forward to bigger and better things in the future. The UFC Fight Night 180 Post-Fight Matchmaker determines those bigger and better things by picking their next opponents.

UFC Fight Night 180 Post-Fight Matchmaker

Jonathan Martinez vs. Raoni Barcelos

The main card kicked off with a fun striking battle between Jonathan Martinez and Thomas Almeida, fighting for the first time in over two years. “Dragon” Martinez picked apart Almeida across three rounds to pick up an easy unanimous decision victory. He has won four of his last five, but could easily be on a five fight winning streak considering his controversial split-decision loss that was sandwiched between two wins. He is on the cusp of the bantamweight division’s rankings, and should face someone in a similar position. Raoni Barcelos fits that bill. Barcelos has yet to fight in 2020, but has won all four of his UFC outings. This fight could determine a new contender in a stacked division.

James Krause vs. Jake Matthews

“The” James Krause avoided the ground with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist Claudio Silva and outstruck him on the feet to pick up a unanimous decision victory on 12 days’ notice. Krause has won seven of his last eight, with his one loss being a close split-decision loss up a weight class on just one day’s notice. He told his corner that he “tore his knee up” during the fight, so it may be a while before fans see him again depending on the results of the tests that are sure to come. If everything turns out okay, he can face Jake Matthews. “The Celtic Kid” Matthews recently bludgeoned Diego Sanchez to pick up his sixth win in seven fights. This would be a fun stylistic matchup between two well-rounded former lightweights that are now in a similar position in the welterweight division.

Jimmy Crute vs. Nikita Krylov

Jimmy Crute proved once again to be a hot prospect in the light heavyweight division, defeating former Cage Warriors champion Modestas Bukauskas via TKO in just over two minutes. Crute has rebounded from his lone career loss, a Peruvian necktie submission to Misha Cirkunov last September, with back to back impressive wins. After the fight, he called for a fight with Nikita Krylov. That fight makes plenty of sense and would be a fan-friendly style of fight. “The Miner” Krylov is currently ranked eighth, but has split wins and losses in his four fights since returning to the UFC in 2018. The winner would have a prime opportunity to face an opponent in the division’s upper echelon with a victory.

Jessica Andrade vs. Cynthia Calvillo

In the co-main event, Jessica Andrade became the first female fighter in UFC history to win in three separate divisions. “Bate Estaca” Andrade came out guns-blazing as always, and crushed top-ranked contender Katlyn Chookagian with brutal body shots for a first-round TKO victory. She quickly moves to the top of the heap in the flyweight division. Another former strawweight that made a big splash in their UFC debut is Cynthia Calvillo. Calvillo was scheduled to face Lauren Murphy at UFC 254, but tested positive for COVID-19, scrapping the fight. When Calvillo recovers, she should face Andrade to determine the next title contender to face the winner of the scheduled fight at UFC 255 between flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko and challenger Jennifer Maia.

Brian Ortega vs. Alexander Volkanovski

After many surgeries coming off of a title fight loss in December 2018, Brian Ortega looked better than ever in the main event against “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, shutting him out across five rounds for a decision win. “T-City” Ortega’s striking looked better than ever, and his work on that craft over the course of a nearly two year absence was obvious. He is now set up, according to UFC president Dana White, for a title shot against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. This fight will be Volkanovski’s first title fight against someone other than Max Holloway, and the 22-1 Aussie will now more than likely face the 14-1 Ortega. It is surely going to be a scintillating scrap, assuming the UFC keeps its word.

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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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