What Next?

What Next? (UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Lobov)

Fighters do not always like to think what fights they will be in next after feeling the relief of finishing their last fight. The fight game is neverending, however, and so I list ouf the best outcome for the winners and losers from the UFC event that shook Nashville up.

Jake Ellenberger:

Ok, bear with me on this one for a bit. I honestly believe that Jake Ellenberger should just throw in the towel and hang up the gloves because I do not see him doing much in this division other than what he did against his opponent this past Saturday. I do not want to pick an opponent for him because I think he’s done. The UFC was going to let him go before he changed their mind by beating Matt Brown in spectacular fashion at UFC 201. But then he was defeated twice in a row after that via KO/TKO. I know how his next fight is going to end but he more than likely won’t listen to my pleas to stop fighting and will take another fight anyways. His next opponent (if he chooses to have one) should be Bryan Barberena. That guy showed why he is force to be reckon with when he beat Sage Northcutt over a year ago. His recent knockout on, the same card that Ellenberger ate the people’s elbow, was beautifully well done. Now all he needs is a win over a veteran under his belt and he will begin to get more challenging matchups. This is the fight to make.

Next opponent: Bryan Barbarena

Mike “Platinum” Perry:

This was a tricky one to pick because of every fighter in this division and their moms being booked for a fight already. The lone fighter that is available but still at a resonable place on the rankings for Mike Perry is Ryan LaFlare who last fought at UFC 208 where he won a decision victory against Roan Carneiro. If he is down for it, there is a hungry fighter in Mike Perry wuld love to fight in what would be an interesting matchup considering the two fighters’ skill set.

Next opponent: Ryan LaFlare

Joe Lauzon:

Joe Lauzon should keep his head up after this decision loss (that I don’t think was deserved). Lauzon needs to find an opponent that will put him back into relevancy. The opponent I’m thinking of here is Will Brooks who has a record of 19 wins and 3 losses. The veteran Lauzon would see himself having the edge due to his years of experience while Brooks would think his better record is an indicator that he is the superior athlete. I would like this fight to happen because it just says fight of the night contender to me.

Next opponent: Will Brooks

Stevie “Braveheart” Ray:

Stevie Ray is sure looking for a ranked opponent after beating a veteran in the lightweight division. The lowest and most available option he has right now is Rashid Magomedov who actually fought a weekend before Ray did. This is a sign that these two paths are likely to cross in the near future. And I mean VERY near future.

Next opponent: Rashid Magomedov

Eddie Wineland:

Eddie Wineland was clearly outmatched from his much stronger and faster opponent. His best bet is to face off against a lower ranked opponent to build his skillset and technique. Iuri Alcântara is trying to move up and would be a great challenge for Wineland. Both men can look to benefit from this fight.

Next opponent: Iuri Alcântara

John “The Magician” Dodson:

Jimmie Rivera was expected to face Bryan Caraway earlier this year but never got to due to his opponent having and undisclosed injury. He turned down a fight with Marlon Vera due to Vera having a lack of rank or relevance in the division. If Rivera is looking for a rank and some relevance in his opponents then Jon Dodson is his man. Dodson would love the oppurtunnity to move up while Rivera must be hungry for a fight since having his last fight in September of last year.

Next opponent: Jimmie Revera

Marcos “Pezao” Rogerio de Lima:

It is pretty embarassing when you come in heavy and still lose the fight. It shows a lack of seriousness and responsibility in MMA. Marcos Rogerio de Lima should look to bounce back by beating another unranked light heavyweight fighter (and making weight). Devin Clark is a perfect opponent for him seeing how Clark has only suffered one loss in his nine pro fights (via knockout). This could be anyone’s fight and I would love to see who wants to move on up in this division more. Who is willing to dig deep to win this contest? Good luck predicting this one.

Next opponent: Devin Clark

Ovince Saint Preux:

If Ovince Saint Preux wants to move up the rankings quickly and easily then he should look for the fight against the man he had already beat in Shogun Rua. However since we are being fair, OSP’s next opponent should honsetly be Corey Anderson who is looking to bounce back from his knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa this past March.  It would be a great matchup for both fighters seeing as they are both highly touted as young, skilled talent in the division.

Next opponent: Corey Anderson

Diego “Lionheart” Sanchez:

I think Father Time has finally caught up to Diego Sanchez. He tries to be more patient with his strikes because brawling usually sees him getting knocked out. His timidness did not help as he still found him self going to sleep due to punches to the cranium. I want him to retire before he takes anymore serious damage but if he wants to fight and continue to get kncoked out that badly then undefeated prospect Gregor Gillespie is fresh and looking for someone to knockout to become more relevent in a very competitive division.

Next opponent: Gregor Gillespie

Al “Raging” Iaquinta:

This was another tricky one due to the fact that a lot of the fighters around Al Iaquinta’s rank are either MIA or injured. The only one available right now is Kevin Lee who Iaquinta has beaten in the past (yet Lee is somehow ahead of Iaquinta in the rankings). Beneil Dariush wouldn’t be a bad pick if he didn’t have a medical suspension due to that vicious flying knee KO he suffered from Edson Barboza. The fight between Iaquinta and Lee that first happened in 2014 needs a do-over that I’m sure both fighters would want. Lee would love to avenge that loss and Iaquinta would love to move up the rankings. That is assuming Iaquinta isn’t more interested in real estate than fighting.

Next opponent: Kevin Lee

Artem “The Russian Hammer” Lobov:

Artem Lobov needs to go back to facing unranked guys in the featherweight division. He can start by taking on the undefeated Shane Burgos. Both guys like to throw heavy hands and have a bit of jiu-jitsu experience. Plus knocking off an undefeated guy would put you right back into a fight with another ranked fighter. Burgos would also like to beat a guy who just had a five round main event showdown with a number four ranked fighter.

Next opponent: Shane Burgos

Cub Swanson

After showing why he deserves another shot at the title, you would assume Cub Swanson would get it after thiss impressive performance. However, being ranked fourth in the division and beating an unranked fighter doesn’t give you a title shot in my opinion. I believe he needs to go again with a former opponent of his in Ricardo Lamas to truly give him the credibility of a title challenger.

Next opponent: Ricardo Lamas

What Next?

What Next? (UFC Fight Night: Manuwa vs Anderson)

Fighters do not always like to think what fights they will be in next after feeling the relief of finishing their last fight. The fight game is neverending, however, and so I list ouf the best outcome for the winners and losers for the UFC event that shook London up.

Arnold Allen:

Arnold Allen is still developing as a fighter and might not be cut out yet for a ranked fighter. However, I did see some fight in him as he was always looking to strike and throw down with his opponent while still looking for the takedown. This reminds me of Gray Maynard who just lost to Ryan Hall in a odd contest. Maynard felt it was not a real fight as Hall was constantly going to the ground to get a submission. If a fight is what Maynard wants then Allen is he guy he is looking for. Allen can also use this fight to push him closer to the rankings and see if he truly deserves the record he has accumulated. Gray Maynard

Makwan Amirkhani:

Makwan Amirkhani needs to get back in the win column again by facing a guy who holds a similar record but has lost in their last fight as well. Luke Sanders is the only guy who comes to mind who held an eleven fight win streak to start off his career before he suffered his first loss at UFC 209: Woodley vs Thompson 2 to Iuri Alcantara this past month. It will be interesting to see the to styles matchup and see who could bounce back from a loss to secure a win. Luke Sanders

Marlon Vera:

Malon Vera just beat a retiring Brad Pickett who has one foot out the door. He needs more serious opponents before he can get a top 15 opponent. Franky Saenz would be that perfect opponent even though he is on a three fight losing streak. But because Saenz is a very tough competitor with an impressive record this makes him the right pick. Beating two big names in MMA would definitely put Vera on the map. Franky Saenz

Gunnar Nelson:

This is a tough one as there are several good oponnents for the submission specialist. Donald Cerrone was a high candidate seeing how the two are ranked right next to eachother but this matchup does not appear to be the best one. I believe a match between Gunnar Nelson and Neil Magny would be an exciting one. Magny was able to beat Johnny Hendricks by a controversial unanimous decision at the closing part of last year which makes him a tough opponent to beat. Nelson has the tools to do it though and would love to rise through the ranks fast so this matchup seems like a smart one if Magny doesn’t avoid it like the one with Jorge MasvidalNeil Magny

Alan Jouban:

Another tough selection with all of the great welterweight fighters out there but Jouban needs to go back to the drawing board and face an unranked opponent. At first Alex Oliveira was my pick for him to fight but then I decided that it would not be fair for Oliveira to face another unranked opponent after he has defeated three of them so far. Alex Morono is the next logical choice if he sees himself entering the octagon more recently. He put on a great display in Houston despite losing the contest and would be the perfect opponent for Jouban. This contest would result in fireworks and may make a star out of it. Alex Morono

Jimi Manuwa:

Without question, Jimi Manuwa should be facing the light heavyweight champion after that impressively quick knockout of top contender Corey Anderson. He has a solid case and would love to have a crack at either Daniel Cormier or a rematch with Anthony Johnson. Winner of Daniel Cormier vs Anthony Johnson for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship

Corey Anderson:

I feel sorry for Corey Anderson. He is an incredible athlete who got caught by an impressive striker. I feel like he deserves a rematch with Shogun Rua but that likely won’t happen. Volkan Oezdemir is a great opponent who just beat Ovince Saint Preux not too long ago. The contest between Anderson and Oezdemir would be a good one because of the rankings the two hold plus their all-around skill set. Volkan Oezdemir

What Happened?

What Happened? (UFC Fight Night: Manuwa vs Anderson)

Another great night of fights have ended when knockout artist Jimi Manuwa faced off against The Ultimate Fighter 19 winner Corey Anderson in London, England. With that said I break down the fights and explain what has happened in The Old Smoke at UFC Fight Night: Manuwa vs Anderson:

UFC Fight Night: Allen v Amirkhani

Arnold “Almighty” Allen defeated  Makwan “Mr. Finland” Amirkhani via Split Decision

As predicted, the fight between Arnold Allen and Makwan Amirkhani was an extremely close contest. Allen was more superior on the feet, however, and was able to secure some crucial takedowns at significant ties during the fight. Almighty has shown great improvements from his last fights especially in his defense. Amirkhani let himself be swept to many times when he shot for his takedowns and missed a lot of his strikes on the feet. Mr. Finland should not be discouraged by this loss however as it was a tight matchup. He should just learn from this fight and continue to progress as a fighter. Both fighters shoul be happy with their performances.

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Marlon “Chito” Vera defeated Brad “One Punch” Pickett via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 3

Brad Pickett showed why he was a legend in British MMA. He came out swinging bombs that stunned Marlon Vera everytime he hit him. His takedown accuracy was on point as he was able to change levels almost instantaneously. I believed that Vera was going to be able to secure a submission in the fight but he never even attempted a takedown. It looked like the hometown hero, Pickett, was going to end his career with a decision win when the final round came. Chito instead showed why he kept the fight on the feet when he landed a perfect high kick that dropped One Punch and followed it up with a few unanswered shots to spoil the night for the British. I knew Vera had it in him to win the fight, but nowhere did I predict a knockout win of that caliber for him. It definitely deserved performance of the night honors and it closes the chapter on one career but opens a new one for a young rising star.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Nelson vs Jouban

Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson defeated Alan “Brahma” Jouban via Submission in Round 2

Gunnar Nelson was underestimated by me when making my predictions for this bout. I believed he relied on his submission offence and was going to have a bad time dealing with a Muay Thai specialist in Alan Jouban. However, Nelson proved me wrong when he hurt Jouban with a right hand that pierced his defence. Gunni then secured a guillotine choke for the victory. It was unbelievable to see as I never would have predicted Nelson being able to beat Jouban on the feet. Brahma did show promise though as he he employed a smart strategy by kicking Nelson’s lead leg that he extended very far forward until it was kicked. He also defended a takedown attempt or two. Both fighters are still young and have an immense amount of talent that will surely take them places. Nelson could be cloingg in on a title show if he stays active more.

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Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa defeated Corey “Overtime” Anderson via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

I said there wa no question when I predicted this fight that Jimi Manuwa was going to be able to knockout Corey Anderson in the first round and, although Anderson showed great head movement, it only took Manuwa one good punch to make Overtime go to sleep. Poster Boy has shown why he should get a title shot by constantly knocking out whoever is put in front of him and Anderon was no exception. Corey Anderson will have to do some reflection because he has hit a huge roadblock in the light heavyweight division in the shape of Jimi Manuwa.

Who You Got?

Who You Got? (UFC Fight Night: Manuwa vs Anderson)

The UFC returns to London when top light heavyweight contenders Jimi Manuwa and Corey Anderson take eachother on in the main event for a potential shot at the gold. Here are my picks and predictions for how the fights will go down:

Arnold “Almighty” Allen vs Makwan “Mr. Finland” Amirkhani

Both fighter in this fight have had a similar journey in the UFC. They have both competed in the same events in their last two bouts, one being at UFC Fight Night: Silva vs Bisping and also both getting a submission victory at UFC Fight Night: Jedrzejczyk vs Penne. Their journeys may have been paralleled up to this point but now they will intersect as they face eachother in this featherweight matchup. Both are rising stars in the UFC but in this matchup Amirkhani has the slight edge due to his ability to dominate his opponents consitently where as Allen has struggled against some of his opponents. Allen has never been submitted and I believe he will be able to defend that against the highly skilled Amirkhani but do not expect a win. This will be a tight matchup and a confident pick cannot be made but a pick has been made nonetheless. Makwan Amirkhani via Decision

Brad “One Punch” Pickett vs Marlon “Chito” Vera

Brad Pickett hopes to end his career with a win against Marlon Vera. Pickett has had an up and down career but has recently been on the losing end more than often with a record that includes five losses in his last six fights. Vera has had better success with only three losses in his last six fights. He has also had success with submitting his opponent, which has been proven to be Pickett’s weakness which is what he usually loses to. As much as I want Pickett to go out with a win, I see Vera winning this by submission early on but perhaps Pickett’s heart will push him to last a while longer especially in his home country. Marlon Vera via Submission in Round 2

Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson vs Alan “Brahma” Jouban

Both of these fighters are incredible athletes who will more than likely hold a title sometime down the line. However, they battle for a ranking in the already competitive welterweight division. Many people would believe that Gunnar Nelson would be the favorite in this fight due to him being from Europe where the fight is taking place therefor being a crowd favorite. Also he is from the same training camp as Conor McGregor. Alan Jouban, on the other hand, has done an amazing job at submission defence while under the training of Eddie Bravo with only one submission loss in his nineteen fight career. Nelson specializes in getting submissions because of his training from Renzo Gracie. But when the submission does not come, he usually fails to secure a win. Jouban is a specialist in Muay Thai and will look to either knockout Nelson but like many others will fail to do so. My pick still goes to Jouban but the finish wont come easy. Alan Jouban via Decision

Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa vs Corey “Overtime” Anderson

This fight will greatly impact the future of the light heavyweight division. If Manuwa wins then he will have a strong case to challenge for the belt. If Anderson wins then Shogun Rua will be able to petition for that elusive title shot. Unfortunatly for Shogun, Manuwa looks destined to win this one. He has knocked out fourteen out of his eighteen opponents. Anderson has lost to both Shogun and Gian Villante while Manuwa has lost to only two elite fighters in Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson. If Anderson wins this then it will be a huge underdog win. I believe he will not be able to handle Manuwa’s striking speed and power. It’s no question for me. Jimi Manuwa via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1